Where next?

Rosi Sexton Mixed Martial Artist Portrait

Photo Credit Richard Goulding

It’s nearly two weeks after the fight, and I’ve had time to sulk, throw my toys at the wall, feel sorry for myself, get drunk a few times and eat almost enough ice cream to take my mind off it.

After all that, though, it was time to sit down and think about where this is going.

Needless to say, the fight didn’t go to plan. I know I’m better than I showed that night. I believe I have more to offer as a fighter. I’m devastated that people didn’t get to see that. You’ve heard all this before.

I know so many fighters of my generation who are in a similar position, and feel the same way. We understand the sport better than ever; physically we still have it. But for whatever reason, we’re on a bad run. We could sit and analyse why that is – and I probably will – but it doesn’t change the reality.

There’s a talented new generation coming through. Joanna is one of those. She’s a great fighter, and will go a long way – and I’m not going to take away from her performance by dwelling on what I could have, should have, might have done differently.

Where do I go from here? I could keep chasing after the fight I’d finally feel happy to retire on. I’m afraid that as a fighter, I’ll be remembered for the losses, and not for what I did well. I’m afraid that’s what I’ll remember. There’s a large part of me that desperately wants to go back and put it right, as though I could fix everything with just one solid win.

Happy endings are elusive though. We know how that story often goes. And even if I did manage to produce that spectacular performance I’m looking for – would that be enough for me? Could any fight ever be enough? And what about after that?

I’m fortunate to have some great people around me. I’ve had some long conversations with a few of those people. The bottom line – right now I have more to offer the sport outside the cage than inside it. I don’t want to give up on being the fighter I believe I’m capable of; but there are bigger things going on. It’s time for me to focus on other ways of making a difference. I don’t know how this will play out, or what’s round the next corner, but it looks like it’s finally time to use that “R” word.

This isn’t how I wanted it all to end. The way it did will haunt me for as long as I’m around MMA, but that’s something I’ll learn to live with.

As a veteran coming towards the end of a career, you have a choice. You can fight cans, or you can fight prospects. Anyone can look good against someone who isn’t. When you fight prospects, there’s always a chance you’ll go down in flames. Living with the knowledge that I’d taken the easy way out would have been much harder.

Right now, there’s a new chapter waiting.

24 Comments Add Yours

  1. hnc4

    Rosie, there are many cliches that could be listed here, and I’m sure that none of them will help. As a fighter (K1) also in the twilight of my fight career, but not having achieved anything like what you have, I can empathise. All I can say is, try to look at the successes, because no loss will take them away, and keep the memories to treasure. believe people when they say that you have inspired them, as there is no greater compliment than to be a life champion. I was lucky enough to enjoy a seminar which you ran at SWBBA last year, and you clearly have loads of knowledge to pass on, and fighting is not the only way we learn and develop. Our goals can change and adapt, and we can have new dreams to chase. I hope to be a writer, even make a living out of it eventually. It has been a life long dream which I have starting pushing more recently, but I’m willing to bet that if you wrote an autobiography, or a book on MMA or grappling skills you would beat me to the shelves. I’m sure that I will hurt when it is my time to call it a day as well, and that day I know is not in the far too distant future, but I will always train, and if I can’t do Muay Thai, I will try something gentler. I don’t do hero worship, but i do like to follow the careers of former opponents, who i am privileged to have fought, like Michael Venom Page, Bradley Scott and Tim Menzies. All I can do really is wish you the best and send the respect you deserve for being a great Martial Artist and Combat Sports Athlete.

  2. Zain Elahi

    Will you ever return back to academia? Will you contiue kn as an osteopath? Teach mma? Or ever use the mathetical work you had done as a student?

    • Rosi Sexton

      Keep watching this space. May have some news soon!

  3. David Griffiths

    Id certainly buy a biography. If this is the end thanks for the memories and your passion.

    Someone should really release a t shirt saying I did WMMA before it was cool.

    Maybe pursue grappling competition to keep you occupied.

  4. Morgan Nunns

    You are a unique character in the sport and I have every faith you will continue to build a memorable legacy whichever side of the cage wall you are. I had my first fight on the same show as you in 2004 and have been really impressed with how far you have come. I empathise with you. Having taken what was meant a short break from competition myself 5 years ago and now I’m pushing 40, I have little likelihood of return!
    I have no doubt that given a little more time, it will be your successes that appear prominent in your memories and you’ll recall it all with immense pride.
    Onwards and upwards!

