MMA fighters come from many walks of life. What really separates the professionals from the amateurs, regardless of pay, is how they can handle the rigors of any professional’s life. The 20-something single guys who party all the time and think of MMA as some glamorous lifestyle are the ones who eventually do something stupid and aren’t able to function as useful citizens. On the other end of the spectrum, there are many guys out there who achieve a higher education, train hard, fight harder, build families and focus on their career like they should.

Maximum Fighting Championship middleweight champion “Smilin’” Sam Alvey is a family man who maintains a strong balance between his work and home lives. He graduated from Lakeland College, has a wife who supports him and a daughter who drives him, and focuses on his career like a true professional.

Alvey (Jacob Bos/Sherdog)

Alvey (Jacob Bos/Sherdog)

The Wisconsin native started his pro MMA career in 2008, and, after going 13-2, he made a big move to Dan Henderson’s Team Quest in Murrieta, Calif. In just six years, he has built his record to 21-5-1, participated as a contestant on the 16th season of The Ultimate Fighter, appeared twice in Bellator and recently earned the MFC strap.

Alvey’s last MMA fight was against The Pit Elevated’s Jason South in October 2013 for the vacant middleweight title. South came into the fight at 10-0 with nine submissions and one TKO. After a very tough back-and-forth battle, South eventually succumbed to Alvey’s relentless attack and lost by TKO with only four seconds left in the fifth round. It was Alvey’s 13th knockout victory.

“It felt fantastic,” Alvey told The MMA Corner. “It was an honor to fight for the title, and it was an honor to fight Jason South. I think it was a fight to be remembered. I was so happy, and I’m looking forward to do the same thing a week from now.”

After all this talk of Alvey maintaining a work-home life balance, some might feel that a six-month layoff sounds a little long, but that’s not quite the case. The champ didn’t wait six months for his next battle, MMA or not.

On Feb. 15, Alvey stepped into the ring on short notice to fight WKC Muay Thai heavyweight champion Sergio Pique in a kickboxing bout. The original challenger pulled out of the fight, and Alvey took the non-title bout at a 20-pound disadvantage. Cornering him, as usual, was his wife, McKey Alvey (nee’ Sullivan), standing behind her man and keeping him focused on the task at hand. His infant daughter, Reagan, was watching, too. After a massive battering in the second round, Pique couldn’t answer the bell in the third and Alvey won by TKO. Like clockwork, he didn’t take a break and got right back into training.

After his amazing win, Alvey knew he was set for his first title defense this Friday night at MFC 40 at the Shaw Convention Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His first challenger is Wes Swofford, a fellow California-based knockout artist who is 9-4 as a pro with eight knockout victories.

“I know he’s taller than me,” Alvey explained. “He uses his range well, he hits pretty hard, and he’s going to be one of the toughest opponents I’ve ever had.

“This is two stand-up guys who want to go in there and hit the other harder than they are getting hit. This is one where people will be on their feet, and people will be at home screaming and watching. I can see this being a very bloody fight. He breaks my nose. I break his jaw, just going back and forth with each one of us trying to out-strike the other one.”

Swofford may be a solid up-and-comer, but Alvey is the real deal. He’s only 28 years old, has 27 fights under his belt, and has competed on some of the biggest stages in the sport. Swofford will have his hands more than full.

“Camp has been great with Dan Henderson, Tarec Saffiedine, Jesse Taylor, Tom Gallicchio and just a mess of the top-notch guys working with me,” Alvey said. “There’s going to be a huge number of Team Quest fans and members at the Tilted Kilt watching the fight. I wish I could be there watching it with ‘em!”

With Gallicchio and Alvey both fighting for titles on Friday night, the watch party is going to be absolutely haywire. However, even if Alvey wasn’t fighting on the MFC 40 card, he’d still be in the middle of a weight cut. After all, he has two more fights in the next 30 days. That’s right, a wife, a daughter and four camps before the midpoint of the year.

Alvey (Jacob Bos/Sherdog)

Alvey (Jacob Bos/Sherdog)

“May 9, I fight in MFC. May 31, I fight back in Wisconsin. Then, on June 7, I have a kickboxing fight down in Pechanga, so I’m going to be a little busy the next two months,” Alvey elaborated. “Then, I might take a little time and go on vacation with my family.”

Wait, what?

After putting on such a great performance in his WCK debut, the organization wanted him back, and MFC CEO Mark Pavelich had no problems letting Alvey fight. In addition, Wisconsin’s top MMA coach and promoter, Duke Roufus, is putting on a North American Fighting Championship show and Alvey is the headliner, facing off against Roufusport’s own Gerald Meerschaert III.

“I always tell promoters that I fight for a living,” Alvey explained. “So, if a fight’s offered, of course I’m going to say yes.

So, by June 8, Alvey will have had six fights and a daughter in the last 12 months. It’s safe to say that for this husband, father, trainer and fighter, a vacation is definitely deserved. The vacation won’t last long, though. The next year of his life is shaping up to be a bit of déjà vu. In October, a brand spanking new smilin’ Alvey is on the way. In just five months, McKey is due to deliver their second child, but that will not stop her from being by Sam’s side for all of his upcoming fights. It’s the same support he offers her with her modeling career.

“She’ll be cornering me,” Alvey stated. “We will be there as a team and a family again.”

Smilin’ Sam Alvey is a very impressive individual. The work-home balance that he maintains is beyond noteworthy, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of his wife and everyone else he surrounds himself with. However, with all that is going on in his life, the pro fighter still knows where to focus his energy for his next challenge. Fans will not want to miss MFC 40, live on AXS TV this Friday night.

“I want fans to know that I fight to impress them. Because of them, people want me to fight for them. I do my best to impress in every event. You tune in, and I promise it’s going to be a fight to remember.”

Alvey would like to thank his wife, daughter, family, friends, fans and all of his supporters, including Team Quest and Dynamic Fitness. He would also like to thank his sponsors: Gamma Productions, A to Z Plumbing, Effortless Office, Cali Ink and Crystal Glass. Follow Sam on Twitter: @SmilenSam

About The Author

Dan Kuhl
Interview Coordinator