T Nation

Quit Work to Pursue MMA


OK I just needed somewhere to write down my thoughts on some recent decisions I made.

I have quit my job, which I only had five hours a day at and will be trying to get by on one and three quater hours work a day.

I can't make classes because I get there too late, which means I miss the technique class of the day and never progress.

Work has also meant that I can not make training at all for months.

I just know that I want to do nothing but fight and while I suck and have nearly no experience I am going to put everything into it.

I have talked to my boss and will be handing in my months notice on Monday.

Has anyone else done this and do you have any advice to someone looking to make a living out of competing?

I am not athletic or explosive but I am determined and want it so bad. I am going to start up a log on here and having some of the experienced guys drop in and offer constructive criticism/advice will be very helpful.


Could be a great decision could be one of the worst ones of your life. I obviously don't know your current situation but as an adult male with responsibilities working only 5 hours a day is pretty shitty. Now that you have virtually 0 source of income i hope you have someone to fall back on. And just remember there is no money in fighting


What exactly does "Nearly no experience" mean?

Have you ever fought before?

My initial reaction is that this reeks of an immature attitude that is making you make some awful life choices, but I'm reserving judgement until you elaborate.


From the information you posted:

No disrespect, but, have you really thought this through?

How are you going to pay for the trainer and gym fees?

How are you going to make a car payment or buy food? (unless you are wealthy)

Do you have a martial arts base of any kind?

Do you have any amateur experience?

What experience do you have in wrestling, BJJ, boxing, MT?

Everyone should have the right to achieve their dreams, but, you really need to provide more on your background, other than "you suck"

Ranzo has a training log here, fights and works a fulltime job, read all he goes through to compete.

The worst aspect (to me) is whether you have any amateur fights. If you dont, then starting out as a professional is not a solid tactical plan for success.

if you decide to follow through on your plan, then start a log here, there are plenty of qualified people to help you, but, man, you need to really think about this.


"Work has also meant that I can not make training at all for months." You are working 5 hours a day and that's cutting into your training? While my friend is not professional fighter, he does compete at a pretty competitive level and takes it very seriously, he also goes to school full-time and works about 4-5 hours every day.

"Has anyone else done this and do you have any advice to someone looking to make a living out of competing?" - I am not sure if you realize this but it is very hard to get paid to fight and make a significant income from it. Just like any other sport. Not generally something that you get just by dropping work in your life to train more. You also mentioned you have no experience, at which point I would highly recommend you to reconsider since you can gain a lot of experience with a full time job. Until you do well in a few amateur fights or tournaments and people are offering for you to fight full-time, I really don't see the need for dropping a job.


Hey everyone. First of all thank you for the very honest and open answers. I really was looking for real advice so don't think I do not appreciate them.

To really put across my point of view I have to write a rambling bunch of shit, so sorry in advance.

Basically in high school I dealt with a lot of shit, I am not looking for sympathy here. Anyway this lead me to getting in with the wrong crowd, drugs etc, the typical teenager hard times cliche.

I ended up being expelled, no qualifications, criminal record all the dumb shit dumb kids with no sort of guidance can get caught up in.

A few years ago I decided I needed to change, I started looking for work, I could only find minimum wage, low hour jobs but I took it. Started working so I could pay my mother some rent. Stopped hanging out with old firends to avoid trouble, which left me really isolated and depressed. I was pretty suicidal for awhile there.

Anyway, basically I stumbled upon MMA while on the computer and instantly fell in love with it.

Joined an MMA school and would go as many hours as I could go, for the first time in literally 5 years I was happy, doing something positive and not sat around hating life.
The problem is, because I work till 5 and don't get into town until 6-6:30 depending on which train I can catch, if they make me work somewhere far away, I can never make training for the beginners class in either muay thai or grappling, which means I never get better. Alot of the time I can't make it at all because I am working 2 hours at night and if they decide I am across town for a month working there, I can not train for a month.

I am 20, have no responsibilities other than paying rent. I can easily cover rent, gym fees and train fare with the one and three quarter hours training a day. I can always get more work doing some manual labour minimum wage job if this does not work out.

MMA is the only thing in my life I have any passion for, I don't drink anymore because I can not do it in moderation, I don't drink or smoke, I am a quiet guy and just hang around with a few friends so I don't spend money on anything other than training and train fare other than rent and some food.

I have not had any amateur fights and I have barely had any consistent training at all in grappling or stand up. Not because I lack dedication but because I am doing some shitty 2 hour job in the evening that stops me doing this.

I am willing to be broke while I only have such low work hours, I will be looking for more work with the company I work for, but a few hours in the morning as opposed to at night.
I have no loans, no money needed to spend on a wife or kids and I don't buy expensive clothes or anything that is financially draining.

I have some money saved away for driving lessons and a car that I will hopefully get soon so really, I can't see any problem with doing this other than generally being broke, but I am anyway.

Basically I don't want to quit at everything, I want to do this more than anything and even if I only had a few amateur fights and I was not good enough to take it any further, I won't regret giving up a few hours of work a day extra to of pursued it.

