Fighting in amateur mixed martial arts is a great way to test your skills and evaluate if you have what it takes to become a professional MMA fighter. At a minimum, you have to be 18-years-old and train consistently with a reputable MMA coach for six months, according to MMA coach Rafael Garcia. Regulations for amateur MMA vary from state to state, but fight promoters generally choose fighters for their events at their own discretion.
Sign up with a local MMA coach who also trains professional MMA fighters. This ensures he has adequate experience to get you fit, as well as connections to promoters of amateur MMA events.
Train MMA consistently three to six days a week for at least six months to prepare for your first amateur MMA fight, advises Garcia. Divide your training into striking, grappling, strength and cardio components to develop well-rounded fighting skills and enough stamina to last during an amateur bout of three rounds of three minutes each.
Contact an amateur MMA promoter or ask your coach to schedule a fight for you, recommends MMA fighter Jake Ambrose.
Get blood tests for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C a few weeks before your upcoming amateur MMA fight. Female fighters also have to submit to a pregnancy test. Sanctioning organisations only allow fighters with negative test results to compete.
Submit your amateur fighter registration form, pass your physical exam and weigh in according to your designated weight class a few hours before your fight.
Listen to the ring official's explanation of all rules and ask questions if necessary.
Wear your mouth piece, shin guard and gloves when you enter the ring or cage. Gloves must be inspected and secured with tape by a ring official prior to the bout.
Score points with punches, kicks and take downs while aiming for a knock out or submission.
Most sanctioning organisations for amateur MMA don't allow fighters who have earned a purse in any combat sports, such as boxing or kick-boxing, to compete at amateur MMA events.
Tips and warnings
- Most sanctioning organisations for amateur MMA don't allow fighters who have earned a purse in any combat sports, such as boxing or kick-boxing, to compete at amateur MMA events.
Things you need
- Mouth piece
- Shin guards
- Rafael Garcia; MMA coach at World Class Martial Arts; Tampa, Florida
- International Fight Sports: In What USA States Are Kickboxing and or MMA Legal?
- International Sports Combat Federation: Rules and Regulations Regarding Amateur and Professional Status and Rule Differences
- International Sport Karate Association: ISKA Rules
- Jake Ambrose; MMA fighter; Palos Hills, Illinois
- Raymond Camp; MMA instructor at Treasure Coast American Top Team; Stuart, Florida