T Nation

Getting Sponsors (as an Amature)

So I’d really like to start taking this MMA thing more seriously.

I’m setup for my second MMA fight (probably won’t do much kick-boxing in the short-term, will still do grappling comp) in August.

I have no illusions about supporting myself doing this, but it’d be great if it wasn’t just a huge money pit.

The promotion will basically give me all the tickets I want, and I get a cut of my sales (10-15% I think).

I’ve had a couple ammy-friends who were able to grab some sponsors, and some who started in this same promotion and have been able to make a couple grand per fight from ticket sales.

I’m looking for non-training fighter advice here, both on promoting oneself and selling tickets, and about how to approach businesses for sponsorship, and what would be reasonable for an amateur fighter to do/expect.

The ammy fighters I’ve known who’ve done this ended up putting patches on their fight shorts and the like, but they weren’t comfortable telling me what kind of compensation they got.

Tactics, ideas, strategies much appreciated.

Your buddies are making a couple GRAND from ticket sales as an amateur?

as far as selling tickets, my friend promoted his fight using craigslist, and dropping off cards
at the local gyms, pizza & wing places etc. also see if you can do an interview for small college radio stations or hold a free lesson. he also did a free t shirt with the purchase of 6 or more tickets. theres many ways to promote, use your head and your resources and you will figure it out

[quote]Defekt wrote:
Your buddies are making a couple GRAND from ticket sales as an amateur?[/quote]

Okay, over a grand. Not a couple grand.

He was a state wrestling champ, his dad owns a gym, exe… so already had kind of a following. He sold something like 8k in tickets.

I don’t expect to make that much, but would like advice on promoting oneself as a fighter. Beyond work and the gym, selling strategies.

And really, I’m more interested in tactics for picking up sponsors, and what a typical/reasonable sponsor “deal” would be for an ammy fighter, as I’ve got a few small businesses that might be interested, but we don’t have a sense about how this stuff works, what’s reasonable, exe.

Something like $100 to throw a patch on the fight shorts is what a friend of mine did awhile ago. I just have no clue.

Will your gym(s) or dojo sponsor you? Have you tried local health food or supplement stores? To me, you want to start with places like that… something that might benefit most easily from the tie-in to sports. Just from watching the UFC, Strikeforce and others, local tattoo parlors also seem willing to help a guy out as many fighters and fans are inked. As for compensation, that seems to be predicated on a few things: 1)Are you any good? No one wants to have people think “That guy goes to X and he got hammered. Maybe I’ll go somewhere else.” Have a resume to show sponsors. 2)What expenses are you wanting to offset? Just need new gloves? A mouthpiece? Supplements for training camp? Training fees? Have a budget to show potential sponsors.

In short, you’re going in to a business meeting as your own promoter/manager. Be able to sell yourself on your high points. Even if it’s your first MMA fight, perhaps you can point to success in your kickboxing for submission events. Then explain how this would translate. Don’t be afraid to throw in your tickets to sweeten the deal… you’re trying to build a relationship beyond a one fight deal I assume. Or, just let me be your manager. :slight_smile: This is basically how it’s done with racing sponsors. Have a budget and a request in mind. It’s easier for the sponsor if you can break down a list and let them pick too.

SRT08’s itemized list is a great idea. Nunez has the right idea it’s basically about how much you’re willing to hustle. You have to be your own manager, publicist, media consultant, etc. If you’ve been networking properly you probably have a few people in mind that you plan to ask. This is why you see so many guys getting sponsored by clinics or strip clubs, they’re sponsored by their friends.

Become vicious about your video footage. As a fighter you’re also an entertainer so like an entertainer you should control your content as much as possible. Any ammy competitions (grappling, wrestling, kickboxing, etc) are basically an opportunity to showcase your skills, so get it on video and save it. It’s like an internship before they pay you for being good at your job. Start recording as much as possible. Even some open mat and sparring sessions, etc. Moments of brilliance tend to happen spontaneously… a good highlight reel will do WONDERS for your ability to get sponsors and fans.

Like your buddy who already had a wrestling following you must create a buzz. You don’t have to launch a crazy media campaign and get a million twitter followers and shit (though that helps and will be an important step much later), but within your own community and network people should be checking to see when you’ll fight.

What I am NOT saying is that you should be a popular, huge personality type of guy. Not everyone’s Christian Hosoi or Floyd Mayweather, but if you have a facebook there’s no reason that anyone within 50-100miles of you SHOULDN"T be at your fight. Otherwise start repairing relationships with people lol. Don’t burn bridges. Winning is everything but people have to WANT to see you fight (even if they want to see you get your ass kicked).

Yeah, when I was making my first ‘attempt’ and putting a package together, I realized how little media I have of me training or fighting.