I will be on the lookout for work that lets me train and work, which will also be much easier once I am driving.

I know I probably sound like an immature kid and I probably am immature, but I really want this and I know I can make something of myself.


Hey man, thanks for replying.

Yeah it isn't the work is too much, it is that the hours I have to work for the job are making it impossible for me to get to training for the first hour, which means all the technique work. Which means I never progress at all.


Like the guys above, I can't help but feel this is an extraordinarily poor decision.

I had a lot of amateur fights, and was offered the chance to go pro by a well known promoter. Had I accepted the offer, I would definitely have needed to hold down a full time job on top to be able to afford to be a pro fighter.

Two things to bare in mind:

  1. The pro fight game is a very different beast to the amateurs. It can be easily adjusted to if you have a good amateur background, and good people around you.

  2. A lot of amateurs aren't well suited to the pro game. Either because they aren't good enough (and people underestimate how good you need to be just to be a shitty pro), or because they don't have the right attributes (the pros is much more of a hurt game than the amateurs is).

Both of the above assume a high level of ability an experience. If you have no amateur experience, you have really fucked up badly. How will you eat, pay rent, pay gym fees, afford new kit, travel to competitions and all the other shit that you need to do just to get by?

I don't have any clue how old you are, but if you're one of the guys in the picture, you look pretty old to be starting to take this seriously. You look about the age where you should be a contender if you're going anywhere in a sport.


Not much I can add, but I think you should consider the fact that still at this day not even all the lower tier fighters quit their day jobs for training. If your work schedule sucks maybe you should look in to applying for another job that has working hours that would leave you with time for training multiple hours a day or look for gyms that have more comfortable schedule? Do you have a good insurance, what if you blow your knee or something and are forced to sit without fights for like a year and hardly have a job, how are you planning on paying for the surgeries, rehab, food, rent, etc?

Pursuing your dreams is fucking awesome, but you should do a good reality check before jumping head first in to the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. Only so many people make any kind of living doing this stuff, with nearly no experience best case scenario it'll only take you 2-3 years to start making enough to cover something more than your gym fees, food, gas, insurance etc. In all honesty you probably won't be training for more than average of like 3 hours a day, plus maybe like 1-2hrs for commuting etc. Say you get in good 9 hours of sleep a day for recovery and you still have 10 hours of the day in your hands. If you work 5 hours a day there is still plenty good time to shop for groceries, cook and all the shit that comes with training hard and at least you have to money to pay for your food. If you really are so in to this and so determined to make this shit work there is no need to quit a normal day job, by simply learning to organize your daily schedule and manage your time better you can definitely squeeze in all the fight training and work, lots of people do it all the time and before you know you can get decent money out of your fights I'd suggest you don't do anything stupid you will regret in few months when you are out of money and living under the bridge.


Your post hadn't shown up when I commented, so I will adjust what I said slightly (but only slightly).

Good on you for turning things around. MAs can offer a very positive environment for people struggling with mistakes made in the past. That said, it sounds like you've already made a major change in your life for the better. That deserves respect. It does sound like you have got yourself on a good path. I just question whether you shouldn't make the most of it by trying to find work that you can commit to with the same enthusiasm as you have clearly done for MMA.

Never be afraid of packing in your job - there's no point being on a treadmill to the grave. But for fucks sake don't quit everything and chance all your progress on you getting anywhere at all with MMA. It will take you 2-3 years to achieve any kind of ability. Think where you could be in your life in that time if you threw yourself into working a job you had opportunities with.

Again, good on you for your progress, but at 20, you should already be a contender if MMA is going to do anything at all for you financially. Are you really going to give up 3 years of your life to just get a few amateur fights? For someone that has seemingly made a lot of good decisions recently, it sounds like you've screwed the pooch with this latest logic.


I believe when you are old and grey, if you stayed at work and never took your opportunity you would regret it more than taking the chance to live the lifestyle you dream of.

I urge you to always remeber the sacrifice you have made. To deny yourself financial stability, a comfortable lifestyle and an ordinary social life- you must compensate yourself by giving absolutely everything you can in this small window of time.

Good luck & beat wishes


First of all please understand this is just my opinion, based of some similar experiences but an opinion none the less, there are few hard facts in life. Basically my advice still doesn't change, not pursuing full-time work you'll be handicapping yourself (this is made even worse by the fact of your record and no qualifications). Can't make it to the beginners class? Ask people from the classes that you can make to work with you a bit or find a gym with a different schedule that fits your own (MMA is pretty popular that the gyms are plentiful). I use to come in on weekends and work with another guy that was in my class, those extra sessions helped immensely and the two of us improves at MUCH faster rate than anyone else in the class.

Understand that it is VERY difficult to make it in MMA where you are making a full-time salary just from fighting. I know a good number of people that compete (both amateur and professional) and ALL of them have jobs. Most of the people fighting professionally work in the gyms doing strength and fitness and MMA classes. Their salaries are all from their jobs with an insignificant amount coming from their fighting.

