He was an obese teenager who wanted to lose weight, get healthy and gain self-esteem. So he started boxing. His weight loss journey led him to become a professional fighter and the journey of a fighter led him to become an entrepreneur with a 7-figure business. Alexander Olave tells his story: how an obese boy became a world champion and how a homeless world champion became a millionaire.
Where are you from and what do you do?
I was born in the beautiful city of Morristown, New Jersey where the pizza is unparalleled and the Italians and Colombians convene and scoundrel the streets for their morning bagels and cups of coffee. I am currently a professional fighter and business owner.
When did you start to do martial arts and why?
The inspiration behind martial arts came from pursuing a fitness journey. At 19 years old I weighed 250 lbs. You couldn’t get me to run a mile but man could I hit a bag and so I did. That decision to put on boxing gloves for the first time inspired by the desire to lose weight, optimize my health and self-esteem would be responsible for me finding myself falling in love with what would become a martial arts journey.
How did you become a professional MMA athlete?
Through the process of losing weight, gaining new skill sets and confidence in my techniques and abilities, with a newfound respect for the game I decided to test myself. Of course, I couldn’t take the plunge straight into professional combat sports so I began my amateur career in Mixed Martial Arts. Debuting as a heavyweight at 220lbs I remember getting in and getting out. With a second round knockout I was victorious. With my hand raised, that feeling of accomplishment sparked the beginning of a decade-long fight career. After several years of fighting in the amateur ranks I decided to go all in on the fight game. I packed up everything, quit my job at the time, sold my car, and moved to the Land of Smiles, Koh Samui in Thailand. That is where I would make the transition into becoming a full-time professional athlete.
What does it take to be a professional athlete?
Being a professional athlete necessitates an embodiment of the best version of yourself. It requires discipline and consistency at the highest level. It requires unparalleled focus and the willpower to do what others aren’t willing to do, even when you yourself don’t want to. It requires excellence, pain and every ounce of tenacity to channel that embodiment of self to show up on Fight Day/Game Day and come out a winner.
What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your sports career?
The fight game has taught me many lessons. I think the most important is to always remain humble. On any given day someone can show up and be better than you, no matter how skilled or strong willed you are, anything can happen – one wrong move, one wrong decision can cost you the W. Martial Arts is about integrity and intelligence; emotions cloud clarity, so make decisions based off calculated, strategic preparation and know that life, like martial arts combat, is a high stakes game of chess. Protect your integrity at all costs.
How has martial arts changed you mentally, physically and spiritually?
Amazing question. I feel like society has this general misconception of professional fighters as these meatheads that pound on their chests craving dominance but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Martial arts has taught me so many concepts that I have embodied and embedded into the core fiber of my being. Martial arts has taught me self-control, it has taught me how to overcome adversity, how to remain calm in conflict and how to channel peace in chaos to connect with my higher self when needed. My evolution has taken a kid from a broken home with a violent past to someone who understands that we are capable of anything we put our minds to as our bodies are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for, able to push beyond the limitations of pain. It has taken a scared, uncertain, abused kid and turned him into a confident, self-assured individual grateful for the rise of the sun and the setting of the moon. Martial arts has instilled within me the principles it takes to be an effective leader in other areas of life and taught me to never judge a book by its cover. Martial arts has changed my perception and outlook on absolutely everything in life.
Why did you stop/change your career?
My last fight was in 2018. Contrary to what others would believe, being a professional MMA Fighter comes with a lot of struggles when pursuing the fight game on a full time basis – physically, mentally and financially. It is a challenge and a testament to how badly you want it. The fight game left me homeless living in cars and gyms in pursuit of this dream. I was a slave to the politics and decisions made on behalf of me by managers and promoters. So in 2018 I made the decision to hit pause on my fight career and focus on building a business that would allow me to sustain a lifestyle where financial safety and security was no longer a dream. This transition allowed me to create more time for myself to channel my efforts wherever I chose to do so. It has allowed me to do what I want with my time and energy, providing me the financial freedom to slowly shift gears back into a fight career. Once a martial artist, always a martial artist. The principles and lessons learned do not dissipate, rather they become a part of you. In 2022 expect to see Alexander ‘Suave’ Olave back in the ring. This time no longer a puppet of the fight game, its management or politics but a self-managed multi millionaire with a purpose that extends beyond fighting for fame or money – that is to simply kick some ass against the best in the world.
