Are you a grappler wondering how to get into the UFC? Already, you know that grappling can pay your bills. All you need now is to enroll for UFC fight club membership.
Do you know that you do not require participation in a draft league to get a UFC sign-up opportunity? Let us discuss how to get a UFC contract.
What is the UFC?
UFC is the initials for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It is an American-based promotion company for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Zuffa, LLC owns and operates UFC. Globally, UFC is the largest MMA company that manages some of the highest-level grapplers.
UFC events happen and stream globally to millions of viewers. As of 2020, UFC hosted over 500 events.
The UFC events consist of 12 weight divisions. Eight divisions involve men, while the other four are exclusively for women. Additionally, these events employ the Martial Arts Unified Rules.
Currently, Dana White leads UFC as its president. She has held the post since 2001 and has steered the company to become a multibillion-dollar entity.
Art Davie, a business executive, and Rorion Gracie, a Brazilian martial artist, are the founders of UFC.
After its establishment, the company held its first event in 1993 in Denver, Colorado, at McNichols Sports Arena. The company’s early events had sought to identify high-level martial arts with no weight classes and few rules. So, fighters participated in different fighting disciplines.
Over time, UFC came up with rigorous rules that allowed fighters to adopt styles from different martial art disciplines. That was the birth point of mixed martial arts.
In 2016, Endeavor Group Holdings acquired Zuffa, LLC at $4.025 billion. Endeavor also bought the rest of Zuffa’s owners in 2021 at $1.7 billion.
UFC’s growth is on the rise. The company operates in the United States, Australia, Europe, and Asia. Its mainstream media coverage also continues to grow. In 2015, the company’s revenue was $609 million. The company also had a five-year contract with ESPN valued at $1.5 billion.
How to Get Into the UFC?
People like Randy Couture and Anderson Silva winning UFC tournaments follow a specific procedure to get to that level. So let us explore the steps on how to become a UFC fighter.
Train as a Fighter
You cannot wake up and find yourself on the list of UFC staff. You have to train as a fighter first. Your body should become tolerant. So, it is a growing path that involves the following activities:
Getting in Shape
UFC fighting is a mixture of martial arts. It tests the fighter’s aerobic endurance, willpower, strength, and agility.
Ultimate fighters are all-around athletes. So, you have to get in shape before jumping into a ring for a fight.
What do you need to do? First, lose fat and build muscles. You do not require to diet and lose weight. Instead, seek to build bulk and become strong. So, you have to lift weights and get into aerobics to achieve this objective. Both exercises require a healthy routine. Also, you can work out from home. Some of the exercises you need are running, stretching, push-ups, and sit-ups.
Learning to Box
Ultimate fighters employ almost all fighting techniques, including boxing. You can learn how to box at any age. It is one of the most straightforward fighting techniques to learn. So, learn how to throw punches and defend yourself in a boxing ring.
Learning Mat Wrestling
If you are lucky to have a wrestling club at school, it is a good starting point for learning mat wrestling. If you are already out of school, find a wrestling club and join it. The move will help you learn amateur wrestling fundamentals. It will also make you strong, build your mat skills, and develop endurance. Mat wrestling also keeps your weight in check.
Learning Martial Arts
If you have Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) beginner skills and mat wrestling skills, you can go ahead and learn more basics for progress. You can also start from the lowest level and work your way up. To become an ultimate fighter, you should understand the following:
- Kung-fu and Karate: These two martial arts help you make accurate kicks.
- Judo: If you want to throw your opponent to the ground, learning Judo will give you the skills you need.
- Brazilian Ju-Jitsu (BJJ): Most successful study BJJ to advance their mat fighting.
- Muay-Thai: This fighting technique improves your elbow and knee kicks. It also goes by the name the Art of Eight Limbs.
Looking for an MMA Gym
You need more than a couple of martial arts skills to excess in cage fights. So, train with other MMA fighters in a local gym. The move will help you combine your MMA skills during a fight. It will also help you develop more skills. Going to an MMA gym helps you work with people that share your vision.
Experience is what can make you excel in UFC fights. It is what sets you apart from other fighters. So, do all that you can do to garner maximum experience. How do you go about it?
Develop and Specialize Your Style
You can become a street fighter, ultimate fighter, mat wrestler, or technical boxer. To find out, test the technique that you can execute naturally. Remember, all styles employ a mixture of martial arts. However, specialization gives you a unique tactic that you can use against your opponent.
