Mixed Martial Arts Careers
Mixed Martial Arts Careers
Bas Rutten (Former UFC Heavyweight Champion) gives expert video advice on: What makes a pro MMA career difficult?; What are the steps to achieving a pro MMA career?; What is the average salary of a pro MMA fighter? and more...
What makes a pro MMA career difficult?
It needs a lot of dedication that's what I think for sure. You're going to get a lot of small injuries and the small injuries are the worst. For instance, a mat burn; if you roll on the mat and you have a mat burn on your knee or on your toe and it happens a lot. The skin gets rubbed off because of the fast movements you make on the mat. You're going to have to deal with that injury until your fight because everyday when you train you reopen that injury. Those little things are really annoying. Other things of course, knee problems because there's wrestling involved and you see many wrestlers also having knee problems because nonstop you're shooting in, you're shooting in. What happens is when you grab the back of somebody and your foot is on the ground and you turn; the traction between your foot and floor stays there so when you turn you might pop your knee. Those little injuries they keep coming and coming and when you get older those injuries become big injuries. Like in the beginning when I used to train, somebody would take me in a leg lock; I would hear my knee pop and then they say okay we got to stop. Three weeks later I could train again, I could fight again. Right now, that same injury would take me two years to recoup from.
What are the steps to achieving a pro MMA career?
Once you've got that dedication, then you've got to take step. The next step is hard training. Of course right now, there is no style that is superior anymore. In the beginning it was Jujitsu, but it was just because nobody knew Jujitsu. So they took a boxer, they took him down, and they submitted him. Everyone would say, "Oh my God, Jujitsu is so good." It is! But you know, right now, everybody knows Jujitsu. Also, if you're, for instance a good boxer, if you've got good hands and you've got good wrestling skills, so the 5th degree black belt Jujitsu cannot take you to the ground. He's going to have a big problem, because if he knows only Jujitsu and he doesn't know how to box, he's going to get knocked out. So right now what you need to do, you need to find a school, a gym where they teach everything at one time. Before, and it was in my time, you had gyms that did, let's say boxing and Jujitsu, or wrestling and Jujitsu, or wrestling and boxing. Right now mixed martial arts are getting a sport on itself. It's getting martial arts on itself. I truly believe that there's no more going to be karate, Thai boxing. It's going to be there, but in that same category, you're going to have mixed martial arts. So now you're going to go to a gym, start training in mixed martial arts, and then it's very important that you start competing, of course. The more you compete and the more you win, you put all those wins on a video tape. That tape, you send in to a big organization. And once they see that tape and they think, "Well, you've got a colorful personality. You're a great fighter." You might spark some interest in them, and maybe they're going to invite you to fight for the big guys. Then once you fight for the big guys, you better hope that you win, because nowadays, you've got a few big organizations, and that means all the eyes are on you. So if you lose a couple in a row, that might be the end of your career. So I always suggest fighting as many fights as you can before you're going to go to a big organization. Like boxing. Before they become a pro, they already fought like 120 boxing matches, amateur. I suggest do that, too. Not 120, because I truly believe that if you fight too much, that takes the fire away. It was with me. I was fighting too much, and then it's very hard to every time to get yourself fired up for a fight. So I suggest try to fight in the beginning like 6, 7 times a year. And then once you start competing, real competing in a big organization, I would reduce it to like 3 most of the time, maybe 4 at the most.
What is the average salary of a pro MMA fighter?
It depends if you're a good pro fighter or not. I would say, right now, normal fighters get around $30,000 per show, and when they win they get another $30,000.
What is the best advice for a new pro MMA fighter?
Train as hard as you can. Really focus. Your career is not going to be a long career. You cannot fight way too many fights. Just go for it. All the drinking and all the partying that you want to do, just put that to the side for the next six, seven years. You can always do it later, but now is your time to shine. So train hard, do not get side tracked by crazy things. Train really hard. Be open minded. Make sure that you eat good food. Again it is very important. Do not take any crazy drinks or pills from people just before a fight. You would be amazed how many people are, "hey here is a caffeine pill. If you take this man, is works really good." Imagine this - caffeine and adrenaline. That is not a real good combination. In the dojo when you are training, you can pretty much take whatever you want because you are very relaxed and that is why fighters say, I got tired in a fight, but I can not get tired in a dojo. Yeah, but it is a whole different ball game. Now you do not fight in a safe controlled environment. No. Now you are fighting in front of maybe your family, your friends, thousands of people. The TV is there with cameras in your face. And now you have got to do everything the same as you did in the dojo. That is the most difficult thing about fighting. Once you conquer that, once you can do that, you are on your way to becoming a great champion. It is very important that you focus and relax.