Shayna Baszler – The Queen of Spades Ultimate Fighter 18 Weekly Q&A Episode 5
By Dave Carpinello
One of women’s mixed martial arts true pioneers with an extensive fan following, “The Queen of Spades” Shayna Baszler is a member of Team Rousey on The Ultimate Fighter 18 Team Rousey vs. Team Tate. Baszler has been fighting professionally since 2003 and has amassed a record of 15-8-0 with notable wins over Julie Kedzie, Sarah D’Alelio, Alexis Davis, Roxanne Modafferi and Keiko Tamai. The victory over Tamai was groundbreaking for the sport as Baszler became the first fighter to win a fight with the daunted “Twister” submission. Training under “The Warmaster” and catch-submission specialist, Josh Barnett, Baszler was definitely one of the favorites on this season. In her fight to get into the TUF house, Baszler faced Colleen Schneider and won via an armbar submission in the first round. On Episode 2, she faced Julianna Pena and in a shocking upset was submitted in the second round. Shayna will be giving her answers to your questions weekly every Monday throughout the season!
Here are some of your questions and Shayna’s answers from TUF 18 Episode 5:
1. If you could only pick one song to walk into the cage to, what would it be?
Shayna Baszler – Nothing gets me going like “Raining Blood” from Slayer, it is on the album Reign in Blood.
2. One thing that struck me in the Roxanne Modafferi vs. Jessica Rakoczy episode – and has struck me watching Invicta FC as well – is how different women are with their opponents than men are. I have never seen a male fighter go comfort their opponent in the way that Jessica did – and both coaches took it as completely natural that you went to a fighter on the opposing team to comfort her. Are any of the guys being impacted by that approach, seeing it happen around them?
Shayna Baszler – I think that women’s MMA has had such a niche following and limited fighter base for so long until the recent blowup brought on by Invicta FC and the UFC. Before that all of the fighters pretty much knew each other and so coming from an era with Roxanne where you could probably count on one hand the number of legitimate female fighters it was a really tight knit community. I think it is different for the guys, although they do have that bond from living together in the house for so long, but in general I don’t think the guys have that kind of relationship that the girls do because the sport for men has been so big for far longer than the girls.
3. Last week’s episode opened with Roxanne crying and seemingly trying to hide or avoid the cameras. How annoying was it being under constant surveillance?
Shayna Baszler – It was really hard when you needed to get away for a few minutes and that is what you saw with Roxanne. She just needed a few minutes to herself, she is totally aware of her “Happy Warrior” persona and she wanted to maintain that as you could she was trying to laugh when she noticed the cameras were there. You can also see it when we are at practice sometimes and the cameras zoom in on her, she just wasn’t comfortable with them and to be honest when you need a few minutes alone with your thoughts, no one wants a camera there. I know we signed up for it but there was no privacy, even if you thought you were hiding, they knew where to find you. It was definitely a strange experience that took some time to get used too. There was cameras mounted everywhere and then they had those mobile crews that are like first responders to drama or action. Not to mention we were mic’ed up the whole time, in fact if you took it off you got fined. So if the production crew heard anything good they just tracked you down with the cameras, it was 24 hour surveillance. It was traumatic!
4. During the game of “Truth or Dare”, it didn’t show your turn, what was your “Truth or Dare”?
Shayna Baszler – What you saw on the episode was right after our team got back from practice so most of our team was in the kitchen making dinner. Team Tate had been home for a while, so it was only them playing until you saw Anthony Gutierrez pop his head in there. By the time we started playing along with them the “Dare” portion of the game had been canceled. The “Dare” requests had just become too outlandish and inappropriate, so the game just became a question game and we sat around and played and the only rule was that regardless of the question, you had to answer it. That was one of the reasons a lot of us grew closer because we had heard everyone’s dirty little secrets. I can tell you something that you didn’t see though… Julianna had to do a lap dance for Michael Wootten and if you got to see that you would know why some of us hated her. He just shook his head and got up and left the room, I don’t think he enjoyed it either.
5. What was your impression of Ronda’s mom (Dr. De Mars) at practice and did you learn anything from her?
Shayna Baszler – Holy crap, you thought Ronda was intense? Her mother was ten times as intense and I think it was amplified by how you saw Ronda in all of her other interviews so far on the show, she was like “We are going beat them up…. grrrrrr!!!” and then last week she was all calm and nice. At practice Ronda’s mom was tossing us around like she had never been off the mat, like she was still competing. At first, as you saw, she just watched us, then she chewed us out for not rolling aggressively enough and then she worked with each of us individually on a specific judo throw that she thought would fit our fighting style. She gave us all a good beating and it was a great learning experience.
6. There was a brief spot on the episode where it appeared that Raquel Pennington was talking to you about gay athletes either in the TUF house or in the sport, can you elaborate?
Shayna Baszler – That actually happened right after my fight, so I had been drinking and so I was giving life advice to the girls that were sitting there with me. So basically I was like “You guys haven’t been through anything yet in life until you have been through some major shit like myself”, yeah it was the beer talking and I was surprised to see it on episode five since it had happened so much earlier in the show.
7. Two wins in row now! What did you think of David Grant’s win over Louis Fisette?
Shayna Baszler – Like I said last week, I was really excited to see David fight because he was so intense and locked in during our training sessions. So I knew he was ready to fight and to be honest I didn’t get the chance to see Louis’ fight to get in the house against Chris Holdsworth until it aired on TV. So all I knew about him was that he didn’t win his fight to get into the TUF house and so I fully expected David to put him away and that is exactly what happened. Ronda’s analysis of David was perfect -“He comes right at you and breaks you with his stand up and then once you are broken, he submits you.”
8. I know Ronda said she wasn’t going to show Edmond Tarverdyan the little Dracula doll with his name on it that Team Tate left in your locker room but did she eventually tell him about it?
Shayna Baszler – No, absolutely not and he was never shown that and I think that was a good idea. Something they didn’t show was when we were in there discussing how to get back at them and Ronda was like no, we are not doing anything because she had promised Dana White that nothing else would happen. So Marina (one of the coaches and a good friend of Ronda’s) was like that’s fine I’ll take care of it because I didn’t promise anyone but Ronda laid the hammer down and told her that wasn’t going to happen. That was the end of that, we didn’t mention it, we didn’t talk about it, case closed. We didn’t want Edmond to lose his cool and get kicked off the show because he was our head coach.
9. This week’s fight features Raquel vs. Jessamyn Duke, what did you think of the match-up when the fight was announced?
Shayna Baszler – Yeah, there was a fight like every other day and I had just literally gotten over Roxanne’s fight and we had a late night crew that stayed up late every night outside by the fire. I was talking with Raquel out there the night after Roxanne’s fight and I said to her jokingly that if her and Jessamyn end up fighting next, I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it, my heart isn’t going to make it. I can’t handle all of this emotion and I was totally joking around with her and then what do you know that was the next fight. With both girls becoming good friends of mine, I was just preparing for another emotional roller coaster.
Keep your horns up and don’t miss this week’s all new episode, Wednesday on FOX Sports 1! – The Queen of Spades
Send in your questions following this week’s episode. You can submit your questions for Shayna by sending them to email@example.com or you can post them below and she will answer them each week following the next show on FOX Sports 1! You can also follow Shayna on her Twitter page and Facebook Fan page.