Your preferred fighting style develops from the MMA styles that you know. If you want to hone your wrestling style, focus on mat wrestling. However, you also have to improve your boxing skills to become a rounded fighter. On the other hand, boxers can learn the Brazilian style to up their game.
Know Your Weight Class
UFC fighting calls for one to know their weight class and compete in it. After identifying it, you have to work towards maintaining it. So, you have to observe an appropriate dietary routine that will keep you in your weight class. The following are the UFC and MMA weight classes:
- Heavyweight: 206 to 265 pounds (93 to 120 kilograms)
- Light heavyweight: 186 to 205 pounds (84 to 93 kilograms)
- Middleweight: 171 to 185 pounds (78 to 84 kilograms)
- Welterweight: 156 to 170 pounds (71 to 77 kilograms)
- Lightweight: 146 to 155 pounds (66 to 70 kilograms)
- Featherweight: 136 to 145 pounds (62 to 66 kilograms)
- Bantamweight: 126 to 135 pounds (57 to 61 kilograms)
Once you feel confident enough to fight, ask your trainer to connect you with a local fighter. This is the chance to have a feel of MMA fights. If all goes well, keep fighting in line with your training schedule.
However, fight with individuals with your level of training. Avoid shark-fish fights. These fights are between experienced and inexperienced fighters. One of the disadvantages of these fights is that they can discourage you from fighting.
Develop a Mental Game
Never count your wins and losses. Instead, focus on your future fights. It is hard not to gauge your progress. However, keep it at a minimum. The move helps you to adopt progressive learning. Remember, your last winning technique can fail in your next match. So, never feel too comfortable after bagging several wins. Instead, aim at getting better at all times.
Training should never stop. It helps you learn new skills and practice the ones you have. You should also collaborate with experienced fighters during your training sessions. They will tell you the areas that you require to improve. They will also show you tips on how to pull out some techniques efficiently and effectively.
This is the step that involves a UFC signing-up decision. You are now a trained fighter looking for value addition. Where do you begin?
Initiate your Online Presence
It is time to tell the world that you are an amateur fighter. It is a level you should pride in, given the number of resources you mobilized to get there. So, the online community should know it. It is a perfect marketing strategy.
Also, you have to attend UFC fights. Make yourself known in the arena, join message boards, and be active within the grappling community. In other words, your life should revolve around MMA.
You can opt to join the Fight Network or Tapology. These two platforms are resourceful to MMA fans and fighters. They help their members to learn and interact. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are some social media platforms that can showcase your fights. Your fans and promoters can also reach you out via the platforms.
After building a good record and reputation, seek credible companies to manage your sports affairs. Some of these companies include Made to Win and Fight Tribe. If you can negotiate a deal with them successfully, it is a milestone to your grappling career.
Remember, companies that manage fighters favor the winners. So, your role is to keep on winning, especially against strong opponents. Remember, these companies want to profit from your deal.
Stand Out From the Rest
To make a statement within the fighting arena, you require an entertaining and flamboyant persona. You can opt to look shiny with clanging chains or have a colored Mohawk. The crowd wants to get entertained and believe in your power to do the unthinkable. So, do not look simple and laid back.
However, do not let looking complicated distract you from training. You can also opt to push for unique fighting styles. The crowd will love you for that. Also, do not outdo your character. A unique nickname can still set you apart successfully.
Go for UFC Tryouts
An ultimate fighter has to go for UFC tryouts. Post your proposal to the club representatives and ask them to allow you to attend their fights. Also, keep in touch with them to let them know your interests. Remember, the UFC operates similarly to an exclusive club. It has to invite you and not the other way round. However, sending a membership proposal can also work.
You can also apply to The Ultimate Fighter reality show. It has annual tryouts in a quest to get fighters into the UFC. However, sometimes the show can limit fighters to a specific weight class or region. The move aligns with the prevailing theme of the show. So, keep checking whether you can qualify as you continue to improve your fights.
Is it Hard to Get Into the UFC?
How hard is it to get into the UFC? But, it is easy to do so. If you have competed in light fights, apply for UFC membership the way you apply for a job. You can also apply to TV shows, such as the ones that Dana White hosts.
If you get picked for a reality show, you will get a chance to showcase your skills in front of thousands of viewers. But, of course, there is no guarantee that the host will pick you up for a fight. Nevertheless, it is worth trying.
UFC can also pick you up after participating in feeder leagues. These leagues resemble small MMA organizations that partner with UFC. Fighting in these leagues increases your chances of getting a UFC fighting opportunity.
The Invicta Fighting Championships is an all-women feeder league MMA organization that has already partnered with UFC. As a result, it has provided UFC with some of the current best fighters. Combate Americans is another example of a feeder leagues organization. It gives opportunities to Latin and Hispanic Americans to join UFC.
Sometimes, connections can give you a chance to join UFC. Of course, it takes an inside job for associations to work. But someone inside UFC can link you up with a fighting opportunity there. So, it is not rare to find friends and families that are UFC fighters.
For connections to last for a long time, merits count. Sometimes, terrible fighters join UFC only for the organization to drop them after a short while. So, regardless of whether you know someone within UFC, you must have impeccable skills to thrive within the organization.
If you want connections to UFC, train in a gym with UFC fighters. The move will connect with fighters that can lead to your absorption in the organization.
Before you land the opportunity to join UFC, keep your hope alive and continue practicing. Remember, the organization is always on the lookout for good fighters. So, its prospects are endless.
You also need to remain visible online. So, come up with something that will keep people glued to your persona. Even though your chance may delay, always have your best foot forwards until you achieve your dream of joining UFC.
How Long are UFC Careers?
The retirement age of UFC fighters can best describe how long careers last in the company. Most fighters retire at an age between 35 to 45 years.
Some fighters find it hard to retire. So, they go past their retirement age due to various reasons. Some stick around because of the promising income they make, while others refuse to retire after losing and continue pursuing a win.
Is there a risk for fighters that retire past their retirement age? Fighters who prolong their career in UFC cannot keep up with young fighters. So, their probability of losing is high.
Physicians and MMA experts advise UFC fighters to retire when their time falls due. Better still, they should retire early. The sport poses a risk to the fighters’ health because of the kicks and blows. So, retiring early is a viable option. The injuries are sometimes invisible, but they have long-term detrimental effects.
Even though fighters should retire early, some show endurance and retire at old age. The following are some of the fighters that still stayed in UFC at old age:
- Randy Couture (United States): 45 Years
- Anderson Silva (Brazil): 45 Years
- Maurice Smith (United States): 52 Years
- Shane Carwin (United States): 45 Years
- Pat Miletich (United States): 40 Years
On average, MMA career fighting lasts for 12.5 years. During this time, fighters participate in 35 fights. So, they fight 2.8 times every year. Also, fighters retire at 45 years of age.
Some of the fighters that had the longest career in MMA fighting are Dan Henderson and Mirko Crop Cop. Each fought for 19 years. On the other hand, Bas Rutten and Royce Gracie fought for seven and eight years, respectively. So the two are some of the fighters that had short MMA careers.
Other MMA fighters are half-committed. They do not fight over five fights. Also, they retire after several losses.
Do you know the nine-year MMA rule? Studies show that MMA fighters’ performance declines after nine years of active fighting. The fighters get to the prime of their career after four years. So, their heydays last for five years.
So, there is no guarantee that a young fighter will last long in their fighting career. The rule is that a fighter’s performance will decline in the ninth year. So, a fighter should consider retiring after that period. However, there are some rare exceptions. Some fighters tend to break the record and perform well after their ninth year.
Injuries can force you to retire from MMA fighting. They include feet and shoulder injuries and torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Often, these injuries occur in the gym during exhausting training. Dominick Cruz and Canin Velasques are some of the fighters that retired because of the said injuries.
Your fighting style also dictates your retirement age. It also determines your fighting frequency. Brawlers tend to suffer injuries that take time to heal. Therefore, such fighters take up few fights compared to wrestlers that take their opponent from a distance. Also, fighters from light divisions pick more fights than their peers in the heavy divisions.
It is also worth noting that champions usually have a hard time in the ring than contenders. Champions fight five, five-minute rounds. On the other hand, contenders only go for three rounds. Training for the five rounds is also a daunting task. This is why it is rare to see a champion defending their title twice a year.
How to Get on Dana White’s Contender Series
Use www.talentbid.com/ufc when making an application to Dana White’s contender series. It is a website that works in partnership with UFC. Its overall objective is to connect fighters with UFC officials.
