Shayna Baszler – The Queen of Spades Ultimate Fighter 18 Weekly Q&A Episodes 9 and 10
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 9 and Episode 10:
1. In the episodes prior to Ep.9, Anthony fit the “annoying little kid brother,” how was he in training though? I imagine Ronda wouldn’t let his silly antics get in the way of the serious side of training.
Shayna Baszler – Yeah he rarely acted that way in training, he took training seriously and he always worked hard. Don’t get me wrong we all had our different personalities that came through at training but he was never a distraction to whereas Ronda needed to reprimand him.
2. What was your take on the whole Cody Bollinger situation; from the drama of the weight cut to him missing weight to Dana White’s speech and Cody getting kicked off the show?
Shayna Baszler – I felt really bad for him because Cody is a really good guy and he was one of the best fighters on the show. I guess my only problem/qualm with it would be that he quit trying to make the weight early, he still had a couple of hours before weigh-ins and he could have also used the extra hour after he missed weight to try and cut down. I think the worst part of it is that is what he is going to be remembered for on the this season by a lot of people and that is just not typical of the guy in general. There is no way that I can explain or prove that fact but he is a really good guy. It is no secret how Dana takes to people missing weight, he absolutely hates it, so you pretty much knew how it was going to end.
3. Following Bollinger’s exit from the show, what did you think about Anthony Gutierrez taking the forfeit victory as opposed to fighting someone in order to move onto the next round?
Shayna Baszler – As a fighter I totally understood why he made that decision. The fight with Cody was supposed to be on Friday, so the weigh-ins were Thursday, and if he took another fight on Monday, he would have to rehydrate and then he would have had to cut back down again on Sunday. Those exact days may be wrong but the turnaround time was very short and even the coaches didn’t really want him to cut again so soon. Manny Gamburyan is a crazy guy, he would fight anybody at anytime, he is 160lbs and he would fight Cain Velasquez tomorrow if he was asked and even he was against Anthony doing it. It was more about the weight cut as opposed to Anthony not wanting to fight. Anthony cuts a lot of weight to fight as it is and it would be easy for people to sit back and say that they are so badass that they would do it and fight but I think he made the right choice. Also, when they pulled him in the office to ask him he was still on weight and feeling like crap because he hadn’t had anything yet in case the commission ruled he would need to fight. He was turning down cutting weight again not a fight.
4. In the last quarterfinal match-up, Sarah Moras submitted Peggy Morgan with an armbar, what did you think of that fight?
Shayna Baszler – I think that fight came down to experience because Peggy’s gameplan was to stay to the outside and use her reach to avoid the takedowns. It was working early in the fight and that takedown that Sarah got was because after Peggy stuffed her, she pulled guard and Peggy wasn’t able to transition and she ended up on the ground. Once the fight went to the mat, I knew Peggy was in trouble because that is Sarah’s world and she is a great grappler. Overall I think Peggy did well on her feet and she has the tools to beat someone like Sarah but if you are a fan of MMA, that fight kind of went how it looked on paper.
5. If you were to convert more people into watching women in MMA, which top 5 fights would you show them (yours included)?
Shayna Baszler – That is a good question, I would show them (in no particular order):
* Jessamyn Duke vs. Raquel Pennington – From this season of The Ultimate Fighter because it is so fresh in my mind and it was a great fight.
* My fight with Sara McMann (Invicta FC 2: Baszler vs. McMann) – Even though I lost I still think it is a great example of a complete female fight with stand-up, grappling and submissions.
* Julie Kedzie vs. Miesha Tate (Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman) – Another great fight to show for similar reasons that I said above.
* Megumi Fujii’s grappling match against Felicia Oh back at ADCC in 2007 – Because it was one of the best grappling matches that I have ever seen.
* Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate (Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman) – Because it was such a defining moment for women’s MMA. That was the fight that won Dana White over and convinced him to bring WMMA to the UFC. The fight wasn’t an all out war but it was a milestone for WMMA.
6. They didn’t show some of you at the Harley Davidson Bootcamp with Cain Velasquez; were you there and if not why, what were you doing?
Shayna Baszler – No I wasn’t there, only the semi-finalists and the coaches got to go to the event. So the rest of sat back at the TUF house and did shots while talking about how we should have been there.
