By Cameron Conaway
Rodolfo Roman is a journalist, an MMA ring announcer and the host of “The Roman Show.” He’s a diversely talented man, one who can announce a new MMA champion, then ask thoughtful interview questions to MMA’s top fighters, then switch gears and cover a story about rape in Coral Gables, Florida.
We caught up with Roman to get his thoughts on the changing scope of television, radio and writing as they relate to mixed martial arts.
FCF: Rodolfo, thanks for taking time out for us here at Full Contact Fighter. First, tell us how you came to the sport of MMA and what sparked you to begin an MMA version of The Roman Show?
RR: First and foremost, thank you for allowing me to let your followers read about my upbringing in this intensive and energized sport we call mixed martial arts.
It was only a matter of time since I got involved with MMA. At a young age, I was very athletic having played football, baseball, and softball. I also took karate classes and wrestled in high school.
Growing up, I was and still am a fan of professional wrestlers. I grew up idolizing guys like Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. I always wanted to excite a crowd, while building up emotions.
In the early 1990’s when UFC began, I looked for an alternative as I realized pro wrestling was at a point where it was very dull. So, I started watching UFC. But, I switched back to pro wrestling because I got very interested with the Monday Night wars.
Regardless, MMA fighters like Ken Shamrock and Dan “The Beast” Severn debuted. At that point, interest for MMA grew even more.
Flash forward to 2007, Brock Lesnar left the WWE for UFC and that’s when I really started following MMA religiously. Shortly after, I was assigned my first MMA show to cover where another pro wrestler, Bobby Lashley, made his debut as a mixed martial artist. From then on, I worked for Sherdog, covering events and, of course, covering my beats for television and newspaper in Miami.
A little more than a year ago, I approached a local promoter to see if he would let me conduct the post fight interviews because his past shows lacked the energy and excitement. He gave me the chance. However, on fight day, the cage announcer scheduled to perform backed down so I stepped up to the plate, where other promoters saw my action.
Since then, I have traveled the country and have appeared on national and international networks like MTVtres. Now, I am officially the voice of Howard Davis Jr.’s Fight Time Promotions based out of Fort Lauderdale , Fla. As for the start of my radio show, I felt that their was a lack of in-depth seriousness and professionalism that these MMA radio shows were producing. No offense to them, but fighters have more stories to tell than just to state their training.
I launched the show with the purpose to allow fans to get that 60-Minutes type of feel with professionalism and class. Our show is very PG and we try to stay away from any vulgar or sexist humor. We respect everyone for who they choose to be. As a journalist, I have learned that there are a thousand stories to a story. You just need to find the right angle to make it the best story.
FCF: As a writer, TV reporter and radio host, what changes have you noticed in these fields over the years? How are you staying at the forefront during these times when media is constantly changing and evolving?
RR: No doubt, the Internet is revolutionizing journalism. Sadly and positively, anyone can now become a reporter. I say sadly because amateurs at times make mistakes in which professionals who are trying to make it in the business end up getting penalized.
Positively, everyone is up-to-date with the news via Facebook or Twitter. Videos are uploaded instantly. I try to stay up-to-par with the future of journalism by interacting via Twitter or Facebook. I am huge on updating my status and tweets. On YouTube, I love to communicate with my followers. At the end of the day, it’s just about the sport and I love to hear people’s opinions.
FCF: How do you balance the many roles in your life, and how does your passion for MMA tie into it all?
RR: In high school, I was very active. Not once would I slack. Right after school, I would head to football or wrestling practice. Soon after, I would hit the gym. Then, I would go home and study.
In college, I managed my studies and trained to become a professional wrestler. I’ve been training myself for this. I really believe in writing your tasks on a daily basis to see results. And, yes guys, there is still time for a significant other. All you need to do is plan it out right and you will have time for family, friends and MMA. Currently, I write, edit, produce, and direct almost all of my works. I am a one-man band. Thankfully, working around very smart and goal-oriented people has helped me learn a little bit about every position in the field from photographer to updating my website. I also read a lot of books. It’s like that Reading Rainbow motto, “The more you read, the more you know.”
FCF: Who have been your favorite MMA interviews and who are the three fighters you’d love the chance to chat with?
RR: To start off, Roger Huerta was a great interview. Although he hasn’t had much success recently in MMA, he has a big heart. We spoke about his troubled young life and how he used that negative energy and converted it into something positive by setting up a non-profit for children. It is really nice to always lend a hand to those in need.
Secondly, interviewing UFC president Dana White was an honor because the man is a marketing genius. I learned a lot from the interview and made sure to store some of his suggestions in my mind for a long time.
Lastly, Bellator fighter Alexis Vila is a great person to speak to. Although he is the type of person who is to himself, he will speak if he has confidence in you. He is person who learned from his mistakes and is now proving to himself and to others out there that there is light at the end of the tunnel if you put your mind to it.
I would love to interview Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture and Georges St. Pierre.
GSP and Randy because they are both classy sportsmen and are phenomenal inside the cage. As for Lesnar, it would be great to get to have a coffee with him because he is just a big, tall and mean dude. Plus, we could talk about his undisclosed wrestling duel against Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle. I would love to know who really won.
Cameron Conaway is the author Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet.