While she is content in her life now, Reid hopes that other female fighters will not have to experience the same hardships that she encountered during her career. Like many, Reid is also concerned about the recent acquisition of Strikeforce by Zuffa subsidiary Forza, LLC.

“It’s like a rollercoaster [of opportunities for female fighters in boxing and MMA],” Reid says, “and I heard that at the start of my career. There’s ups and downs. [Opportunities are] definitely not at a peak or anything like that, but I’m sure that it will go up again. In boxing and MMA, even for females, there’s always going to be a face [of the sport], so as long as there are girls fighting, there will be a face. A lot rests on people connecting with that one person.

“For the UFC, the UFC is a household name and that’s a promotion, but when it comes to boxing or females in boxing or MMA, it’s definitely person to person, I would say. I definitely hope that Strikeforce and Bellator will continue [to promote female fights and fighters]. Especially with the Strikeforce purchase [by Forza, LLC], I’m sure that every female fighter is thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, now the UFC took them over, what does that mean?'”

“So I definitely have my fingers crossed,” Reid continues. “I think that Gina Carano and some of the girls in Strikeforce are very much worth keeping. Obviously, Gina has proven that she can have a fanbase behind her. Bellator is growing and I hope that they continue to grow. It has definitely been a force behind female fighting. I’m a big fan of Bellator. They’ve really had some great female fighters.

“I think that it will be a big deal [as to] whether Strikeforce and Bellator decide to keep [female fights], as they are really the only two big shows that women can get on.”

Elena Reid (near) vs Michelle Waterson (far)
Elena Reid (near) vs Michelle Waterson (far), April 11, 2009.


Though she fought just five times in MMA, Reid is all too familiar with the financial struggles that female fighters encounter in the sport; especially when competing on small, untelevised shows where sponsor interest is limited.

“I was making more money [in MMA] than other females out there, which is just asinine because I was hardly making any money at all. I appreciated [opportunities to fight] because I’m a person who knows how to be thankful for things, but with all of the hard work and my life commitment to [combat sports], I would have loved to have made more money to stay with it.

“Even for [male] MMA fighters, if they don’t get enough for the actual fight from the promotion, they’re still getting all of those sponsorships. As a female, though, it’s just as tough to get the sponsorships as it is to get the money from the promotion. I’m very thankful for the sponsors that I did have, but I was literally paying more to train because it was important to me to train my best.

“I had all of these other people around me and I saw all of these things that really helped me, so I wanted to be my best and I put the money into it, but literally I spent more money training than I was making in the fights. Like I said, I was just thankful for it and I kept on going, but it’s just too tough.

“It’s a vicious cycle, and that’s just because [women] haven’t had that ladder and we haven’t had people behind us to get it started yet. Hopefully that happens. If Gina Carano keeps on going, and some of the other girls, they’ve really found a niche in that you have to be famous outside of the sport to be really famous inside of the sport right now.”

Reid notes that she chose to remain quiet about the financial challenges that she faced while competing, as she valued hard work over negativity, but she feels now that a change must be made in order for other female fighters after her to be able to continue to do what they love to do.

“I never spoke out about [the low purses women are paid] or was negative because I don’t want to be negative towards [MMA], but now I just kind of feel like it’s more of me being factual about it. I have no bad feelings about fighting, but if I would have kept on going, I just would have been in a bad place.

“It is sad and I really hope that it changes. It just made me feel that, for as much as I have done and achieved, it made me feel like I was an irresponsible adult. My life’s dedication was to [boxing and MMA], and it’s what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be great at. It was just to that point where it was like, ‘Okay, Elena, it’s time to do other things.'”

  1. Had to stop reading after you gave credibility for her fighting tammie schneider lol 3-11 record, worst mma fighter next to stephanie palmer. . . and waterson is ok, but then she wanted a title fight w alyx hess luck? Isnt she also 1-6? And for her to say it was supposed to be an ‘easy’ fight? If she has so much boxing experience and is so talented why is she trying to powder her record with easy fights? Thats really all this article did for me was clarify how prevalent this mindset is in womens mma. And dont blame it on her manager. If girls want tough fights theyre out there. Elena is a talented boxer, focus on that instead of sugar coating her mma skills or lack there of.

  2. Your comment is fair, but does need context. Tammie and Stephanie only had two fights apiece when they fought Elena, who had none and one in MMA, respectively. And neither of those fights were presented for giving credibility, but rather just to state that they happened. Alyx Hess was 2-2 when she was to fight Elena, and was put into the fight after a couple of other fighters with better records declined the fight.

    So, I’m not disagreeing with you, but just adding context. Her MMA career did not really begin to develop until her third fight, and there were all sorts of changes that went on before the final one; none of which she had any control over. She just fought who was put in front of her because some other fighters turned the fights down.

    I added a brief note about that for better context in the article itself, as that was my error in not doing so previously. Thank you for the comment.

  3. Fair enough

  4. Awesome read.

  5. […] an interview on MMA Rising, pro boxer and MMA fighter Elena “Baby Doll” Reid has announced her retirement from […]