Tim Elliott didn’t seek attention when he aired details about his personal life on social media, but he also feels like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
The veteran flyweight dropped a now-deleted tweet about his divorce with fellow MMA fighter Gina Mazany that exploded almost as quickly as he posted it. Elliott said he wasn’t trying to air dirty laundry to get anybody’s sympathy – or even attempt to condemn his ex-wife. Rather, he said, he wanted to offer brutal honesty rather than dodge questions about his marriage.
“That’s the thing, I wasn’t going to say anything,” Elliott explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “We’ve been separated for months. I wasn’t going to say anything, I was holding it in.
“What happened, happened. I’m not mad at her. I lost a bunch of money, all my animals are gone, my life got pretty much uprooted, but nobody knew why. Everybody would message me, ‘What’s going on with you and Gina?’ Or, they would ask me in interviews, ‘What’s next for you and Gina?’ And I would have to make up these lies about why we weren’t together anymore. Even worse than that, people would ask if I was working with Kevin Croom, or if I was going to corner him in his next bare-knuckle fight. I’m like, ‘We’re not friends anymore,’ and people would ask why.
“I was covering for these guys to not make them look bad, and it was making me feel bad. I was carrying all the burden.”
Mazany declined to comment when reached by MMA Fighting.
Elliott said he’s moved on with his life, but he also didn’t feel like he should get stuck dancing around the subject, especially because his marriage to another fighter was public knowledge.
“There’s no hard feelings to either one of them, I just didn’t want to carry their f****** burden around,” he said. “I don’t want to carry their load. That’s on them. I didn’t know it was going to get 9 million views on my Twitter in two days.”
If there was a positive outcome from the original message, it’s that he’s received a lot of support. But more importantly, he’s gotten helpful advice from people who have suffered through similar breakups of their own.
“I’ve got overwhelming support from the MMA community and other people in general telling me how similar things happened to them,” Elliott said. “I didn’t know if releasing that was going to make me feel bad, or make me feel good. It relieved a lot that other people said, ‘This is something that happened to me and this is how I got through it.’ I’m not going to lie, it’s helped. It’s helped a lot.”
In addition to the turmoil from his personal life, Elliott also underwent a major change in his career when he relocated from his home in Kansas City to Frisco, Texas, after his longtime head coach James Krause was effectively banned from working with any UFC fighters.
An ongoing betting scandal led the UFC to cut ties with Krause, and Elliott decided to move to a new training camp, working with UFC and PRIDE veteran Chris Brennan. While the situation wasn’t ideal at first, he bonded with his new coach and teammates, which allowed him to stay completely focused on the task at hand – fighting Victor Altamirano at UFC Vegas 74.
“Thankfully it did work out,” Elliott said. “My track record with coaches is terrible. I moved out to Las Vegas to train with Robert Follis. He killed himself. I moved to Kansas City and bought a house and the gym gets shut down. I had to tell Chris, are you sure you want me to move to Texas and ruin your f****** life? He told me he likes a challenge.
“I feel like this is a good fit. James told me this is where I needed to be. Granted whatever happened with James, whatever people think of James, he’s never steered me wrong. He’s always been one of my best friends. He’s been my mentor. James told me this is where I need to be, so I didn’t even think twice about it.”
Considering what happened in his professional and personal life, Elliott could have withdrawn from his upcoming fight. But that was the last thing he’d do.
Elliott said regardless of personal circumstances, he and his opponent have a job to do. And for him, fighting is the best possible escape.
“Victor Altamarino doesn’t give a s*** what I have going on,” Elliott said. “He’s going to try to bust my head. My daughter, she’s 8 years old – it doesn’t matter what I’m going through. I have to take care of her. I have to support her, and winning this fight is most important.
“This is my job, but I love to fight. There’s not a person on the UFC roster that likes to fight more than me. If I had the money and I was retired, I would probably still go to the gym and spar, because I love it so much.”