The Woman Who Fights

(and the Man Who Taught Her How)

As part of Matter’s look at the women of UFC, photographer Brad Torchia spent a training day with fighter Rose Namajunas and her fianceé Pat Barry.

My first communication with Rose and Pat came via a text message that contained a pretty hilarious selfie.
It also had a genuine warning that although their new puppy would appear to love me more and choose me as her new owner, I would need to resist.
A few minutes later their car came barreling into the apartment complex where I was waiting. This was going to be fun.
Throughout my day with these two, I was allowed into their home, granted access to multiple training sessions, as well as a tense meeting in which their new apartment was almost taken from them.
During each two-hour training session, Rose went into an intense state of focus, every step and punch seemed a part of a well thought out plan.
Rose’s focus would come and go throughout the day, turning on as she envisioned upcoming fights, and then turning off as she and Pat took time to laugh while wrestling, or threw food at each other in their cramped kitchen.
My gravitation soon shifted towards the quieter moments of the day.
Here, I watched as Rose wrote her daily journal entry, played piano, and unwound on the couch after dinner.
I soon began to realize that maybe fighting was more of a vehicle — one that Rose’s commitment and drive fit perfectly into.
My sense is that Rose is incredibly present in everything she has gone through in life, and is focused on exactly how to keep moving forward.
In this way, Pat serves as a perfect mentor.
I watched him give strict and detailed instructions in the ring, and crack a joke or take a (light) punch when the mood needed lifting.
From laughing at a series of iPhone videos Pat has been creating, to listening to contract and legal discussions, to hearing dramatic stories of life in The Ultimate Fighter house, my day with Rose and Pat was a glimpse of the tight balance involved to maintain life as a professional fighter.