Sam Alvey is venturing up to 205lbs at UFC on FOX 28 this weekend, and he opened up about weight cutting, Anderson Silva, and a whole lot more in our exclusive chat with the popular fighter.
The ever-popular Sam Alvey gets back in the octagon this weekend at UFC on FOX 28 in Orlando, FL. There, Smile’n Sam will face off against Marcin Prachnio, a promotional newcomer who was previously scheduled to fight for gold in ONE Championship. It’s a light heavyweight bout, which means Alvey will be moving up from his usual middleweight stomping grounds at UFC Orlando.
That doesn’t phase Sam Alvey, however. He loves to fight, as he told Cageside Press ahead of this Saturday’s scrap against Prachnio. We discussed that, and a whole lot more, starting with the rough weight cut Alvey went through last time out. It was a short notice fight at UFC Gdansk, something he pushed his body to the limit for. Unfortunately, for the first time in over forty fights, he missed weight.
Hindsight being what it is, Alvey admitted he’d turn the bout down if he had to do it again. “Yeah I would decline it. Not the fight but the weight cut” he told us. “It was 42lbs in ten days, and I just overestimated what I could do. I almost got there, but it was too much. I should have listened to my coaches, and my wife a little more, but I was just convinced I could do it.”
“What California is doing is an atrocity I think. Stay away from me, stay away from my scale.”
Lesson learned: always listen to your spouse. Yet despite that, weight cutting has gotten easier, not harder, over the years for Smile’n Sam. “I’ve been working with George Lockhart the last, maybe about two years, and he has reinvented weight cutting for me, and dieting.”
“It’s gotten so much easier for me, now that I know what I’m doing, and I know who I’m working with” Alvey continued. “He told me, at the beginning of that last weight cut, he said ‘listen bro, you can do it, but you’re not going to be 100%.’ I should have believed to him too.”
Weight cutting being a hot button topic in the UFC of late, talk then moved to whether more needs to be done to keep fighters safe. Alvey had a unique take, which plain and simple involves less government (read: athletic commission) oversight.
“If the UFC were to do it, I would be okay with it. They’re a private organization, they can do whatever they want. But I’m absolutely against any government agency doing it” Smile’n Sam said of weight cutting reform. “What California is doing is an atrocity I think. Stay away from me, stay away from my scale. My team, myself, my family, we can figure it out.”
The California State Athletic Commission, of course, has spearheaded new rules for weight cutting. Those include recommending fighters move up in weight if they gain back more than ten percent of their weight between weigh-ins and the day of the fight. Alvey, however, feels those having problems making weight are in the “vast minority.”
“Weight cuts [are] never fun, it’s discipline for weeks to get there. Even now that I’m fighting at 205lbs, I’m still very disciplined with what I’m eating and how I’m eating, because I want to stay bigger and not lose quite as much as fast” he explained. “So you just have to figure out how to do it. For the most part, I say you learn that during your amateur career, or maybe your young pro career. Too many people don’t look at it that way.”
“I’m an intelligent, fully functioning adult. And I don’t need anyone looking over my shoulder trying to tell me what I can and can’t do.”
Missing weight is also a sore point for Alvey, who is still bothered by coming up short in his last outing. “I’ve got over fifty fights, and I missed weight one time, and I hate that blemish on my record. I’m so embarrassed by it. But it is my fault, I overestimated what I can do. I didn’t prepare for it the way I should have, and I paid a twenty percent penalty because of it.”
In the end, though, Alvey simply doesn’t want commissions like the CSAC getting involved. “Anything the government touches, they will make it worse. They’ll find a way to make it worse for you, and that’s one hundred percent of the time” he opined. “If I had my way, the only thing they’d be able to check is my blood, make sure my blood’s clean because that’s more of a public health thing. But anything other than that, they’re trying to take responsibility away from myself, and I’m an intelligent, fully functioning adult. And I don’t need anyone looking over my shoulder trying to tell me what I can and can’t do.”