  5. slimbopp

    Ho lee flip!!! “R” word. What can I say. You inspired me to exercise, I lost 70+ lbs. My niece and nephew and step daughter are now starting their martial arts journey. I can’t over state how much of an influence you’ve had on me and my family. Thank you Rosi for all you’ve done. I hope one day to meet you and buy you a shit load of icecream. Yum! Much love to you and yours. Peas out mother Hubberd. Word.xxx

  6. Elaine

    Happiness isn’t the end of the road. It is the road.

    I know it’s a cliche to say it’s not about the winning, it’s the taking part, but when you really think about it, it’s true. If you’re doing something you love doing, you’re gaining something out of it. You’re where you want to be. That’s what matters. Life’s about being the best you can be in everything you do, and getting the most out of it. On one particular day things didn’t ultimately go your way, but you’ve probably got further than a lot of other people who practise your sport could ever dream of getting. You’re so incredibly lucky you’ve been able to dedicate so much of your life to what you really want to do, and that you’ve had the ability to do well in it. I know someone who desperately wanted to sing in her school choir, but was tone deaf, and the teacher wouldn’t let her sing. Imagine how crushing that would be – thwarted before you’ve even started. You have got so far in what you’ve chosen to do. And you obviously have a lot of supporters, many of whom are saying you’ve inspired them to do something positive with their lives.That’s something to be very proud of.

    You say you’re devastated people didn’t get to see how good a fighter you can be. Yet your fans are raving about how much they’d like to be like you, saying how much they respect you. They can obviously see a very good fighter in you. Perhaps you don’t realise how you look to the outside world, because you’re too critical of yourself (some things never change! ;-)). The final outcome or score just shows there was a winner and a loser, and when you lose that’s all you can focus on. But the actual competition is about so much more than that. I’ve seen tennis matches where the final score has looked as if the match was a whitewash, yet the match has been full of spectacular rallies showing great skills on both sides. One person just had the edge; the luck; the gods on their side that day; an extra bowl of sugar puffs that morning.The crowd are on their feet cheering for both sides at the end, full of well-deserved respect for both parties. And hopefully the runner up will eventually, if not immediately, feel proud of what they did achieve that day, rather than simply devastated about losing that match.

    Don’t beat yourself up for split second decisions you made at the time, and don’t go over and over in your head what you could have done differently – trust that you did your best at the time, you made those decisions for whatever reason, and don’t be frustrated at the you that didn’t quite perform up to your exceedingly high standards. Be kind to her, forgive her for it, be bl**dy proud of her achievements, and focus now on being the best you can be in whatever you do next. And eat lots of ice cream. Sainsbury’s own Vanilla with belgian chocolate chunks and salted caramel is highly recommended. x

  7. Phil Baroni

    I’ve seen ya a lot over the years. You’ve been around. ( in a good way ) ha ha.
    Congrats on a great career. You paid your dues, and earned the respect of the #real fighters when woman’s MMA wasn’t respected.
    Congrats on a great career. Keep your head up. It was fun watching you compete over the years.
    We weren’t friends and didn’t talk much. But I just wana tell you that you’ve earned the respect as a real fighter by what I feel is the last generation of real fighters . Those who fought because of ? ( I’m still trying to figure it out) but it sure wasn’t fame or fortune.
    Respect and congrats on a great career. And at the end of the day your only about 12 weeks away from a comeback ha ha.
    See ya around.
    Again congrats on a great career.



  8. David Colquhoun

    I guess that I may appear to others to have had some success in the academic world (FRS and all that), but I have never come close to achieving the things that you have.

    First in music, then in mathematics and then in sport you are a three-fold role model and hero to me, and to millions of others. I love maths, but I never reached the heights that you did. I loved boxing (up to age 34) but never reached your heights. I would have loved to play a musical instrument properly but never achieved it.

    Getting old isn’t a bundle of fun, but it’s inevitable and the memories (and these days, videos). You’ve got years left to do other things, intellectual or sport. What field of endeavour will you conquer next, I wonder?

  9. Arran Dobson

    Thank you Rosi its been awesome watching you through your career. We wish you all the very best in your future ventures. You have put on some of the most amazing female fights ever seen and you are a true pioneer for female MMA. I hope your grit and determination give you the strength to succeed in what ever you decide to do next. It would be nice to still see you on the TV doing some presenting or fight analysis in some capacity.


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