How to Become An MMA Fighter Professionally: Planning Beyond UFC Fighter Pay

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Last modified on Saturday, 25 May 2013 12:09

     MMA is quickly growing in popularity around the world.  The explosive success of the sport is due to the vast complexity of Mixed Martial Arts' many fighting styles.  Dynamic and yet extremely specific fighting styles which have been accumulated and developed over a thousand years of time.  

     These different fighting styles include wrestling, which entails collegiate and submission styles and techniques, and has been very successful on the world stage of fighting styles.  Another popular form of fighting includes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ, which is very up close and personal, as it involves a wide array of submission holds, locks, and chokes.  Of course, there is Muay Thai, which involves a large amount of the fighting style to be done with the fighter standing.  Muay Thai involves many kicks and combinations. Popular fighting styles also include Judo, boxing, and the list of MMA disciplines goes on and on. 

     The higher a fighter gets in competition, the more complex and diverse of fighters that fighter will face in the octagon.   Preparing for a fight takes a lot of mental preparation and the astute studying of an opponent's fighting technique, habits, and their tendencies.  As an MMA fighter prepares for the upcoming fight by conditioning their body the fighter must also make the mental connection between their training and workout movements and their fighting attack plan.  The MMA fighter must visulaize the opponent as he, or she, will be during the fight,  and the fighter must execute every rep and sparring session with the intense visualization of the upcoming fight.  Mental training for MMA, and sports in general, is an entire science within itself and although it holds a massive amount of importance, conditioning is just as important, because as goes the body, so does the mind.  Specifically, the more tired the fighter becomes, the worse their decision making becomes.

   First things first, when you train for your upcoming fight, stamina and strength is critical.  You can be super fast and extremely powerful, but if you do not have an elite stamina level, than any fighter with an ounce of skill will be able to hold you until you tire, and there is nothing worse than being more tired than your opponent.  The more tired you are, the more mental mistakes you will make.  So, conditioning is very important and has a direct impact on your mental cognition and decision making ability.  Listen to this Professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter explain how he prepares for his upcoming fights dependant on their fighting style.




MMA Video Transcription:  A lot of our fighters don't even touch weights. It's nice to be able to bench 500 pounds and squat 1000 pounds but it's not going to help you if you can do it for 25 min. as a pro going one on one against someone. So a lot of our plyometrics come from bodyweight, probably 10, 15 pounds of medicine balls. We'd do a big alternation of isometric plyometric, and we change it up do a lot of bodyweight squats, go to push-ups, go to sit ups, it's a big change. So we do a lot of bodyweight and slightly above bodyweight exercises. And that's what gives you the ability to go for 25 min. I started my training camp today and the heaviest weight I picked up in 8 months was 50 pound dumbbells to walk upstairs and it was every step, every other step and it was continuous for 10–12 min. depending on what exercise we were doing. The biggest thing is you have to train for what you're doing. I'm not going to do the same lifts and exercises as a shot putter. The shot putter isn’t going to do what a sprinter is doing. You trade for what you're doing, that's what's different at Black Eye fitness. We talk about mental preparation, ideally you get 6–12 weeks notice on the fight, that's if you're the main event. A lot of times you'll take a four-day notice by or a three-day notice fight, I've had a few good competition fights on 4 days notice. You just have to do it for your career, or it's a good fight, or rent’s due which is not the reason to be fighting, which hurt my career early. The mental preparation is 100% on the guy who's doing it, you got guys listening to their iPods listening to death metal, going crazy, talk about all sorts of crazy stuff, is usually the younger guys in the sport haven't been around as much. But that's not to say that you have 40 fights on your belt and still be doing it, whatever gets you ready. I've actually noticed my mental preparation changes fight to fight but mostly as the later fights have gone on, I found out what I need to do to get my mind right before the fight. I just have myself up in one way or another talk about “people hate you, they don't care.” Talk about “I’m the greatest, no one can beat me,” I have mine down to a science. I'm close to 30 fights now so I've had a little time to own what works for me mentally, and every time it might be something different. Say you take that fight in 4 days notice, your body is not prepped you got to do something different. One of the biggest differences I think is my warm-up. I do a warm-up that would fatigue most guys before a fight because my cardio is right. You take a short notice fight you have to change that. And that's what comes with the mental way, you got to adapt to what's going on. You might be in a 6' x 6' electrical room looking place or you might be in the giant warehouse looking building where it's freezing cold or hot so you just have to adapt to what your situation is and prepare yourself mentally. You know when you leave your house you’re going to have to make weight and then something's going to happen afterwards. The only 2 guarantees are you make weight and then you fight. At least here, our fighters always make weight and that's one thing I've never missed, I've never missed a weight my life. I feel like that's part of the preparation. If you don't make weight you’re not ready for the fight and a lot of fighters don't take it seriously. I hope none of my opponents ever make weight because I will take hundred dollars a pound or more depending on how much they don't make weight. It's free money so that's one of the mental preparations is you have to make weight. You make weight you rehydrate, you get your energy up and the next day you fight, so that's one of the things it's about getting your mind right, getting on the same page, get it going.



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