The Elite program is a team of competitors from all walks of life who are pushing boundaries, embracing change, and living the #earthfedlife.
Meet Amanda Leve, MMA fighter. She's been at it since she was very young and is not looking to stop anytime soon. Back from a broken leg, Amanda is gearing up for here February 3rd fight.
How did you get into athletics in general?
My dad would just sign us up for all sports for us to try them. I was always an athletic kid. I started with t-ball and then I did basketball. I tried gymnastics. They tried putting me in ballet but I would make myself throw up so I didn’t have to go. I was such a tomboy as a kid that any thought of that was terrible for me. I did flag football. Jiu jitsu. Then we did some striking stuff like boxing.
Even in high school he made me try shotput. Not that it’s a great record, but I still have my high school record for indoor and outdoor.
How do you think that influenced your athletic career?
It definitely made me more well rounded and willing to accept failure. I was always in a new sport so then you were constantly not the best, right off the bat. It would make me have to work harder to be one better kids.
He had me in the gym at like 11 years old. He liked about my age to the gym so I could start lifting.
Was your dad an athlete?
Not really. He played hockey as a kid. Him and his twin brother. My uncle was like a second dad to me because they’re twins so they’re basically inseparable. His kids were always a lot younger than me, so growing up, we were his kids too. He did everything with us. He would be at all the games. If my dad couldn’t take me, then my uncle would take me.
So you said you were a tomboy but what were you like as a kid?
I was a very happy kid. Very easy going, and Im still like that. Im pretty much go with the flow. Nothing really rocks my boat too much. My parents love the fact that I’m easy going. And I think that its that Im the middle child so it was either the older one that had the say or the younger one that had the say, and I would just go with it.
How did you find and choose grappling and then MMA? You tried so many sports. How is that the thing that pulled you in?
Probably because of the competition aspect of jiu jitsu. So I started when was 11. Basically, it was because My dad and uncle would always watch the UFC. They took my brother to a practice and saw him doing pushups and they were like, “Amanda would be so good at this.” So I did my first class and ended up sticking with it and 4 months in my dad put me in my first tournament
I lost so bad. Usually people don’t compete until 6 months to a year and I lost to so terrible and cried and wanted to go home. My dad was like please stay for one more. So I stayed for one more and I ended up winning my next match. I just stuck with it.
I love the feeling of wining and getting my hand raised that it stuck with me. I think the frequency of tournaments in jiu jitsu is probably why I stuck with jiu jitsu. I was pretty competitive w/softball but by the time I got to high school I just wanted to focus on jiu jitsu. My dad said no, jiu jitsu is always going to be there but softball isn’t gong to stay here. You only get softball for so long. Play for your high school because it isn’t going to be here. So in high school I played softball, and then after I really pursued the MMA stuff.
What is your favorite part of your sport now?
Now that I kind of am stepping away from jiu jitsu and focusing on MMA, MMA because it is so hard. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything so hard. Im constantly sore. Im getting beat up. Once I feel like I have a grasp or understanding of a concept and I’ll try to implement it and I’m like I have no idea. The constant struggle of it is definitely what keeps me wanting to go back because I just want to be good at it.
We know you love competing, but what is your favorite part of training?
I really love strength and conditioning. I love MMA overall, but I really love strength and conditioning. I always feel the best after lifting weights. I feel so great after. Don’t get me wrong when I’m in a running kick I love running, but nothing makes you feel better than a pump after leg day.
Alright back to competition. Tell us about your favorite competition?
Probably sept of 2021. I was in a tournament called Who’s Number One. It was an 8 bracket tournament of really high level jiu jitsu women. I was seeded 8th and the girl that was seeded was 1st weighs like 270 lbs. I always saw other people that I competed with go against her and they always did ok against her but I always wanted to see how I would do against her. So she didn’t even come to weigh ins. At the press conference I called her out on it and I’m not confrontational person so that was a big moment for me. I never ever do anything like that. My sister saw the article because we were in Texas and she told my mom like, “I think Amanda is causing an issue” and my mom was like, “our Amanda? Our Amanda is saying something?” My mom thought there’s no way because I’m not that person at all.
I called her out for her weight. She was calling me names and coming at me. I wasn’t calling her names just calling her out. The next day I had to fight her. She’s like 6’2”. I really think a lot of people thought I would shit the bed, and I ended up man-handling her. She’s never been beaten like I beat her which is even cooler. And I’m not even trying to brag, but f you watch the match you’re like oh my god she’s never been beat like this before. It was a crazy moment. After I knew I won, it was a 15-minute match. I didn’t get to submit her, but I ended up in a dominant position and saw that there were like 8 seconds left, so I raised my hand and the crowd was going wild. So loud. Crazy. Almost deafening. I wish I could relive that moment over and over.
