Thursday, March 1, 2007

"The Fight Professor" : So You Want to "Work" in MMA?

By Stephen Quadros

The idea of this blog is open ended to some degree. Sometimes I will talk about the IFL, sometimes the UFC, sometimes music, sometimes food, sometimes women, sometimes career ascent, sometimes training, sometimes I will interview a fighter or a personality or sometimes I will just go off on a rant. It’s all good.

I get a lot of e-mails and messages through my website and MySpace account asking how to be a ring girl, how to make your MMA debut as a main event on a pay-per-view, or just how to be employed in the MMA biz.

Before I offer a few ideas about how to accomplish any of these things (especially the latter item), allow me to start off in an attempt to ground this discussion in something ever so slightly resembling "reality" (by reality, I mean everyday opposed to a scripted TV show where non-actors scream at each other, embarrass themselves and generally act badly).

A few years ago a magazine publisher once told me a joke that went something like this:

Question: How do you make a small fortune in MMA?
Answer: Start with a large fortune.

Of course this was pre-Ultimate Fighter and the “joke” no longer holds water. Now, it is theoretically possible to make money in the game. And the more specific you can be in defining the job you wish to hold, the better your chances are of achieving success.

“I’ll do anything” doesn’t really cut it here.

Since the success of Spike TV’s reality TV show “The Ultimate Fighter”, we have seen a gold rush of people wanting to jump on the bandwagon and become promoters, managers, clothing line manufacturers, etc. It seems that MMA events are popping up everywhere. But the casualty list and attrition ratio will also detail how for every hit there will be a miss (or two, or three, or…).

A person turns on their TV and watches the IFL, UFC or another fight show and thinks to themselves, “Hey, I want to be involved. I want to work in the MMA business.” But this is like watching a movie in the theaters or a rock band on MTV. People see the glory but don’t realize there is a lot of sacrifice involved.

Even then, you have to remember that not everybody ‘makes it.’

If you are entry level and are pursuing a job in the fight game and your sole qualification is that you enjoy watching people violently pummel and choke each other, then you must resign yourself to toiling for little or no financial compensation until you, by chance, land in that dream position.

Since people who become fighters are a relatively exclusive (albeit adventuresome) few, most people want the rewards without having the physical risk.

Fighters get paid a lot because they put themselves in harm’s way for our entertainment. They should be compensated handsomely. I’ve always said that the two hardest jobs in the fight biz are being a fighter and being a referee. Maybe that’s why those are the jobs that have the fewest applicants.

So if you must pursue this game as a vocation, get an education, develop real personal skills, don’t be a kiss-ass or a backstabber (even though it appears that those types momentarily get ahead at times).

Be specific as to what role you will play, then take a number and be prepared to wait. Life isn’t fair sometimes, and the fight game is even worse. Like the acting and music businesses, there are no guarantees.

Now to be a ring girl…aww, that’s easy. Just be hot, stay in shape, and send me your pictures. No guarantees, of course.

Take care,


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