It is no secret that the Temecula Valley has seen its fair share of professional fighters set up shop, especially when it comes to the UFC. One of the most prolific fighters to settle down in the area is Dan Henderson, who is one of the godfathers of the mixed martial arts world. At the time of his retirement after UFC 204, he was the oldest fighter on the UFC roster. Henderson is an owner of the Team Quest Fitness Gym located in Temecula, where on any given day you will almost certainly run into another great local UFC fighter, “Smile’n” Sam Alvey.
Alvey is an American professional mixed martial artist, currently competing in the light heavyweight division of the UFC. A professional MMA competitor since 2008, Alvey has also formerly competed for Bellator, King of the Cage, the MFC, and was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin versus Team Nelson. The name “Smile’n” Sam, well that comes from the fact that he is always smiling, he said.
“It’s just one of those things that stuck with my since I was kid,” Alvey said.
Originally from Waterford, Wisconsin, Alvey competed in football and wrestling at Waterford Union High School and was a musician. He played trumpet in the school’s marching band and went on to Lakeland College to play the trumpet semi-professionally. In college, Alvey began competing in pankration before eventually transitioning into a career in mixed martial arts.
In June 2014, it was announced that Alvey had signed with the UFC. He made his debut Aug. 16, 2014, against Tom Watson at UFC Fight Night 47. He lost the back-and-forth fight via unanimous decision. Alvey was expected to return to action against Khalil Rountree Jr. March 28, at UFC on ESPN: Ngannou versus Rozenstruik, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was postponed. Once UFC owner Dane White stood his ground and kept his business flourishing on TV, at the height of the pandemic, Alvey jumped in and faced Ryan Spann Saturday, May 9, at UFC 249. He lost the fight via split decision.
Now boasting a 33-15-0 record, Alvey is scheduled to face Da Un Jung Saturday, Oct. 25, at UFC 254. For the past six weeks, Alvey has undergone intense camp training and said he feels great with less than a month to go before his match.
“My schedule is very dialed in thanks to my trainers at Dynamic Fitness and Dan Henderson’s Team Quest facility,” Alvey said.
Though he and his family reside in Lake Elsinore, Alvey spends most of his day training in Temecula, before hanging out with his family. He has five children with his wife McKey Sullivan, who was winner of the 11th cycle of “America’s Next Top Model,” and the day starts early for his squad, usually around 6:30 a.m., he said.
“We are up early getting ready for the day so they can get their schooling started, and then they help me or my wife out with daily duties,” Alvey said. “I am usually at my workouts at 9 a.m., then team workouts at 10:30 a.m. Once I get home in the afternoon I like to take as much time off from getting beat up all day.”
The afternoons in the Alvey household consist of piano lessons, trumpet lessons, ukulele and guitar lessons and homework. He said he hopes that one day his family will carry on his musical traits and who knows, maybe even form their own orchestra.
As for his upcoming fight, Alvey is looking forward to the trip to Abu Dhabi, which he will make with his wife. She serves as his manager too.
“He is just about four weeks out, and Sam is stronger and leaner than last camp,” Kevin Duenas, co-owner of Dynamic Fitness HPK, said. “He is healthy and feeling good and right on track for Fight Island.”
“We will fly to Vegas and quarantine for two days, then take the 16-hour flight to ‘Fight Island’ where we will quarantine again for another two days,” Alvey said. “I plan to relax as much as possible before training out there.”
It is the second time around for fighters to hit Fight Island, beginning with UFC 253, Sept. 26, for a five-week stint in Abu Dhabi, including Alvey who will fight at UFC 254. The couple said they learned a lot about the UFC’s operations on the first trip and can anticipate how things will go as the UFC hosts another international event during the coronavirus pandemic.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at email@example.com.