Depending on how things go at UFC Orlando, Alvey may have an easier time cutting weight period. If the experiment goes well. Nothing is set in stone about a stay at 205, but it doesn’t seem like Alvey is ruling it out either. “You know right now, this weight cut is so much easier than when I go to 85. So who knows, maybe, we’ll see when I get in the cage” he said. “I know those big guys, they hit quite a bit harder than us middleweights. But I’m a big middleweight, and I’ll be an average 205er. So we’ll see. I’d be fine going back down to 85, I’d be fine staying at 205. But again, I say that now before I have my fight.”
Alvey has been tangoing with some big names of late: Nate Marquardt, Thales Leites, Rashad Evans. Prachnio might come as a bit of a surprise to some fans, then, but Alvey simply wanted to stay active. “We were trying to find a fight at 85, and they just didn’t have anyone” he told Cageside Press. “They had their cards booked up, and they said ‘maybe April we’ll be able to find something.’ I said ‘well to tell you what, I’d be willing to fight at 205 if you have something there.’ They got back to us the next day, they said ‘hey how about this one?'”
“”Too many people think about those rankings. We’re fighters. If you’re going to turn down fights, you’re no longer a fighter.”
“The UFC, they’ve been so good to me. Any time I’ve asked for a fight, they’ve gone out of their way to make sure I get one” he added. Alvey was already training, just to be ready for a last minute call. It’s a call Sam Alvey will always answer. “Too many people think about those rankings. We’re fighters. If you’re going to turn down fights, you’re no longer a fighter. You’re someone who claims to be a fighter.”
As for Prachnio, Alvey has been certain not to underestimate him. “I’m looking at him as if he’s the most dangerous guy in the world, because I haven’t fought at light heavyweight in six years” he explained. “I’m very much aware of how good he is, I’ve watched his fights, I see who he is, I know where he’s training. He’s the real deal. He is going to make an impact in the UFC, I just need to make sure it doesn’t happen on February 24.”
February 24 marks the first fight of the calendar year for Alvey, who’s known as one of the most active fighters in the promotion. “I ended up tying Cerrone” he said of the promotional record for most fights in a 12-month span. Alvey actually got to the record quicker than Cerrone, but an injury prevented him from breaking it. Still, he has no plans of slowing down.
“I love fighting. I’ve always loved fighting. Before I was in the UFC, I had one year, I fought 12 times that year. Just back to back to back to back” he said of his preference for staying busy. “My last three fights before I made it to the UFC were all in the same 30 day period, and I won all of them. I love fighting. I love what I do, I love putting on a show, I love being ready to fight anyone at any time. So I’m not looking to slow down.”
The Team Quest product is looking for a little revenge on behalf of his coach, however. “I love my team. Dan Henderson has built such a great program for professional fighters, and amateur fighters at that” Alvey told us. And with so many famed middleweights at the end of their run — Belfort, Silva, Bisping, Machida — Alvey is looking to take on the ones who hold wins over Hendo. “The champion’s always the dream fight” Alvey said, “but if I had to pick an actual name… I declared it my vengeance tour. There are a list of guys that have beaten my coach Dan Henderson, and I’d like to beat them back.”
“I know at the rate they’re falling, I’m not going to get all of them, but I’d love to get one of them. Silva would be so much fun.”
Alvey doesn’t see Anderson Silva’s current drug test failure as tarnishing his achievements. “It really doesn’t. If it turns out he was cheating now, and maybe he was cheating the whole time — it’s fighting.” As Alvey sees, it, “I’ve beaten people who were juiced out of their minds before.”
“He made it look so effortless. It wouldn’t bother me. Maybe it should, but it wouldn’t” he finished.
For now, Alvey will have to settle for fighting Silva in UFC 3, which has Alvey in it, victory celebration and all. And while it was easy to joke with the amicable fighter about finding a sponsor for his winning smile, Sam Alvey is all business when it comes to UFC on FOX 28.
“I’m going to get my hand raised. I’m not going to decision, I’m going to find a way — submission, knockout, TKO. Whatever it is, I’m not going to decision” he said of the bout. “I’m so sick of going to decision” he continued. “I’m a finisher. I think I’m on a five fight streak now with decisions, it’s garbage. I’m disappointed in myself, and I’m not going to let it happen again.”
Watch Smile’n Sam Alvey take on Marcin Prachnio live on UFC Fight Pass this Saturday at UFC Orlando (UFC on FOX 28) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Check out more of our UFC Orlando coverage on our event page. And catch the full interview below!