Now you have your own business and you do extremely well. Please tell us about your business and why it is important to you?
I own a mergers and acquisitions firm where we leverage investor capital to build, grow and scale digital assets. These are businesses with a digital infrastructure, not impacted by your traditional brick and mortar bottlenecks. Currently we have over 100 different online businesses under management. These are E-commerce stores (Shopify, Amazon, Walmart), coaching programs and digital agencies taking equity in every single asset we allocate our portfolio or resources to. You see business owners these days looking at their businesses as just that, a business not an asset. My whole goal behind starting AO Elite (www.aoelite.com) was to show other business owners they too can develop an exit strategy behind their lives’ work, where they can leverage their business and data as an asset, flipping it for multiples. It’s similar to the concept of real estate. Buy a house, fix it, sell it.… Buy a business, fix it, flip it. This business has allowed me to make a massive impact for our clients and our staff, with a team of 30 in-house employees and growing every day. The vision extends beyond myself; it is no longer about my business but that of everyone who is collectively involved and how we can leverage that infrastructure to solve humanitarian issues around the world.
I’m sure many people ask this question but how did you do it? People may have an idea but they just don’t know how to build a great brand/business so we are curious, what was your path to success?
I will keep this short and sweet. Society will always prevent you from breaking out of the confines of reality, from going against the status quo. Anytime you face oposition, that is the cheat code from the universe letting you know that the resistance that you are facing is a sign that you are about to break through the mold of normality. It doesn’t come without trial or tribulation. That is your sign, that is your divine signal from the universe to keep going. It does not come without adversity. The question is will you push past those “limitations” or let them keep you from your dreams? What is your daily routine? I have a strict set of principles I follow each and every day. The day starts with my morning cup of espresso and an hour of me time where I begin with my affirmations, linking my conscious and unconscious mind. From there, a long list of action items – staff meetings and investor meetings take place into the evening then there is time allocated to my liking, whether that be martial arts, watching a beautiful sunset and the stars, campfires, or even travel to a destination of my choice. I try to always incorporate some form of adrenaline filled experience in my schedule to remind me to live a little and laugh a lot.
What is the best and the hardest part of being a professional athlete/businessman?
I would say the best part is the mentality is the same. The transition from athlete to business owner required a change in skill sets but when it came down to the mindset that one must possess to be successful, the athlete mentality transitioned well into the game of business – having discipline, consistency and being able to overcome adversity. The best part for me is experiencing these mindset shifts to be able to create the time and financial freedom to explore the world as I choose.
The hardest part is the pressure to stay motivated even when shit gets hard. No one is in your ear telling you to wake up, work, push harder and set strategic goals that carry you into your legacy. At the end of the day I have investors and employees riding on the back of my success. This pressure is what drives me, knowing that it’s not just about me, my fulfilment or money. It is about the impact to the lives of everyone who chooses to be a part of this vision. Ensuring I can show up as the best leader for myself, my staff, my clients and the people we are helping through our non-profit. Hard is a good thing, challenges build character. Adversity is a necessity to bring out the best in me.
What would be your advice to someone who wants to become a professional MMA athlete or build a business?
Do it, you won’t know your potential until you’ve failed over and over and over again and choose to push past the pain. Only then will you see the true fruits of your labor. Everyone has a story, what will yours be? What is your message to the world? What are your plans for the future? My message to the world is this: if I can do it, you can do it. If I can start at 250 lbs, lose the weight and become a professional athlete, if I can go through the journey of being homeless and becoming a business owner, you too can do anything! I am no different than you, the only difference is the action that is taken. Guide yourself with direction, stop at nothing to get there and you will watch your dreams manifest into reality.
Would you like to add anything else?
I absolutely would. For those reading this wondering how you too can experience more time and financial freedom in your life, I would invite you to explore how I can help you achieve that. If you’re looking for another stream of passive income, looking for a business you can sell as an asset, or if you’re looking for more fulfilment out of life to do more of the things that make you happy, I would like to extend an invitation to visit us online at www.aoelite.com and book a call with either myself or a member of our staff. We would love to hear from you. Just pop in and say hi or simply write me an email at email@example.com I would love to see how we could help you transition into your best life.