We recently had the pleasure of interviewing fighter Elaina Maxwell. Let’s jump right into our no holds barred interview below and learn more about Elaina’s career and fight on Saturday.
How did you get involved in MMA and give us some background on your interesting journey into martial arts?
-I have always been an athlete of some kind because I love competition. I started playing soccer in grade school in Salt Lake City, Utah with my twin sister, Ila. Yes, I am the older twin by three minutes. After moving to Muscle Shoals, Alabama due to my father's work transfer, I picked up my love for volleyball in middle school, which I played year-round for twelve years. Having no martial arts experience whatsoever, I started in somewhat of a strange way because I initially used kickboxing as an off-season workout for volleyball and track and field when it was the latest fad in workout trends. I fell in love with the contact, intensity and competition of San Shou, which is Chinese Kickboxing. While finishing off my volleyball career and pursuing my educational goals at San Jose State University, I made the USH! Fight Team in 1997. I began to grow as a martial artist from there under Cung Le's guidance. After taking some time off to complete my last volleyball season, I began training on a more serious level because I missed the feeling and intensity of competition in my life. Going to school full time and working part time helped me to dedicate myself more to martial arts. This helped me to become a more disciplined athlete in all aspects of my life through consistency and learning the overall mentality of a martial artist. In 2003 after my first World Wushu Gold Medal Championship in Macau, China, I received my BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management. When in training for a fight, I make many sacrifices on a daily basis from eating the right foods to training double days. I am pleased to finally see the fruits of my labor, becoming a 3-time World San Shou Champion as well as the North American San Da Intercontinental Middleweight Champion. I received my first professional MMA title, becoming the 2007 Golden State Light Middleweight MMA Champion. However, I knew that continued success only comes from training hard and staying consistent. I display an ongoing commitment to martial arts because I remain disciplined in my everyday routine and hungry for new competition. Venturing into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2005, I will soon be a brown belt. In addition, I have been fighting professionally since 2006. Now that I have been practicing martial arts for so long, I can't even imagine my life without it because training and teaching has become such an integral part of my lifestyle. During the past fifteen years, I have become one of the pioneers of San Shou and MMA, making history over and over again. With both of my parents dying in 2006, I suffered a few setbacks, including two consecutive MMA losses and decided to switch up my scenery and training environment by moving to Las Vegas in 2008. After enjoying a two year sabbatical, training trip and vacation in Las Vegas, I then decided to move back home where the majority of my friends and family are. "It was definitely a fun experience, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!" says Elaina of her time spent in Las Vegas. While I was in Sin City, I trained with Shawn Tompkins and Randy Couture at Tap Out and Extreme Couture, including Robert Drysdale in BJJ. I am now training out of Gracie Fighter/Fairtex affiliate gym, Combat Sports Academy in Dublin, California, FTCC in San Francisco and Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Pleasant Hill, California. My head trainer is the USA Muay Thai Head Coach, Kirian Fitzgibbons.
Where are you currently training, and what's a typical training week like for you?
-Usually, when I am training for a MMA fight, I am all about BJJ (Gi & NOGI) and wrestling, along with Muay Thai, pad work, bag work, crossfit and conditioning, but since I am currently training for my first pro Muay Thai fight under the USA Muay Thai head coach, Kirian Fitzgibbons of CSA Gym in Dublin, California, I have not trained any BJJ or wrestling since this Thai fight has been booked. I have been sleeping, eating and breathing Thai since I received verbal confirmation. I listen to my body, so when I need a morning or afternoon off, I will sleep in!
Tell us about your upcoming fight, who your fighting and where?
-I am currently getting ready for my 1st professional Muay Thai fight; it will be at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Old Town in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 19th for Lion Fight Promotions. I will be on the main card fighting 5-3 minute rounds of Muay Thai with elbows. Check out the commercial playing at the Hard Rock for my upcoming fight here. In addition, I will be fighting MMA again in December for Impact, Muay Thai in Thailand also in December and MMA again in March for Janet Martin's new WMMA organization at 145 pounds!
What is your best experience as a fighter? What is your worst?
-I have so many, but I know the best has yet to come. I would not say it was my best experience as a fighter, but it was definitely one of the most memorable moments in my life seen in the third picture above. I was the first American man or woman to win gold at the Wushu Sanshou World Championships in Macau, China in 2003; simultaneously, UFC fighter Pat Barry was the first American to win silver at the same competition.
-Being a female in the fight industry, I have had to deal with many obstacles over the last 15 years, such as sexism and hidden agendas, but it is in dealing with these challenges that I have become a better fighter, person and role model.
What advice would you give to other women who are reading this interview and want to get started in MMA?
-Train with people that care about you!
What are some of the hurdles that you think Women in MMA need to overcome before Women's MMA will be considered a top level sport like Men's MMA is today?
-Sexism, I am not a WMMA fighter; I am a MMA fighter! I fight with 4oz gloves just like the men do!
When do you think we will see women’s divisions in the UFC?
-Never because Dana White is a douche bag and wants to see women in the cage with ring cards, not gloves on ready to throw down.
What or who are your inspirations in MMA and life?
-My daily inspirations are my parents (RIP) who died in 2006 one month before my Strikeforce fight in December.
Who are your favorite MMA fighters?
-Jon Bones Jones because he is a supporter of females fighting MMA, plus he kicks ass!
How do you enjoy your free time when not training or fighting? Any hobbies?
-Sleep, others are listed on my Facebook Fan Page: Elaina Beef Maxwell!
Any future plans or dreams?
-To be WBC Muay Thai World Champ and a world MMA champ for Janet Martin’s new MMA organization.
We have a few questions for the male readership as well.
Are you single?
-No, I am in a serious relationship with my Android; he is incredible – LOL! JK…yes, I am single!
What do you look for in a guy?
-Honesty, good looks, nice ass, must be fit or walk, tall and ambitious.
What are your turnoffs?
-Liars, jealousy, lazy and stupid.
What would you say is your best feature?
-My best asset is my AZZZZZZZZZZZZZ and my hour glass curves :P
Any shout outs you would like to make?
-Gracie Fighter/Fairtex Gym – CSAGYM.com, Janet Martin, Mainstreet Chiro – Thanks Dr. Dan!