Elaina "Beef" Maxwell is a professional mixed martial artist who has appeared in organizations such as Strikeforce, Raging Wolf, Melee on the Mountain, Freestyle Cage Fighting, and Warrior Cup. At the time of this interview, her next scheduled match is against Ashley Nee in Absolute Action MMA at AAMMA: Battle Against Breast Cancer on October 2nd, 2010.
Darrick: What was the journey that led you to professional mixed martial arts competition?
Elaina: 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. I am the older twin by three minutes. After moving to Muscle Shoals, Alabama due to my father's work transfer, I picked up a love for volleyball in middle school and played year-round for twelve years. Having no martial arts experience whatsoever, I started martial arts 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 Sanshou, which is Chinese Kickboxing.
While finishing off my volleyball career and pursuing educational goals at San Jose State University, I made the USH! Fight Team in 1998. 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 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 a 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 Sanshou Champion as well as the North American San Da Intercontinental Middleweight Champion. I recently received my first professional MMA title, becoming the 2007 Golden State Light Middleweight MMA Champion. However, I know that continued success only comes from training hard and staying consistent. I try to display an ongoing commitment to martial arts as 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 now 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 fourteen years, I have had the opportunity to become one of the pioneers of Sanshou and MMA, making history over and over again. With both of my parents dying in 2006, I have suffered a few setbacks, including two consecutive MMA losses, in the industry and decided to switch up my scenery and training environment by moving to Las Vegas in 2008.
After enjoying a one 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! While I was in Sin City, I trained with Shawn Tompkins at Tap Out and Extreme Couture. Ranked in the WAMMA Top 10 for my weight division, I am now training out of Gracie Fighter Jiu-Jitsu/Fairtex affiliate gym, Combat Sports Academy in Dublin, California, teaching at ETC and being managed by ProFight Network. After my last TKO win via strikes at FCF 44 in July and my unanimous decision over #5 Alexis Davis at Raging Wolf in Niagara Falls at Seneca Niagra Hotel & Casino on August 28th, I am now getting ready for my third MMA fight in ten weeks at Absolute Action MMA's Battle Against Breast Cancer in Florence, Kentucky versus Ashley Nee as the co-main event on October 2nd.