MMA Fighters: You Represent Your Gym

mma ko

A couple of weeks ago I was at the SEG Canterbury fights, seated near one of the corners when a fighter was introduced. Name, record, gym...wait, what? He fights out of where?

No he doesn't!

I had to stop myself from turning to his corner and actually yelling at him that his fighter does not in fact fight out of the gym he claimed to fight out of. Nor did his corner.

I figured I'd let the guy fight and see how he did. Well, he lost. And while a fighter might think that a loss is only felt by themselves, it also reflects on the gym they represent.

Or lie about representing as the case may be.

It turns out that he had once trained in the garage of a former gym member for a few weeks, so when asked what gym he trained at, he lied.

Son of a b****.

Now, there was a time when I didn't think such a thing made a difference. I mean, so what if someone claimed to train at a gym? What difference did it make if they were the ones putting their faces and their record on the line?

Well, everything, actually. A gym is more than about you. It is about the owners, the trainers and all the members there that train day in and day out to improve themselves while some a**hole wanders in off the street and thinks they can fight.

By saying you fight out of a gym, you are showing what you have learned there. You show your strength, your heart and your talents to the crowd and anyone who might see video of the fight.

And yes, it makes a difference.

I remember years back doing some training with Dave Menne at his old Osseo gym (when I still entertained pipe dreams of MMA competition) and having guys literally come in off the streets and say they had a fight in two weeks and they needed a corner.

Dave would graciously, I guess, turn him down. The guy had standards. And frankly, he was probably pissed at the idea of some jacka** wandering in and taking for granted the sport that he had but a s*** load of blood into.

Now, not being a stranger to this sort of scenario, I had to wonder, do gyms set standards by which their fighters must measure up before competing in the cage?


I remember about eight years ago, yes eight, back when there was a Miletech Fighting System school in Apple Valley, they required full contact tryouts before allowing someone to train their as a part of their team. Which is a little weird, maybe why it didn't succeed.

Warrior's Cove requires their fighters have a blue belt in their Shinbudo system (a combination of BJJ and gap fighting with a blue belt being about equivalent to a purple belt in BJJ) before letting them use their gym name in fights. Though given that the fighters have proven themselves, they will corner fighters with a red belt (their system goes white, yellow, red, blue, black).

The Cellar fighters must be cleared by head instructors Kru Chris Cichon and Drysdale black belt Marcelo Nunes must approve their fighters for MMA, ideally after both BJJ and smoker fights.

Academy fighters must qualify to be a part of the MMA competition team after both striking and grappling tryouts, only after being invited to tryout showing proficiency in a skill set.

Other schools all seem to have variations of these requirements at their individual schools. Fortunately, some of the old school grindhouse sort of gyms have failed in the area, ideally setting a new standard for most competitors.

Keep in mind that these standards exist to make you a better, more successful fighter, not just so you can make a quick couple hundred bucks. You might not care if you lose, but your coaches and training partners sure as s*** do.

If you really want to be a fighter, take a deep breath, try and calm down from what I can only assume is a UFC Highlights and Monster Energy fueled adrenaline rush and learn a few f***ing things before you put yourself in position to get kicked in the face.

Still, there are those that want to take shortcuts and take fights for the quick cash regardless of outcome. Some people just don't care about how much training it actually takes to be even a competent MMA fighter.

Bodybuilding legend Ronnie Coleman once said "everyone wants to be big, but no one wants to lift no heavy ass weights". Word, Ronnie, word.

Everyone wants to be a fighter, but no one wants to put in the time to learn to fight.

So they take a fight, thinking that getting drunk and wrestling with their cousins qualifies. They put on TapOut shirts and puff out their chests thinking that it is as easy as Anderson Silva or Chuck Liddell used to make it look.

In fact, they are idiots. You will see them wander into your gym and ask how long it takes to get a black belt, or how long until they can compete. Most gyms, assuming the fighter has no experience, or is a joke on the mats, will say about six  months to a year.

And you will never see them again.

They will train in a garage, they will train in a backyard. They will not make weight at weigh-ins. In general they are just giant turds that turn the sport into a joke thinking they can "stand and bang" with a trained fighter.

Or worse, they lie and say they train at The Cove or The Academy or Spartan or wherever because one time they took a class there and want to sound like they actually have experience.

If you train in a basement or a garage, fine, whatever, I couldn't give a s***. If you are from a big name school and are 10-0, great. If you are a borderline alcoholic and train when it is convenient for you and are 10-0, awesome.

But if you are just some dips*** that thinks he can fight and think that a lie about your gym doesn't mean anything, think again, because I'm sure there are a lot of people in that crowd willing to prove to you that you don't know s*** and will take a lot of offense to your little-white-lie.

And if you need more convincing, remember that lies are ugly. Lies make you less attractive. Lies make Dani sad.


You heartless son of a b****. Why would you want to make Dani less attracted to you? I've been punched in the head a lot...I mean, A LOT, but even I have better sense than that.

In fact, I'm going to go buy some 4 ounce gloves.