Inside the Life of UFC Fighter Elise Reed
The simple lifestyle has never appealed to UFC fighter Elise Reed. Whether running her gym—Kickside Martial Arts in New Jersey—being an active member in the military, or training day and night for her next fight, Reed is always on the run. After fighting just a couple of weeks ago at UFC 279, Reed is already heading back to work.
Within the video interview conducted below, we discussed what a typical day looks like for Reed. “I don’t know what my days are going to look like as much as you don’t know what my day is going to look like […] It is a constant change in schedule, but it all flows together,” Reed said.
Reed has been invested in the military for quite some time. One factor that influenced her military contributions is that her grandfather served 28 years and is now retired from the Air Force to study at Virginia Military Institute. Reed is now an active member of the Army Reserve and hopes to contribute to the good that our armed forces do.
“I believe finding something that calls you to be better is always a good thing, that’s why I respected the military they are putting their time into something other than themselves,” Reed said.
“Right now, I am a commander, so I am in charge of my unit, the well-being of my soldiers, [and] the training of my soldiers. If anything goes wrong, I get a call first, and if anything goes right, it’s always the soldiers that are doing that good work. It’s not a thankless job, but a job with a lot of work.”
Along with being an active military member, Reed is also a UFC fighter. Reed currently holds a record of 6-2-0, coming off a dominant unanimous decision win against Melissa Martinez at UFC 279. Reed has had a total of 4 fights within the UFC, and previous to joining the organization, she held and defended the strawweight title at Cage Fury FC.
Reed’s MMA journey started at a relatively young age when she was introduced to the sport of Taekwondo. Eventually, she later moved on to teaching Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as a teenager, and that is when she fell in love with the sport of MMA.
“[In my] college sophomore year, I asked my coach if I could fight—he let me do one fight—and it was fifteen seconds. Then, we just kept on going from there…It was really just my coach and I saying ‘okay, we won this one. Let’s try it again, and okay now we have a belt, let’s do it again. Okay, now we’re pretty good as an amateur. Let’s try to get paid for it’…It was more of a journey than anything else.” said Reed when asked about how she got into the sport.
With the military and mixed martial arts being such considerable parts of Reed’s life, we discussed similar aspects between the two.
Reed said, “When you look at the grit and the mental toughness of those who put themselves in front of harm’s way, there absolutely is a correlation…The combat veterans that are out there and saw stuff, my respect goes out to them because that is a different level of going all in, I think fighting is very similar, but it can never match that type of experience.”
It takes one strong person to accomplish all Reed has done in her life. The tenacity, responsibility, and integrity that goes into being part of the military and competing as a professional MMA fighter. She fought to become the first-ever female Regimental Executive Officer (RXO) at the Virginia Military Institute. She graduated from VMI as one of the highest-ranked females in the school’s history. All her life, Reed has fought to get to where she is today.
With this, it posed the question: What does it take to be a fighter?
“I think grit plays a big role. It sounds cliche, but never giving up also plays a huge role…just being so adamant about what you are capable of and worthy of and willing to do—and being able to play ball in practice and the cage. I think it’s…the willingness to grind and ultimately going after what you’re worth.” Reed said.
Reed is the Chief Instructor at the Kickside Martial Arts gym in New Jersey. She began teaching Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as a teenager, and since then, she has fallen in love with the teaching aspect of the sport. At the end of her career, she wants to be able to use her experiences and background to influence the students at the gym. So what advice would Reed give to someone dreaming of pursuing a career within the sport of Mixed Martial Arts?
Reed’s advice main advice was, “Always be willing to fail and almost find failure in training and practice. In MMA, there is a lot of ego because there has to be, but if you find your lowest part in training, the fights are normally a little easier…Accept failure, seek failure, and know that the more you seek and find your weaknesses, the stronger mentally, physically, and technique-wise you’re going to be.”
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