The Rose City Phoenix Randi Field
Always Keeps Her Eye on The Prize
Story by Matthew St. Amand
Photography by Bellator MMA/Lucas Noonan
Saturday, October 16, 2021. The Footprint Center. Phoenix, Arizona. The fifth fight of the Mix Martial Arts (MMA) event saw “The Rose City Phoenix” Randi Field, a 31-year-old mother, square off against her American opponent, “the Lady Samurai” Sumiko Inaba. Randi was aggressive in the first round, taking the fight to her opponent, landing blows, even catching Inaba’s leg and taking her down to the mat. Going into the second round, Randi felt confident and in control—and then something trickled into her eye, blinding her.
“I remember thinking: ‘Am I cut? When the heck did I get cut?’” Randi says.
After six years competing in MMA, this was Randi’s first fight since signing with Bellator, one of the largest combat sport promoters in the world. It was also her first time competing in the flyweight, 125 lbs, weight class, which was 10 lbs heavier than her usual strawweight class.
“Blood dripped into my eye,” Randi recalls, “and I couldn’t see when she took me down. We scrambled on the ground. I was fighting blind. Then, she got me in an arm-triangle choke hold…and I just tapped.”
It was a grueling end to a difficult day.
“The fight actually went really well,” Randi observes. “I didn’t win, but I displayed how tough I am. My focus on gaining weight in training camp took away from my cardio and it caught me.”
Usually on a Fight Day, Randi experiences a fluttery stomach, but on October 16th, scenes from her five-year journey tumbled upon her like an emotional avalanche.
“I was fine all week,” Randi says. “My training was on point. Then all the emotions hit me, thinking of everything that led me up to where I was…”
Randi Field’s path to becoming a Bellator fighter, ranked 2nd in Ontario, was not a straight line.
Growing up in South Windsor, she ran track at school and studied judo for seven years. As she grew into her teenage years, she dropped the extracurricular activities.
“I thought I was too cool for that stuff,” Randi says. “Meanwhile, it was exactly what I should have been doing.”
Like any teenager, Randi thundered through her rebellious years. By the age of 23, she found herself at “rock bottom”. She wanted more for herself and her daughter.
“I was drinking and felt like I lost control of my life,” she remembers. “I didn’t have the support to get on the right path.”
She did, however, find her way into a gym.
“One day, I decided to try a jujitsu class,” Randi says. “Wearing a gi again, reminded me of judo. It felt familiar and I had a great workout.”
She then tried boxing, which was led by coach Manny Alfaro on Saturday mornings.
“It was a challenge getting to boxing class because I was going out Friday nights,” she continues. “But I got there. It was fun. I got to punch things!”
One morning, Manny paired students up for sparring. Randi’s partner was a hulking football player.
“I knocked him out,” she remembers. “He had to go sit down and Manny asked me to do pads with him. He wanted to see if that knock-out was a freak thing or if I had some power. Manny said he couldn’t believe how strong I was.”
Manny asked Randi if she had ever considered competing as a fighter.
“It sounded cool,” Randi reflects, “but I had to get my act together. Manny didn’t specifically say I had to stop drinking because he didn’t know how bad it was.”
For a time, Randi tried balancing herparty life with training. Soon, the two worlds collided. Manny decided on a bold move to communicate to Randi that it was time to choose which life she wanted to live: he kicked her out of the gym.
Speaking to local media on a different occasion, Manny said: “What I wanted to do was shock her. I wanted to make sure that the lesson was learned—and it was. She completely stopped everything. She changed her whole life.”
Manny asked Randi’s training partner to check on her, periodically. Without prompting, Randi quit drinking entirely. She remembers thinking: “My life could be so much better and I could avoid this trouble if I just smartened up.”
And she did.
A month later, Manny invited her back to the gym. Although Randi was ecstatic returning, Manny organized for Randi to spar with Olympian and world champion boxer, Mary Spencer. In Manny’s words, Randi took a “whooping,” but her toughness and tenacity were evident, demonstrating she had the heart to pursue a career as a professional fighter.
Manny also followed up with Randi outside the gym, phoning her, asking about her schedule. During that time, she returned to school, studying to become a massage therapist. On New Year’s Day 2017, they became a couple.
Randi made her MMA pro debut in Windsor in 2019, fighting at an event at the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Center. Friends, family and supporters came out in force. Randi won her match. After winning her second pro fight, later in the year, she and Manny traveled to Florida for her to train.
Then the COVID-19 global pandemic hit and Randi and Manny returned home. The lockdown threatened to derail her progress, but Randi’s desire to continue would not be denied.
“We set up a training space in my house,” she says. “Manny and I sparred in the living room. We practiced jujitsu in the backyard.”
The cursed year, 2020, however, wasn’t without its rewards. In September, Randi signed with Bellator. In an interview at the time, Randi said: “I don’t think it’s hit me yet.” In the same media piece, Manny is quoted: “She’s only been in the game for less than six years and she’s already on the biggest stage. Most fighters take 10 or 15 years to get to where she is right now…”
A month after signing with Bellator, Randi suffered a catastrophic injury to her elbow: both ligaments were torn, her olecranon process and radius both broken. The injury required surgery. Months of rehabilitation followed.
“I’m a go-getter, though,” Randi says. “I was doing one-arm push-ups with my good arm just after I got my stitches out. I attended physiotherapy twice a week. I regained decent range of motion reasonably quickly.”
These were some of the images and memories that converged on Randi on Fight Day in Arizona. One of her many strengths is her ability to learn from the past and then move on. Through the tumultuous journey, Randi retains her clarity. She is quick to express her gratitude for her family and supporters.
“And there is no way I’d be where I am now without Manny. He looked passed
everything and saw who I was. He has been my rock. And my sponsors—Conquer Construction, Armando’s Pizza, Kachin Muscle, Odyssey Travel Solutions, Ezekiel Santos, Veg Tech—have been with me all the way. They’re local, Windsor supporting Windsor.”
While in a tattoo parlour, recently, Randi encountered a teacher having a tattoo done, who told her: “You have so many people watching you and you are inspiring so many women!”
“It made me cry,” Randi says.
As for her next fight, Randi is hopeful that it will occur in February 2022. To follow her journey, visit instagram.com/randifield.