Dropping any aspirations of a career/job in favor of just spending all your time training is just not a smart move. For one to get better at your level that is just not required and like most have mentioned even many of the pros have full-time jobs. Two you'll be wasting time to further your education/career in something, even in your situation you have a LOT of options for a career.

My main point is that you CAN have it all. Working on a career/education and training without having to sacrifice one or the other. Working minimum wage jobs all your life is a crappy way to go through it.


Please consider the following: To actually make good money in MMA, you have to be a prodigy before you turn 25. The chances for this are so slim you might as well start gambling. The real issue is that you need to find a job that you like, with working hours that allow you to train. Do not do what you intend to do.


Unless you are very talented or have a great body feel from past activities like professional dancing or gymnastics I'd say your chances to become a pro are zero.

First of all you have to quit your attitude towards work.
Why are you not pursuing an apprenticeship or an education to get a better workplace?
Why are you happy with working small time jobs and considering yourself free from all responsibilities at age 20?

Let's assume fighting as a pro in MMA is your main goal, but you MUST have something to pursue with the hours left you don't spend with hitting your homemade heavy bag, going to the classes, sparring in your backyard, shadow-kickboxing and GPP.
This "something" should be work.

If I was you I'd do the following:
1.) Get myself more than one part time job and make blue collar money in between with whatever additional work I could take.
2.) Keep an eye on educational options and eventually save enough money to pursue an education that gets you a better job so you can make MORE money and focus more on your goals.
Remember my friend:
"Money is everything because money allows you to be as you wish to be. Being poor allows you nothing except the thought that you are morally superior to the wealthy."
3.) Switch gyms, if you can't roll with your current gym search for another one.

Anything else than eating, shitting, working, learning for a better job and training your ass off is unnecessary if you ever want to reach your -unfortunately unrealistic- goal.


"I ended up being expelled, no qualifications, criminal record all the dumb shit dumb kids with no sort of guidance can get caught up in."

It appears you are looking for guidance now, and, I hope you really are paying attention to everyone who has replied. I have found the Combat Forum to be free of the BS that infects other forums here, and, the members advise people from their experience with no hyperbole. I have found over the years a little quote, that helps me reach difficult decisions:

Face the Facts, Then act.....very simple ,but, hard to do.

Your priorities should be, based on your statement above:

  1. Education: do you have a high school diploma or GED? (Assuming you are in the United States) if not, that is your FIRST priority. without one , you are limiting yourself in everything in life. Once that is acheived, you MUST find some way to obtain the next educational level, whether a "trade" school, community college, or a 4 year university.

  2. Your criminal record: Assuming you are in the States, unless you have a CONVICTION for a major felony, then you should obtain a lawyer to help expund your record, either through appeals in the state court system, a hearing with the state corrections board, appeals to the Governors office, etc...but, none of that means crap without showing a steady growth of personal responsibility, and,, unforunately, your desire to fight willl not even get you a hearing. Once something gets in the criminal justice system, its like trying to cure cancer to get it removed.

  3. Since we are facing the facts, you chances of becoming a self sufficient professional fighter are about a good as me winning the Powerball lottery, about 1 in a billion. At 20 years old and no experience, training, or fights, the odds are probably even higher.

  4. I dont know anything about you , other than what you wrote, but, if it was me.....I would do everything in my power to get my education, work as many hours as it took, work any crappy job to pay for it, then see if I had time to train. Do you want to be 30 years old, with no way to earn an income but some fast food restaurant?

  5. Get you GED, try to work on your record, I dont know its a juvenile or adult record, but, that is going to follow you the rest of your life.

  6. If you had a high school diploma or GED, I would advise you try and find a military recuriter who is sympathetic to your cause, ( or short of his monthly goal) and join up. You could pursue your education , have your personal and financial means met, and, gain valuable training for the civilian world. Get good enough at fighting, maybe you could be accepted into various MMA/Boxing programs that the services offer.

  7. Education first, everything else, second. Face the facts....best of luck.


Fantastic, genuine advice.


I wholeheartedly agree. Great post.


Pretty much this. Word for word.

OP, I urge you to take this to heart and act on it without delay.



Just my 2p worth.

I think your crazy, if you had a few years behind you, fair few fights and could supplement your income by working at the gym or school your training at then maybe it would be a good idea.

As it is I cant see it working, I would suggest you find a different place to train or if that's a non starter invest in a bike so that you can get about town easier and quicker if the trains are messing you about, failing that work with guys after the sessions, ask for some out of hours training and all the other things that have been suggested.

Don't know where you from but the UK mma Scene isn't exactly spitting out millionaires, so bringing you down to earth with a bang how many fights are you going to need to have (and win) in order to make the same amount of money you make now? But if you sit there are work the figures out its going to shock you, let alone trying to make a living on it where you can pay rent, mortgage and all the other stuff.

I would go cap in hand and retract my resignation if you haven't put it in an just plan my time better, maybe put this off for a year.