7. The “Misery Shots”, how often did you guys throw down like that and was Ronda any good at bartending?
Shayna Baszler – That was great but yeah we didn’t actually party like that too often. Everyday we drove by an In-N-Out Burger and with not being able to leave the house, cutting weight and constantly training, it was like a daily reminder of what we couldn’t have. So we had a few days between fights and Ronda took everyone’s order and since we were anxious waiting for her to get the house we decided to start doing shots, basically pre-gaming in anticipation of Ronda arriving with our food. As far as the bartending went, Ronda and Marina Shafir made some really good drinks that day. They were all pretty tasty, which is dangerous because if you are consuming alcoholic drinks that taste like milkshakes you can get toasted pretty fast.
8. What is your take on the growing resentment from Team Tate fighters directed at the coaches that seems to be occurring?
Shayna Baszler – You can’t blame them. Miesha and Bryan Caraway had been training at Team Alpha Male and Chris Holdsworth trains there, so all of the assistant coaches were from his gym. Then you had Julianna Pena who trains with Miesha. So it was easy to see those coaches basically picked two favorites and with that there was bound to be some resentment. I really felt bad for Sara Moras because her entire fight and win over Peggy got overshadowed because after Cody missed weight, Sara weighed in but all of the focus was on Cody and his issues. Even after her fight most of the talk was about Cody and as soon as her fight was over, Dana was pulling people into his office to determine the semi-final match-ups. So really no one on her team was celebrating her victory other than Raquel, who herself was still in the competition but was being ignored by the coaches. I am just glad none of that stuff was going on with our team, including me, hell I lost on the first episode and I was still getting just as much attention as everyone else during our training sessions.
10. Did you get a chance to train with Nate Diaz at practice?
Shayna Baszler – Yes, I got to roll with him at practice and it was fun. He is a really cool guy, he came in and although he wasn’t showing us anything fancy for the reasons he stated on the show, it was a good experience for all of the fighters on my team. It was cool also because he remembered me from when I fought on a Strikeforce card with his brother Nick.
11. In your opinion did Michael Wooten lose his fight because he was unprepared, because he was homesick (lacking focus) or because Chris Holdsworth was the better fighter?
Shayna Baszler – I think he lost because he made a mistake. On the show they point out that his mistake was when he tried to break the choke but I think it was in the stand-up when they crashed into each other and Wooten let the black belt Holdsworth get his hands on him. I think Wooten was one of the best fighters on the show skillwise, he has a strong head for learning and I think he do very well in the UFC, given the chance, but he made a mistake in that fight and as I know all too well, you can’t afford to do that at this level of fighting.
12. What are your thoughts on the three remaining Semi-Final fights?
– Julianna Pena vs. Sarah Moras:
Shayna Baszler – This fight is actually a rematch, which not a lot of people seem to know, Sarah had already beaten Julianna quite handedly before this season of TUF, grounded and pounded her face into dust and broke her arm. So I was confident that Sarah could beat her again when the match-up was announced and I was hoping for Julianna to lose so that maybe I could get a rematch with her at the finale.
– Raquel Pennington vs. Jessica Rakoczy:
Shayna Baszler – I thought that skillwise they were very evenly matched. Raquel probably headed into this fight with a size advantage and probably a better ground game. Jessica was one of the smaller fighters in the house but she has some slick boxing and Raquel just comes forward throwing bombs, so on paper this fight looked great and….
– David Grant vs. Anthony Gutierrez:
Shayna Baszler – In Las Vegas I think David would be the betting favorite heading into this fight but one thing I learned from training with Anthony a lot before this fight was that he had a real good head on him and that he wasn’t going to overestimate or underestimate anything about David’s abilities.
13. Has there been anything interesting that has been happening either at the TUF house or in training that the producers haven’t shown?
Shayna Baszler – There is one thing I guess, I was pretty sure that Sarah was going to beat Peggy and was predicting that she would face Julianna next, so my goal was to start distracting and riling up Julianna, in order for her to lose against Sarah so that I could get that rematch. They didn’t show it at all on the show but I may have had a few drinks and following that I tried several times to basically piss Julianna off with some help from others but she was like stone and just ignored everyone (I don’t hate anyone that bad so I am glad she didn’t take the bait).
Keep your horns up and don’t miss this week’s all new episode, Wednesday on FOX Sports 1! The semi-finals are underway, if you have any questions that haven’t been answered yet, send them in! – 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.