You could say it’s somewhat of a rarity for someone to hold the title of both YouTuber and MMA fighter. But for Alex Elsey, that is exactly the case.
The 25-year-old, who fights out of Tsunami Gym in Cambridge, has over 100 videos on his YouTube channel – AlexElseyMMA, to which he posts regular vlogs documenting his training and other aspects of his life.
He started the channel back in November 2016 prior to his first appearance at the European Championships, and Elsey believes that his videos offer a unique look at a young fighter climbing through the amateur ranks.
“Basically I always thought it’d be interesting if you could see top athletes from the start. You can watch a documentary on Ronaldo but it’s not the same as if he documented it himself while he was coming up.
“I always set myself high goals for the sport and I pretty much thought that if I’m not going to be elite in it, then I’m not going to do it because I think that’s a pretty terrible mindset to have in something where you can get brain damage.
“It’s not just going out and playing footie. I think you’ve got to be aiming to be world championship level.”
Elsey has uploaded 10 of his “MMA Vlogs” so far this year in which he gives his viewers an insight into his training, nutrition and lifestyle.
But the welterweight prospect admits that balancing YouTube with his fighting career does not come without it’s challenges.
“I’ve cut down on the number that I do really because, say if I go to jiu jitsu class, I don’t want to be going in every day with my camera disturbing other people, especially because not everyone will always want to be on camera.
“It is fun but it’s probably more tiring than people would think, to add extra concentration into your day. You have to be switched on and remember to film stuff, you want to be genuine but you also want to have the energy for your audience. In between sessions you’re always just trying to recover and keep your energy.”
After making his first video almost three years ago, Elsey is showing no signs of letting up on the video sharing platform and still posts regular vlogs.
But whilst he admits that YouTube is something he likes doing, his priority remains his career inside the cage.
“It’s just a hobby for me at the moment, it’s not a career and I’ve never made a penny out of YouTube, I just enjoy it.
“The main focus is being an athlete and improving as much as possible, so I don’t really want it to get in the way but it’s obviously worth it enough to keep doing it.”
Having competed at the European championships in 2016 and 2017 and well as the World Championships in 2017, Elsey is arguably one of the more seasoned competitors on the UK amateur scene.
Whilst he is yet to capture a medal on the international stage, the 25-year-old has now gained a wealth of experience fighting world-class opposition from all over the world.
An injury plagued 2018 meant that Elsey wasn’t able to make it to last year’s IMMAF European or World Championships, but the Cambridge amateur claims that he did not lose any sleep over missing out on the competitions in Romania and Bahrain.
“I’d lost my enthusiasm for those tournaments and I felt like I’d got everything that I could out of it aside from medalling in it, to be honest, so not anymore given the context of it really.
“I wanted to do more fight nights, so I was more disappointed that I haven’t been able to do as many normal fight nights. The best thing about the tournaments is the number of fights that you can get in a short period of time, but with injuries and stuff I haven’t been able to compete as much as I wanted to.”
2019 did not get off to the start that Elsey would have been hoping for after he suffered the 6th defeat of his amateur career to Aaron Ramas at Rise of Champions 7 last month.
But the young 170 pounder is hoping to get back to winning ways soon and expects to be back inside the cage within the next few months.
With 13 amateur fights to currently under his belt, Elsey also anticipates that a switch to the professional ranks is not too far away.
“I was hoping for June but I’m still working through some injuries that are taking longer than I thought, unfortunately. Ideally, I’d like to get one in before the summer because I know a lot of the shows have a break.
“I want to have a few more amateur fights this year, so hopefully before the summer but if not I’ll have to wait. After that probably next year sometime I’ll probably turn professional I imagine if I can get enough fights in. “