Shayna Baszler – The Queen of Spades Ultimate Fighter 18 Weekly Q&A Episode 6
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 6:
1. Did you participate in any of the little princess makeovers or fashion shows that Julianna Pena was organizing?
Shayna Baszler – We were at practice when those things were happening, just Team Tate was at the house. So we didn’t even get to witness it first hand, we would come back from practice and hear all of the stories. I couldn’t believe that Raquel Pennington was doing that, she is the last person that would be putting on high heels and a dress. So yeah no, luckily I didn’t even have to make a choice of whether to participate. I think more than anything it showed you how desperate we all were in the house for any kind of entertainment.
2. Did Dennis Hallman hand out shorts from his personal collection for Team Tate fighters to wear at practice?
Shayna Baszler – [laughing] I am sure you are talking about the sparring session they showed on the episode were Cody Bollinger is wearing some very colorful volleyball looking shorts. He actually stole them from Sarah Moras, she had an entire wardrobe of crazy colored and patterned compression shorts, and he stole them and showed up at practice like that to surprise everyone. So no they didn’t come out of Dennis Hallman’s personal collection but I like your thinking.
3. During Jessamyn Duke‘s training, I noticed that most fighters on the team had gloves on. Did you all get to box with her? I thought for sure Jessica Rakoczy, David Grant and Chris Beal (strikers of Team Rousey) would all be utilized. Can you tell us about the game plan going in and how the training went for her fight?
Shayna Baszler – Everyone sparred with everyone at practice, we didn’t have a real big separation when it came to that as we all just rotated throughout the session. As far as Jessamyn’s gameplan for the fight went, it was to use her Muay Thai skills and to use her kickboxing. We knew that Raquel was more of a brawler/boxer and that she was really physically strong. So rather than play the ground game and risk being on the bottom with Raquel on top, they really worked on Jessamyn using her reach advantage and her clinch to counter when Raquel would start brawling with her.
5. Can you give us your breakdown of the Duke versus Pennington fight?
Shayna Baszler – Obviously it was a back and forth fight that went to the third round and not a lot of fights have gone to that “Sudden Victory” round in The Ultimate Fighter history. Every time you thought one fighter had gained the momentum and was close to finishing the fight, the other one came storming back. It was a very close fight. One thing I wanted to point out that you didn’t see on the cameras was that Raquel is a boxer, her martial arts background was boxing and the whole goal of boxing is to punch you in the face and knock you out. Jessamyn is a Muay Thai fighter and the philosophy in the Filipino arts is to destroy the limbs, “defanging the snake” as they call it, leg kicks so they can’t stand and arm kicks so that your opponent can’t block. So when you see at the end of the fight that Jessamyn’s face is messed up that is a testament to Raquel’s boxing. What you don’t see on camera is Raquel walking around the next few days complaining about how bad her legs and arms hurt from all of the kicks she got from Jessamyn. So both of them utilized their specialty to the fullest in that fight. My point is that the way it was portrayed on TV didn’t show just how close that fight was and they didn’t do it justice.
6. Following last week’s fight Team Rousey was now down 3-2, what was the feeling like in the locker room?
Shayna Baszler – At this point most of the match-ups were common knowledge, except for the final two guy’s fights (but those would be known before the end of the episode), so the feeling? It was hard for us to be down because that was such a good fight, I am sure Jessamyn felt different, but as a team or a spectator watching that fight there really wasn’t a loser. It was epic, it was a great fight, so it was hard to feel like we had lost anything as a team at the time. Especially when the overall competition was so close and the fight was so close and we pretty much knew the match-ups going forward. Our morale was still very high at this point.
7. So they held a privately hosted party with Hooters featuring some scantily clad hotties; were you at all offended or did you think it was sexist that all they had there was the ladies and would you have preferred an equal representation with I don’t know, maybe the Chippendale dancers?
Shayna Baszler – Personally, I wasn’t offended nor did I really find it sexist, some girls might get offended by stuff like that I guess but it doesn’t really bother me. As much as us girls probably would have enjoyed the Chippendale’s guys, I don’t think it would have made for that good of TV considering the TUF audience is predominantly males. So I understand the angle and Hooters is obviously one of the UFC’s sponsors, that whole segment was basically a big banner ad for Hooters. Also, I am sure you guys didn’t miss or mind the slow motion camera angles of the girl’s butts. If you have been in the sport for as long as I have, you get used to things like that, I mean come on they don’t ring card guys for female fights do they!
8. Anthony Gutierrez appeared a little toasted, too many suds if you catch my drift, but we haven’t seen much of that this season. Was that a one night occurrence for Anthony?
Shayna Baszler – Anthony was really drunk, he got REALLY drunk at the Hooters’ party. The thing about how he was messing with the bedroom door was that Raquel shared a room with Julianna and Anthony hated Julianna. So he was throwing things at the door to try and annoy her and him being drunk made it even worse. As much as he was just trying to annoy Julianna, he was being loud enough to disturb everyone in the house that was trying to sleep and poor Raquel had been cutting weight all day since her weigh-in was the next day. He was super drunk but he wasn’t like that all the time or wait……. never mind.
That night though he was definitely getting on everybody’s nerves. Even Peggy Morgan went up the stairs and said ” Anthony, Shut the Fuck Up!” and his response was “Wow… Peggatron” and that was it for the night and that is how Peggy got her nickname.
9. This week’s fight features Josh Hill from Team Tate vs. Michael Wootten from your team; what did you think of the match-up when it was announced?
Shayna Baszler – I actually didn’t know that Wooten was so highly touted until I got out of the house and had access to the internet again. All I knew about Josh Hill was that he was a really good grappler and I saw his fight to get into the house, so I knew he was kind of a lay ‘n pray fighter. As boring as that is, it is a really hard style of fighting to deal with as an opponent, especially if they are good at defending submissions. I thought it was a real even match-up because I trained with Wooten and I knew he was a really technical fighter with a dynamic striking style and a good ground game. I obviously hadn’t done any training with Josh but I knew it would be a tough fight because of his takedowns and ability to hold his opponent down on the mat. So my thoughts were that if Josh won it would be by decision and if Wooten won it would be with his striking.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.