I thought that given my role as a promoter for Eternal MMA I would give a little insight into matchmaking and a little guide to those who are looking to get fights on the national scene. This applies to most countries and most promotions. I would say all ‘good’ promoters are looking for the same things. The key is to match fair fights, which requires a lot of due diligence, and at the lower levels a lot of trust in coaches who nominate their fighters to be honest about their abilities.
It’s easy to make a ‘fight’, chuck two people of the same weight together and you get your fight. Making a match is a much tougher skill altogether. The fighters must be equal in weight, skill and experience as best as is possible. The extra work you put in to make this happen is a win-win as you get entertaining match-ups for the fans, and the fighters don’t feel like they have been thrown to the wolves.
My pet hate is people saying “you have to match this guy”. Trust me, I know who I need to match but the old saying “It takes two to tango” rings true. It’s easy throwing names around but not so easy, especially if the guy is a gun, to get people to sign the dotted line. We live in an age where debut fighters and up believe they are superstars and all destined for the UFC. 90% of them won’t get close (probably more like 99%), this may sound harsh but it’s the truth. And believe me, if you don’t fancy fighting 2-0 John Smith then your chances of reaching the big show are limited.
To get to the UFC you need to be the best in the country and to be the best you need to beat all comers. Yes there is a time to be sensible about who you fight, when you are 6/7-0 as a pro and only a few wins away from a shot, not when you are an amateur fighter. Your amateur career is your time to gain experience and take some hard fights, to find out what you are actually made of and if this is the game for you at all. A 10-0 amateur record with 10 KO’s means you haven’t been tested yet. So below I will make a list of how to go about getting matched and having promoters want you on the show.
- Be easy to deal with.
Answer messages, return contracts, be flexible around show timings and travel arrangements, especially if you are travelling interstate.
- Do your Bloods, medicals and registrations in a timely fashion.
Promoters have a lot of things to sort out, when you are matched book your appointments early, there seems to be a trend of waiting until the last minute to book these things and then a big panic about getting them submitted in time. It’s really simple to book them, submit them and then not have to worry about them.
Accept fights. Forget about what’s going to happen in 3 years time and where you assume you will be. If you are offered a fight and it’s 50/50 take it if it’s 60/40 take it. Fight!!
- Be reasonable in purse demands.
There is a common misconception that promoters are all Dana White rich. I can assure you this is very much not the case, if you have fought in a main event there is a good chance you have made more than a promoter on that show at least once. Sometimes if you got paid at all, you made more!!! Yes, you do deserve to be paid a fair amount for putting it on the line in the cage but don’t think there is an unlimited pot of money sitting there and we all fly off to the Bahamas after every show.
- Promote the show.
Here is another news flash, if you sell a lot of tickets you will be paid more money and most shows also pay commissions.
I will do my best to match the guys who put some effort into the promotion of the show before the guys that rock up and take it all for granted. Like I said before, a lot of work goes into providing you the platform to compete on and a lot of expense. There are some fighters who make a tidy sum when adding purses and commissions up at the end of the day. Some amateurs make good ticket commissions and can walk away with a good pay day. Plus who doesn’t like having a little crew of friends and family in support. Promote the show, share posts on social media platforms and use picture and marketing content provided. It’s really not a lot of effort to reap some decent rewards.
Follow these steps and I assure you, you will find yourself fighting as often as you like. It really is a team effort between the promotion and the fighter.