I definitely had that down that we had to talk about the Gabi Garcia fight.
And thats another thing too. She made me into a controversial person and a show boater. I’m not like that either but I hated her so much that I was like YES.
Let’s talk about coming back from injury. You broke your leg in a fight. What has the path back been like?
So I spent a couple days over in England. My mom wanted me to come home and I was like no. I wanted to see London happy and broken. Im not coming home because I’m going to be depressed. I knew once I got home I was going to be depressed. I will spend my time here. There’s nothing they were going to be able to do for me until the swelling goes down surgery-wise, so I was not going home.
I got home. I went to see another doctor and they told me it was worse than the doctors in England told me so that was an extra shock factor for me. I was so emotional all the time. Im not a cryer by any means but I was crying almost very day. Like the anxiety. I never had anxiety before. I was having anxiety attacks. I think it was knowing that there were people out there training and I can’t do anything. I’m just a bump on a log.
Once had the surgery I was starting to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. So I got a plate and screws put in. A week after surgery went back to strength and conditioning to start lifting again because I need to get some type of physical activity in. It was great. He was the first one that didn’t even acknowledge my leg. I needed it so badly. I needed someone to just tell me to get to work and not acknowledge or feel pity for me. When people felt pity for me I started feeling more pissed off. He didn’t even acknowledge it. I needed that so much. Like 45 mins into he workout he asked how I was feeling. You don’t understand - that moment was so important. That felt really good.
Once I was weight-bearing it made everything a lot easier. Im an independent person so being very dependent on other people was really hard for me.
It took me probably - August I started training slowly which I wasn’t supposed to because I wasn’t cleared yet. I was moving slowly and with people I trusted. And then, two months after that I competed in my first tournament. Again, wasn’t cleared yet. I knew that the longer I waited to compete the more afraid I would be. The build up was just more. I just need to get this one out of my system and I’ll feel better. So I ended up winning that and got cleared right after that.
The rehab was great. I was just really lucky that I was surrounded by a bunch of great people that knew what they are talking about. The jiu jitsu community is so filled with people in different occupations that I was able to go to. I got dry needling, rehab and stuff like that. It was frustrating at first because I would get a lot of chronic pain and stuff, but slowly but surely, I came out of it. Now it feels pretty much 98%. Some days it gives me trouble, but other than that I’m pretty solid.
So lets talk about your upcoming fight. February 3rd.
I’m just really excited because it will be the first time back in the cage since the injury and its been over a whole year. Basically this will be my second professional fight. Ive been training super hard for this. Im looking forward to this so much. So this is for a contract with the PFL for the 145. I was under them for the 155 division but I walk around naturally at 155-160. So for MMA, people will cut weight. I can fight at 145 and like be super strong. That’s the weight I would always want to fight at but they didn’t have a 145. Girls were coming down from 175-180 to fight at 155. When I weighed in for my first MMA fight I was under weight because I couldn’t keep weight on. You’re training and eating health and it is harder to keep weight on.
I’m just really excited to go out there and showcase my skills for this one. Ive been training with a new school, and they have a lot of guys are in UFC right now. It’s a gym thats really proud of being that tough, blue collar, grind everything out kind of gym which is really cool. And its definitely made me more mentally tough as well as physically tough. There’s no easy days there, thats for sure.
Where can people watch the fight?
It will be streamed on Roku.
What would you tell people who want to try jiu jitsu or a combat sport?
Always give it 3 months. That’s what I tell everybody. Give jiu jitsu 3 months. The first 3 months everything is so new you just don’t understand anything thats going on. And then after about 3 months and after you start to see the patterns and it clicks more.
I think it’s def the best sport for self-defense. And most realistic, especially for women because you’re put in close situations. For kids too, I think it is such a great self-defense tool because you can learn how to control somebody without having to punch somebody. I always say give it 3 moons and also find a gym that you’re comfortable at because gyms are different. There’s gyms that are family friendly. There’s gyms that are more competitive. So I think finding a gym and giving it at least 3 months is two keys.
So what are your favorite supplements so far with EFM?
I love the Morning charge. I even put it in yogurt and it’s so good. I love the Whey Back protein. And I started taking the krill oil. Definitely the Morning Charge is my favorite. It adds a nice smooth texture to the coffee, a creaminess to the coffee. My boyfriend likes it too and he’s a black coffee drinker.
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