YOU MAY WANT TO RETHINK BEING A MMA FIGHTER
So you think you want to become a professional Mixed Martial Arts Fighter? No surprise there since MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world, and with its new boom of popularity people of all ages male and female are taking great interest in learning about the sport and what it takes to step into the cage. For many of those people it's a rude awakening and a reality check for them when they get their first taste of “becoming an MMA fighter”. Remember all that blood you see on T.V. May some day be gushing out from your head.
Nothing is quite so much fun as latching the door to a fenced in eight sided cage and testing your self against another person who is just as excited to hit you as you are them. Oh, what's so bad about that? Nothing really, it's the days, and months and years of dedication and hard work and injury that are the real test. So much more goes into being an MMA fighter than just being tough and liking to get hit in the face. There is no greater misconception than the idea that those fighters you see on T.V. Are just some random grunts you find in bars and alleys fighting it out, that's actually quite far from the truth. Most of the fighters that make up the body of the sport, are like any other top level athlete, spending the majority of their days, actually their lives training and preparing themselves for the fifteen adrenaline pumping minutes. Don't let appearances fool you, the sport is 10% physical ability, everything else is a blend of dedication and heart, and sheer aggression and desire to be victorious. Now I am starting to rant, so let me stop here about that and get back to the point of down sides to being a MMA fighter. Again like anything that takes years to cultivate, you're are going to have to make sacrifices and choices as to what you really want. The sport has a funny thing about it, maybe it's one of those things that really only gets talked about when your sitting down away from the mat, but doing this year after year can really take a mental tole on you. As burnt out as you can get physically, the mental aspect is the hardest part of the job. For all my time I have spent training and fighting, the people I have come to know and love in the sport are with out a doubt some of the most intelligent and eccentric individuals I have ever met. It takes a certain breed of person to want to go through it all to make it, not just any one wants to deal with all the down sides to the sport.
Have you ever broken a bone? Maybe, most likely yes, probably an arm, ankle one of those common body parts. It's not a rare sight, we are used to seeing thirteen year old boys running around with random body parts casted up. Now when you broke that bone did you know it was going to happen before you engaged in what ever foolish act that lead to its breaking? Again I am going to guess here and say NO! Where am I going with this- When ever you step on the mat and train, let alone fight, you know you are going to get hurt. As that famous cliché goes- “it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when”. I don't know of any one who has been training consistently for more than a few months that has not sustained some sort of injury, whether it's a cracked, or even worse a separated rib, to something more severe like a broken neck or back, the later examples being the exception and rare. And it's not like getting hurt is all that bad, but it's a strange addiction, training that is. Training fulfills some sort of primal need to get physical and beat some thing up. It's that urge to train that can lead you to do stupid stuff. When you're hurt, I mean hurt hurt, as in a torn A.C.L. You need to rest, and avoid straining that area, but most any fighter will share a story about how they jumped back into action too soon. Too often fighters and simply enthusiast will train through injury, which is not bad. It's making sure you know when to step away from the mat and take the necessary time to heal that really gets people in trouble. Training when you are too hurt to train leads to aggravating a moderate injury into a severe one, and time off the mat was what you were trying to avoid in the first place. Be smart, know when to ease back.
Sacrifice, everyone makes them. MMA fighters, well they make a shit load of sacrifice. Money, how much do you think an MMA fighter who does not compete in the UFC of some of the other top level shows make per fight? Let me answer that for you, cause you probably don't know. Not enough to live off of. So to be a fighter you have to make it a full time thing, but unless you make it to the top level right off bat, which no one does. You are going to be climbing through the rank of local shows like every one else, and in doing so you might be lucky if you get paid $500 for a fight. Yeah really $500. Remember for a days work not bad, but you're not fighting everyday, and nor would you want to. You would be lucky if you got a fight every month, and even luckier if you stayed healthy enough to fight that often. So here is where the problem comes into focus, if you train full time and do not work, how in the hell are you supposed to live off the money you make from your fights? If you have an answer to that one please tell me, I myself and a bunch of other fighters would love to know! When money is short things like rent, and food, and gas come first. Things like health insurance, and savings seem to be pretty far down on the list. So where does that leave some one who maybe never makes it big, and gets hurt and fizzles out? It leaves them in a pretty bad spot.
Being an MMA fighter most defiantly has a big “cool factor”. It's just simple fun, and that should ultimately be the reason you want to do it, let alone make a career out of it. There is really no real money, no real fame, save you the few lucky ones; and your future, well that's the most dismal aspect of it all. It may and can all work out to be a splendid gig that pays huge dividends, but be weary. The sport will take, take, take...it's up to you to make sure it gives back.