5 Common Mistakes Amateur MMA fighters make
– By Edrich Pienaar
With all the attention MMA is receiving lately, hundreds of men and women walk into the local MMA gym with the same goal in mind: Becoming the next big thing, but all too often MMA fighters in the amateur stage of their careers forget all the in-between of making it to the big stage.
Here is a detailed description of the most common mistakes that will derail your dreams of MMA gold:
Trusting promoters too much
In today’s day and age it is all too easy to get a fight. One can simply call a phone number, reply to a Facebook post and boom next thing you know you’re standing across the cage from a guy you know nothing about competing in a sport you know even less about. The very root of amateur MMA is that the promoters make money. Amateur MMA fighters don’t make any money. Every ticket sold goes right into the promoter’s pocket. They just want bodies in the cage to beat the crap out of each other and sell tickets.
More often than not a promoter will tell you how much the other guys sucks, how easily you could beat him etc. Meanwhile he’s in the other guy’s ear telling him the exact same thing about you. Also one must be careful not to fight for a promoter who has ties to an MMA gym himself. Because 99% of the time fighting for these individuals results in you being the “fish” or, the less experienced fighter who gets purposely matched with a much more talented fighter from the promoter’s gym in order to get a win.
Before you say yes to a fight its best to ask your coach/coaches to analyse the match up and give their input. After all that’s what you pay them for.
Not training enough
Now this goes back to the “All too easy to get a fight” concept. It’s not the promoter’s responsibility or desire to make sure you’ve trained properly and know what you’re doing. Once you say yes the fight is on and it’s up to you to be prepared.
Before you even think about stepping in the cage make sure you are training with a solid MMA gym with a good trainer. Do your research and try to train with a competition team that has had success with a coach who is or was an MMA fighter himself. Success breeds success so the best way to ensure victory in the cage is to surround yourself with other active MMA fighters regularly.
Training too much
Now there are plenty of amateur MMA fighters who are smart and dedicated and do it for the right reasons. They are disciplined and dedicated to their dreams of competing on the highest level. They follow a strict regimen of diet, exercise and training. There is only one problem with these individuals: they are in too much of a hurry.
For the amateur MMA fighter in the first year or so of his career the essentials of success are very basic. Be in shape and train regularly. You don’t need to train 3 times a day 7 days a week to get ready for your debut fight.
MMA is not like anything you have ever done. Training too much too soon will result in injury and will sometimes deter an otherwise wealth of potential. Rest is essential for growth both physically and mentally.
Doing it for the wrong reasons
Let’s face it, MMA is freaking cool right now. But sooner or later you will come across someone who is doing it for the right reasons. While you were on Facebook asking friends to help you decide on a walkout song- he was training.
The beautiful thing about MMA is you cannot lie in the cage. So before you even think about stepping in that hexagon you better make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons to avoid being exposed.
It’s impossible to tell a lie in there. What kind of person you are, what kind of fighter you are, how prepared you are, how tough you are, it’s going to come out once you get in there. And no amount of hype will save you from a real mentally and physically prepared fighter.
Trying to be someone else
If you are a grappler, be a grappler. Set up the takedown with strikes and do what you know. If you spent your entire adolescent life boxing then learn to sprawl and brawl. Use defensive wrestling and use your strikes to earn the KO or TKO. Most grapplers lack what is called strikers cardio and will eventually drop their hands and expose their chin.
If you don’t have a background then learn all the basics and see what’s best for you. The time to be well-rounded and good at everything will come in a few years but not now. Be patient and allow yourself to grow.
In conclusion. If your goal is to become an MMA fighter, focus on your personal niche, find a good place to train, work hard, stay positive and focused. Take in every bit of knowledge you can from coaches, trainers, competitors and training partners. If you carry a positive and respectful attitude, most of your fellow MMA fighters will be more than willing to help you achieve a higher level. If you do these things, you will have a good shot at fulfilling your dream in MMA.