The world of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is becoming more mainstream and thus more complex on a business level. An athlete needs to treat himself like a corporation if he or she wants to maximize revenue potential. The only way to do that is through a specific, well thought out and properly implemented marketing strategy. Traditionally, there are 3 ways for a fighter generate revenue: through professional fighting, sponsorship dollar generation, and training. Here are few things to consider when planning your career in MMA:
1) Should I have a manager? Absolutely. A fighter’s management team should be there to schedule events, appearance, seminars, promotional parties, and sponsorship coordination.
2) How much should I pay my manager? I manager typically requires around 20% – 25% of their fighter salary. Sometimes an agent is employed as well. An agent would deal with sponsors and would coordinate with the manager on scheduling. A manager typically doesn’t receive a salary . Fighters are often managed by their trainer.
3) Develop an online presence. If you don’t have a website and a MySpace account. Make that happen. MySpace is a great networking tool. Having a website highlighting your fights, training, and contact information becomes an invaluable piece of your marketing campaign. Promoters pay more to fighters who have a following. It only makes sense because that sells tickets. Get you name out there. Have video’s uploaded. They help with traffic and give a promoter the opportunity to view you sparring or fighting. A website also gives you additional “real estate” to advertise your sponsors. The exposure you give your sponsor, the more valuable you become.
4) Fight! Take as many make sense fights as you can to build your record and your reputation. The way to get your name out there by fighting reputable fighters.
5) Be a professional. No one likes to deal with a jackass. You are a fighter. Fighters already have a reputation for being unruly. Set the bar a little higher for yourself. The better your behavior, the more an organization wants to affiliate with you! It only makes sense.
6) Don’t take fights you can’t win. If you ever feel like you’re not ready for a fight, don’t take it! Many promoters try to take advantage of new fighters by putting them up against people they really have no business with in the ring. This is a great way to end your career before it even gets off the ground. It can be tempting to fight a big name. It’s great when you can and you’re prepared to do so.
7) Be a showman. Make a point to be an exciting fighter. Take it your opponent. Be the aggressor. People come out to be entertained. The more you are a performer, the more performances you can expect to get.
8) Ask for the money! You spend money everyday. Whether it be at a supplement store, a deli, or dry cleaning. Anyone you spend your money with is a potential sponsor. It will give them a chance to give back for the loyalty you’ve shown them as a customer. Don’t be shy. You’re fighter! Go get your money. Now you can sell them an advertising space on your shorts, your shirt, your hat, your banner and now your website! That’s a lot of levels of exposure! That’s why corporations are willing to pay you, for exposure.
Doing these things will at least get you started in the right direction. The hard part is sticking to your training. Training for MMA is grueling. It’s the guys who just don’t get hurt seem to be the ones who make it. So train regularly. Don’t overtrain. Stretch and eat right. If you do all these things you will at least be started on the right path. So live, love your job, and be smart. This sport is growing so fast and the business side of things is still catching up. Good luck and keep fighting!