Marina Shafir shows she's 'TUF' enough

MMA: Glendale-trained amateur fighter taught plenty, learned just as much as assistant on Team Rousey.

October 16, 2013|By Grant Gordon,
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Marina Shafir had something to teach on "The Ultimate Fighter."
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Marina Shafir had something to teach on… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

This is the third in a series of articles examining the experiences of local fighters and coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter,” whether in past seasons or the current. The current season, “The Ultimate Fighter 18,” airs Wednesdays on Fox Sports 1, featuring Glendale-trained champion Ronda Rousey.

For those who closely follow the world of women’s mixed martial arts, Marina Shafir is a name associated with budding potential.

She’s an undefeated amateur with three first-round submission victories and, seemingly, the brightest of fighting futures ahead of her.

However, when Shafir, who trains at Glendale Fighting Club along with other Southern California locales, took her spot as an assistant coach on “The Ultimate Fighter,” it was her lack of professional experience rather than her wealth of promise that was at the forefront for the 25-year-old former judoka.

“That was my first worry is these people don’t need to respect me; these people don’t need me to teach them anything,” Shafir said. “That was a big worry for me.”


When tapings concluded in early July, though, Shafir emerged from “The Ultimate Fighter 18” tapings with a new vantage point. She also exited a roller coaster ride that’s currently playing out on television screens every Wednesday night, as Shafir, Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, and the rest of Team Rousey faced off with archrival Miesha Tate’s Team Tate in a season that’s so far been rife with exciting fights and arguably as much bad blood between coaches and their staffs as any “TUF” season before.

Thus far, some believe Rousey’s image has taken a hit, while to some, Tate has come off as more affable.

Shafir, a longtime training partner, roommate and best friend of Rousey, clearly isn’t in agreement. Instead, she contends that Team Rousey — which also includes Manny Gamburyan and Andy Dermenjian — was true to itself and the world of fighting, while Tate and her team were putting on airs for the camera.

“I think [Tate’s] agenda was to just try to make herself look like the goody two-shoes,” Shafir says. “We don’t pretend. You have to be a hardass person to be in the fight game.”

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