Besides being a hosting site, the platform can build and manage your profile. All you need to send is your fight history, photos, videos, metrics, and a story.
After creating your profile, you can log in to see how many people have viewed it. You can also share your real-time health status, social media pages, fighting availability, and any other information that can improve your MMA career.
Talentbid platform is a global online job marketplace. The platform works directly with athletes, actors, talent management companies, and agencies in the entertainment industry. It seeks to give its clients the best opportunities in their respective fields.
Importantly, this website targets amateur and pro fighters who seek to grow their MMA brand globally. It provides them with offline and online tools for their global visibility. Also, the platform has direct contact with UFC.
Thousands of fighters aspire to join UFC. This is one of the driving forces that the Talenbid platform employs. If you create a profile and make your application, you are on your way to getting on the Dana White’s Contender Series.
How Much Money do UFC Fighters Make?
Now that you know how to work for UFC, how much will you make? One thing is true: you can make enough to pay your bills and live comfortably. Besides your pay, you can get good incentives to keep you going. However, no two UFC players get the same income. The compensation varies from one fighter to another.
When you sign in UFC, you get a contract stating the amount you will be getting for every fight. You also get a guaranteed number of fights in stipulated duration. Some fighters earn a four-figure salary, while others allege to get a six-figure salary per every fight. Your pedigree, investment, predictions, and experience inside and outside UFC determines your pay.
After every win in the cage, you are eligible for specified bonuses. Conventionally, there were two types of pay: performance of the night (PotN) and fight of the night (FotN). These two awards gave a fighter a four- or five-figure merit bonus.
Since 2014, a fighter gets a $50,000 standard amount as a bonus on top of their agreed award. A fighter that loses still receives the amount, which is more than the agreed amount. In February 2021, UFC 258 gave out four PotN bonuses but no FotN awards. The move signaled a shift in the fighter compensation.
Sometimes, Dana White pays out for the fights he likes without considering the PotN and FotN classification of awards. At one point, he claimed to pay between $10,000 and $25,000 for the fights that stand out from any that he usually watches. His move to reward merits makes UFC compensation further complicated.
According to White, UFC paid bonuses valued at $13 million in 2020. $4.6 million out of the total payment was the said impulsive bonuses. When divided among all fighters, each fighter takes about $5,000 in each fight per year.
Regarding the contracts, they represent the marketability of a fighter to the company in terms of Pay-Per-Views sales. In addition, some fighters get a base pay of around $80,000.
If a UFC fighter signs a contract with a sponsor, it has a distinct base pay and bonus agreement. Fighters with high prestige also get high compensation from their sponsor.
In 2020, McGregor made $48 million, and he was among Forbes’ highest-paid athletes globally. However, he earned less than $4 million from UFC fights. Sometimes, fighters get paid to have a sponsor logo on their fighting gear.
In 2020, the average income of each UFC fighter was $48,000. Each of their fights lasted for five minutes. Also, each fight had three or five rounds. Lastly, each fighter had to participate in three fights every year. Therefore, their pay was one of the highest athletic compensations in the world.
The high income that UFC fighters generate is commensurate with their grueling training. Also, the fighters sometimes get injured, and they have to self-sacrifice for months. The fighters also work in locked cages while facing an equal opponent. So, they deserve every penny they get because of their hard toil and fearlessness.
It is hard to tell the exact figure you can make after becoming a UFC fighter. However, you will earn a decent income that is worth your toil.
The Bottom Line
Becoming a UFC fighter is not futile. You can make a career out of it. Besides the hefty amounts of money that you can make, you will realize the following benefits:
- Improved stress management: Grappling is a sport that takes much of your time away. It can also boost your mental health because of the associated aerobics.
- Improved self-esteem: UFC fights help you realize your value. In return, you feel confident because you are more intelligent than other people, especially physically.
- Reduced risk of stroke and heart diseases: Medical experts recommend you to have 30 minutes of exercise to avoid stroke and heart diseases. As a UFC fighter, you exceed the recommended time making you less prone to the said health conditions.
- Improved social interaction: UFC fighting gives you a strong community sense. You make friends and have fans that make you their center of attention.
- Improved problem-solving and critical thinking skills: When fighting, you have to strategize to beat your opponent. You get into a survival mode that improves your critical thinking and problem-solving skills.