Is MMA A Good Career? – How Hard Is It to Go Pro

By Logan •  Updated: 10/18/21 •  8 min read

So, you’re into MMA and have started training in the sport. You might be asking yourself is MMA a good career choice for me?

No, MMA is not a good career choice. If you are lucky enough to get signed to the UFC ( and this is very unlikely) then the average salary is $42,000. Your career will be short because of how physical the job is and you will be putting yourself at a great risk of injury, especially brain damage.

Mixed Martial Arts, also referred to as MMA, is a martial art that contains elements of many other disciplines including boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. MMA has grown in popularity in recent years with more people becoming interested in the sport.

MMA is a tough sport to have as a career. The risk of injury is high, the pay is low, and lifelong injuries are not uncommon. However, MMA offers excellent benefits for those who are looking for an adrenaline rush.

Whether MMA is a good career choice for you will depend on what you want from your career. This article will go into more depth about MMA as a career choice.

Is MMA A Good Career

Is MMA A Good Career?

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports. MMA events are relatively new to the culture of the United States, but has become popular in Europe over the past couple decades.

If you want to be an MMA fighter full time then you’ll have to put in the time to train, you will need to train for at least 5 years before you can think of become a professional. This is because of the varied martial arts that you’ll have to master.

You’ll also have to be prepared to take quite a few losses in the process. As well as being a full combat sport you will have to think strategically and use your knowledge of the sport to take down your opponent. MMA is as mentally tough as it is physical, so be prepared for that.

Being an MMA fighter is a tough job and a lot of people have been debating whether MMA is a good career choice. In the US, the UFC is the most popular organization and they have contracts with Reebok, who pay fighters $5,000 per fight for wearing their logos in the octagon.

Recently, Conor McGregor signed an 8 figure deal with Nike to be one of their spokesmen. So you can see that it’s definitely possible to earn money in this profession.

However, it is unlikely that you will make it into the ranks of Conor McGregor, there are only a few MMA fighters that can be considered wealthy. The chances of being signed by the UFC or another organization are very low, especially as there are more and more MMA fighters coming on the scene everyday. 

If you do defy the odds and make it as a professional MMA fighter then don’t expect a massive salary. The average salary for an MMA fighter is $42,000 according to this bleacher report article. That includes a $50,000 bonus handed out to about four fighters per event. When you consider the costs for coaches, nutrition and supplements this isn’t a great deal.

Not to mention that your career will not usually last longer than 10 years, so you will likely need to get another job later on. To add to that the chance of being seriously injured is high, especially developing brain damage later on.

In my opinion MMA is not a good career choice, but it is a fantastic hobby to have and there are plenty of benefits of training in MMA.

How Do You Start A Career In MMA?

If none of the points raised above have put you off (seriously – read them again) then you will want to know how to start a career in MMA.

The first step in becoming a professional MMA fighter is to learn MMA, join a local MMA gym to start training. Ideally you will have a background in boxing, jiu jitsu or muay thai, learning these three martial arts is a must for any MMA career.

Train, train, train you will need to train for as many hours as humanly possible over the next 4 to 5 years and compete as much as you can.

Once you feel competent in the sport then its time to start building up your fighting experience, you will need a strong successful resume of fights to be considered by the UFC.

Once you think you have the experience and skills to make it in this cut throat world it’s time to create your profile with TalentBid.  TalentBid acts as a job recruitment agency for the UFC so make sure that your profile stands out to get recognised. You will need to add information like your fighting record, health, videos and photos and why you want to be an MMA fighter.

Keep pressing on with the training and competitions and update your profile regularly, if you are lucky you will hear back from TalentBid.

MMA Punch bag

How Long Does It Take To Go Pro In MMA

People of all ages and skill levels are getting into MMA, but many people want to know how long it takes to go pro. The answer depends on a number of factors. Some people have the natural talent and determination needed to be a contender in a sport that requires a lot of dedication.

I don’t recommend going pro if you’re not sure it’s what you really want because it is very difficult.

It takes a lot of work and patience to become a professional MMA fighter. If you do have a talent for MMA then it will take 4 to 5 years of consistent training and competitions to go professional. If you work on your profile at TalentBid and are an exciting fighter then you just might be lucky enough to get signed by a fighting organization like UFC.

You will also have to work on your self promotion like social media and networking at fighting competitions which will also take years to build. You will have to work consistently on your training, nutrition, mental wellbeing and self promotion for at least 4 years before you can consider becoming a professional MMA fighter.

What Age Is Best To Start MMA

Well the answer to what is the best age to start MMA depends on what your ultimate goal is, if you want to start MMA for the health and fitness benefits then any age is the best age to start. If you want to start MMA with the goal of becoming a professional fighter then the younger the better, ideally between age 14 to 16.

The reason to start MMA as a teenager is because the body is almost fully developed, and you can start building the necessary muscles and reflexes as your body matures into adulthood. It also gives you a few years to get a few competitions (and hopefully wins) before your turn 18 and you can start to apply for professional fighting.

As a young teenager your body will also be able to withstand the impact that comes with the sport. It will also help you to build up the physical endurance that is necessary for a career in MMA.

Teaching martial arts to children is a fantastic way to keep them active and for them to develop respect for others. It will also teach them self discipline, self defense and give them a level of confidence that’s not easily obtained elsewhere.

Do Amateur MMA Fighters Get Paid?

Unfortunately amateur MMA fighters do not get paid. They can sometimes claim for expenses but the definition of ‘amateur’ means that they don’t get paid.

As a result of the rise in popularity in MMA, there was a surge of amatuer fighters in a program called Toughman Contests, which were basically amateur MMA competitions. Many people who participated in these events were looking for a way to twist their talents into an opportunity for work and money, but for amatuer fighters there is no pay for fighting.

The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) prohibits any kind of monetary compensation to NCAA athletes. However, amateur MMA is not regulated by the NCAA and thus does not forbid monetary compensation. 

However, most competitions follow the NCAA guide and do not allow amatuer fighters to be paid for their time and efforts put into fights. 

For some amateurs there is sponsorship which can provide some lucrative payment for their fights but this form of payment is rare and in most cases amatuer MMA fighters are never paid.

One of the main reasons why ametur fighters do not get paid is to protect them from fighting professional MMA fighters. Generally professional fighters are much more skilled and have a lot more experience.

Is MMA A Good Career? – Final Thoughts

In most cases MMA is not a good career path, the pay is low and the risk of injury is high. Add the fact that the career is short (10 years max) and you will need at least 5 years of training before you can even consider becoming professional, then it is definitely not a good career choice.

However, if becoming an MMA fighter is your dream and you are not going to give up then keep training hard and building up your fighting resume and you might just get lucky. I have my fingers crossed for you.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

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