The 36-year-old knew he was on borrowed time ahead of his fight against Michal Oleksiejczuk, which Alvey ultimately lost via first-round TKO. The setback pushed Alvey’s winless streak to nine straight bouts, giving him sole ownership of an unfortunate UFC record previously held by former two-division champion B.J. Penn. It also was the last fight of Alvey’s UFC contract, and afterward the promotion opted not to re-sign him.
Even for Alvey, the decision didn’t come as a surprise.
“I knew going into the fight that it was likely going to be over,” Alvey said on The MMA Hour, speaking through a broken jaw. “One, it’s no secret at this point, I’ve had a string of bad luck with my career while fighting. And so after my last one, I was sure that was it.
“The UFC reached out to me and they said, ‘Listen, you’ve got one fight on your contract, we’re going to let you fight it out. Whenever you’re ready, let us know. You’ve been a pleasure to work with. We’re not going to cut you. You’re just not going to probably be re-signed.’ I said, ‘OK, I can dig that, I can dig that.’ So I waited, I let it let my body heal up, we had my sixth baby. And shortly after that, I said ‘alright, let’s do it.’”
A 24-fight octagon veteran who signed with the UFC in 2014, Alvey admitted that in the back of his mind, he still held out a glimmer of hope heading into UFC Vegas 59 that a spectacular win could convince UFC officials to change their minds.
That obviously didn’t happen, but Alvey was still able to maintain a positive outlook throughout the ordeal. He knows the optics of the streak were worse than its realities.
“I realized [what was happening]. And it’s if you look at Tapology, it’s ugly,” Alvey said. “My last four years are ugly on Tapology. But I realized that if you watch those fights, there were a lot of fun fights in there. I had a lot of good battles. Some fights I feel I won, even though I didn’t; some fights I lost and it was still a Fight of the Night kind of performance. I’ve put on some some good fights that I’m proud of.
“People on the internet want to say what they want to say, and that’s fine with me. And you know what? A lot of those bad comments, there were twice as many people defending me. It’s just that the bad comments always stick out to a guy more. I’ll post something, I’ll get 4,000 likes — but that one comment saying ‘you suck’ is the comment you just keep reading over and over in your head. And once I got over that, once I looked at the likes, once I looked at the love I got online particularly, it was a lot easier to rationalize the fewer people that wanted to bring me down.”
Alvey also addressed the same question many fans have loudly asked as his winless run stretched into record-breaking territory: Why exactly was he given such a long leash by the UFC to begin with, especially when some fighters are cut after one or two losses?
According to Alvey, it had everything to do with how he approached his UFC career.
“I knew I was going to get cut [after] four separate fights, I just knew it. I said, ‘Alright, well I had a good run,’ and they gave me another shot,” Alvey said. “Before this last fight, when they decided not to cut me, when they decided to let me fight out my contract, they told me, they said, ‘Sam, you are one of the easiest people to work with.’
“They said, ‘You’ve never said no to a fight. You have gone out of your way to help the UFC in some tough, tough situations, where other opponents fell out and you stepped up.’ And he said, ‘It’s very easy for fighters on fight week or fighters to show up to the P.I. and just be mad. That’s never been the case — every fight week, every time there was a fight, every time we had to deal with you, you helped, you brought the morale up with the staff. So we appreciate that.’ And then even said, ‘And we think you won a couple of the fights that you haven’t.’ So he just said, ‘All of that combined, we’re going to let you fight out your contract.’”
Now that Alvey is a free agent for the first time since 2014, he doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon. He explained on The MMA Hour that he fully intends to continue fighting and even angled for a potential boxing match with Jake Paul, citing a past run-in the two had at a sparring day, during which Paul apparently “was a douche.” Alvey also said his lifelong dream has always been to be a professional wrestler, so he hopes to pursue that as well moving forward.
Altogether, even though one chapter of his story may have ended, Alvey is more than ready to see what awaits him in this next phase of his career.
“I’m going to start fighting less right now,” Alvey said. “But as long as I’m healthy — I mean, honestly, I’ve broken my jaw and that kind of sucks, but other than that I don’t have any long-term injuries. I take good care of my brain. I’m really careful about that, I don’t take too much damage outside of the fights. I love sparring hard, but even then I know my training partners. I’m constantly watching over everything. I’ve got people that are conscious of whether or not there’s any changes in me personally. And I’ve gotten a lot of fights, no doubt — until recently, I haven’t been hit that much.
“So as long as I’m healthy, I enjoy doing this. I have one of the few jobs in the world where I never have to wear shoes. And as long as long as I can do that, that’s what I’m going to do.”