If you are a lover of professional sports, you will have witnessed the exciting rise of mixed martial arts over the last decade. The sport has been around for generations, of course. Still, it has exploded onto the mainstream in recent times thanks to the unparalleled success of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a surge in the number of bouts screened on television and live streaming apps and the rise in sponsorship money that accompanied it.
MMA was, for many years, viewed as a sidenote to boxing, but today it holds its own against the noble art in viewing figures, fight purses and the treatment of fighters. This has affected several industries, from buying MMA merchandise and training equipment to online gambling. Last year, millions of wagers were placed using smartphones as fans had a say on fights by placing their UFC best bets at the top sportsbooks.
It’s time to take the next step
You can watch MMA from the comfort of your armchair, follow the sport on social media and discuss the latest results with friends. But if you want to get up close and personal and gain a strong understanding of the life of a UFC fighter, you can try MMA for yourself. There are now more gyms teaching amateur and professional MMA fighters than we have ever seen in the past, but you don’t have to be the next Conor McGregor to get involved.
Mixed martial arts is great for fitness, building confidence, learning self-defence and meeting new friends. Before starting, there are a few things to consider, and in this article, we aim to bring our readers up to speed. By the end of this page, you will know how to start training MMA for fitness.
Finding a gym
This is the most important part of the process and will determine your training level, how long you will keep going to the gym and the results. A carpenter is only as good as the tools they have at their disposal, and you wouldn’t go to a boxing gym to learn the guitar. You must find a gym that ticks each of the following – it’s safe, friendly, welcoming, insured and filled with people who are sympathetic to new arrivals. Anything less could see you end up getting hurt or losing heart early.
Find an MMA or BJJ gym local to you and check out the online reviews, training times and other information. Then visit the gym in person and talk to the coaches, discussing your requirements, background, previous injuries and what you want to achieve from your time there. Then drop by on a night when they are training and watch from the sidelines to get an idea of what to expect. There may be fighters there who are far more talented than you at present, but they all must be on the same page as you are. They must understand your limitations and be willing to help you improve. To be fair, no combat sports gym worth visiting will be full of people wanting to hurt you.
Everyone inside the building, whether a beginner or a UFC champion, would have been where you are. Nervous, anxious, new to the game and eager to learn. If they are genuine people and the coaches want to get the best out of you, they will be happy to help. If you have even the smallest feeling that the gym doesn’t follow these rules, don’t waste your time as there are lots of great MMA and BJJ gyms out there, even if it takes a bit of travelling.
On your first night, you will need training clothes, such as shorts and mma shirts. You want something you will be comfortable wearing and can sweat in. Because you will sweat, trust us on that one. The more you attend classes, the more you will get a feel for the equipment needed. This includes hand wraps and boxing gloves for boxing and Muay Thai, shin guards, and possibly a BJJ Gi. This stuff can be picked up quite cheaply, and the gym will help steer you in the right direction.