MMA Promotions – Navigate the wild west to get your worth

So MMA promotions are organisations and companies that set up fight events and martial arts competitions around the world, to ideally make as much money as possible for all concerned. All concerned should include fighters, the fight promotion owners and everyone in between, but it’s the wild west in the world of MMA, not as bad as it used to be, but basically someone will take your lunch money if you don’t stay on your ps and qs especially as a fighter getting in there and competing.

Well it’s the all concerned part that causes me to write this post, because at the end of the day if a young fighter does not understand how the industry works they can find themselves on a slippery slope getting exploited by promoters and/or poor management resulting in the fighter getting brutally under paid.

Fighters who are smart, those who can navigate the wild west of the world of MMA though end up making a huge amount of money, none more so than the notorious Conor McGregor as the pinnacle example.

I say wild west because because rules of how fighters get signed, how legally binding the contracts are, how many fights will be guaranteed and what money will be guaranteed to fighters can be as lawless as the wild west at times, especially in MMAs infancy back in the 90s.

I just want to highlight a few points around MMA promotions to be aware of for all up and coming fighters out there – because I want all up and coming fighters to have the best chances to make as much status, legend and money as possible from the incredibly short career of MMA.

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Who are the biggest players?

If you’re talking who is the biggest MMA promotion in the world then it really is the UFC, in terms of revenue and market share etc, well at least in the western world anyway. Because in Asia it has to be said that ONE Championships and RIZIN are the largest in that region, while Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB), M-1 Global, KSW and Fight Network Global (FNG) have big followings in Russia and Eastern Europe.

But outside of the UFC, Bellator has long been considered a second to the UFC, maybe not a close second but second nonetheless. UFC in all honesty does have around 80-90% of the world best fighters, with Bellator, ONE and a few others picking up the scraps left. Those are the big three though for me generally speaking, so realistically they are the promotions that for the most part will pay you the most money for your MMA fighter services as an independent contractor.

Then below the Bellator/ONE level you have what I like to call the regional circuit level of MMA promotions, now these promotions of course will not be paying the most money for your fight services and your level of competition may not be that high.

But never forget that these promotions are invaluable for emerging fighters to build a viable MMA record before reaching the big shows.

Don’t forget that you should never learn to run before you have learnt to walk, so when your up and coming don’t feel like you have to desperately rush to the UFC because your 6-0 or something, make sure you are seasoned first, that you have developed sufficient cage craft and experience – I have seen many a young fighter destroy their career purely by rushing to the big leagues too early.

Respect the small promotions and ride as many fights as you can with them before your skillset, your natural physical knowledge and thirst for higher levels of competition becomes clear for all to see and then take the step up –

Some other regional MMA promotions you may have heard of are: Invicta FC, Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA), Cage Warriors, WFCA, Pancrase, Deep and Road FC.

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A wild west boss getting money and kicking ass

Always know your worth, do not let any MMA promoter, managers or coaches take you for a ride. What I mean by take you for a ride is promising you the world but not delivering and essentially try to financially rob you too.

Make sure there is no uncertainty, get everything in writing and do not sign anything until you know for certain what guaranteed amount of money you get for making weight, showing up to the event and of course the win bonus.

Make sure you always factor travel, training costs and food/supplements into negotiations with MMA promotions where possible, because this has fcuked many fighters before who “miscalculate” training costs and end up falling out with coaches/leaving gyms etc.

Also your bills, and taxes (especially if you are travelling to a fight across two different tax nations) make sure you factor in all the exact costings of everything, because again many fighters have gotten into extreme debt all down to not being smart enough about bills and taxes.

And last but not least, always know your worth, don’t fight for less then you value yourself, that is what victims do and you are a boss of the wild west of the world of MMA here – if need be after a few fights with an MMA promotion, you can even use the tv ratings/tickets sales that you draw to your advantage for negotiations to maximize your financial gains from each fight.

Anyway that’s just a few words I feel is important to pay attention to when your a young fighter coming up, but as always stay tuned for more from the world of MMA right here at the MMAGateway.

See you in a little bit!

Marley Dawkins

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