Thoughts on Rosie
I’m a pretty visual person. When I was younger, I wanted to direct movies and only gave up that dream when I discovered that making movies required large amounts of money, which I never had. Far, far cheaper to make paper movies out of words. And so it goes.
When Paul Bishop first announced the Fight Card MMA line, he posted a picture of a mock-up cover done by Fight Card artist Keith Birdsong. The cover was a dynamic image of a woman in mid-punch and the title was Rosie the Ripper. Seeing this got me thinking. It was that visual part of my brain going to work.
I’d been aware of the Fight Card series and read a few, but it wasn’t until I saw Rosie and those magic letters, MMA, popped up that I felt like I could actually write one of these things. A long-dormant novel idea about a boxer in Baltimore never really seemed to get anywhere, but Rosie the Ripper kept asking for my attention as the weeks and months went by until finally her storyline came springing into my head, ready to be written.
Mixed martial arts hits some strange, buried sweet spot that even boxing, a sport I’ve followed for decades, has never managed to touch. There’s something about the mixed part of “mixed martial arts” that really gets me interested, as there are so many technical elements that go into the execution of a successful fight. Boxing is intricate and far more complex than non-fans give it credit for, but MMA is a whole other level. Striking, clinching, grappling, submissions… it goes on and on. And for me, anyway, some of the most interesting MMA was happening with women fighters.
There have been female boxers for time out of mind, but MMA has integrated women into the sport in a much more organic way. Rosie the Ripper was my chance to translate some of that feminine energy into an action-packed fight story. But I’d go one better and place a layer of drama over the raw physicality. Drama geared specifically toward family, personal tribulations and redemption.
The very best fight movie ever made is Rocky, and though Rocky Balboa was a gofer for a small-time loan shark, his story was never about crime, but about heart. There was his relationship with Adrian and Mickey, and his struggle to actualize himself as a person. I didn’t think I could reach those Oscar-winning heights, but I could at least try to create a human portrait of a woman and her life in MMA.