5 Downfalls to Being a UFC fighter


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Without a doubt, there are many benefits to being a UFC fighter –which I’m pretty sure I’ll name in a future post– but fans often fail to realize that there are several downfalls to being in the mixed martial arts limelight.

Here’s the first five that pop into my head:

1. You receive pretty much useless tips from random people.

Fighting must look a lot easier from the safety of a couch because on a few occasions I’ve been given some pretty wild fighting tips from guys and girls as various locations around my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I remember one night a drunk girl came out of a bar and started showing me a few kickboxing combos that she thought I should use in my next fight. I didn’t tell her that those moves would get me killed out there but I felt like doing so.  Another time, an older gentlemen, yelled at me from across the counter at a Shopper’s Drug Mart store. “Do more pushups!” was the advice he gave that night as he was leaving the building. He truly must not have realized how much insane physical training I endure while preparing for a fight. Regardless, I always take the time to thank the person for their tips because I sincerely do appreciate their interest even though it sometimes creates an annoying situation.

2. You’re stuck eating clean

The only good thing about being injured is the fact that you can eat whatever you want for a while.  Keeping one’s weight on point can be a struggle for many fighters including myself from time to time.

Chicken breast after chicken breast can be repetitive and I swear I didn’t eat a sweet potato for at least 6 months after my last fight. There’s a story behind that, a pretty funny one in fact, but I’ll save it for another post about weight cutting and re-hydration. I think that maybe with some good recipes eating clean all the time could be less boring but I suck at cooking so I’m not sure I’ll ever find out.

There are also many distractions to entice a fighter to stray from healthy food. For me one situation in particular sticks out in my mind.

A week before one of my fights –against Nuri Shakir for the Apex fighting world title—I attended a wedding. I had just begun the final process of my weight cutting routine which is when I cut out carbohydrates completely for several days. Believe it sucks worst than it sounds. Anyways, I managed to struggle through the dinner, only eating what I was supposed to but then the desert table appeared. Damn! The table was loaded with cakes, treats and tons of good stuff but the killer was the monstrous fountain, located in the center of the table that was pouring chocolate from its spout. It literally was tougher to resist submerging my face into the chocolate pool at the bottom of that fountain than it was to step into the ring the following weekend. I toughed it out though.

There is something motivating about having to make a certain weight for a fight and the fact that I don’t get paid unless I make my designated weight is sufficient motivation to keep me away from the pizza, chips and pop and Snickers bars (my favourite). Not to mention it’s not very cool to go on television with a gut.

3. You keep getting uglier

Many years ago, my nose was a little straighter, everyone one of my teeth were my own, and I had a few less scars than I do now. All part of the game I guess but if you follow a fighter’s career –especially the ones who have been through many wars in the cage or ring—you’ll realize that that they seem to get a little uglier with each passing bout.

I remember the day my nose broke for the first time and was pummelled several inches closer to my ear. I admit, it’s a little vain, but I was a little traumatized when I looked in the mirror. It was my face that I was looking at but not my nose! Luckily I was able to have it somewhat straightened around a week or two later because I did not want to leave the house with that nose on my face. Even worse, my nose hurt for nearly a year after the surgery.

If you’re thinking of fighting professionally you can kiss any modeling aspirations goodbye and when you do start your MMA career try to match up with the ugliest of fighters. It usually means they are easier to hit.

4. A rough day in the office is much different for you than others

Every employee experiences a bad day in the office from time to time. The causes are simple; irritating co-workers, grumpy bosses, losing the big deal and whatever else pisses a person off.

A bad day for a professional mixed martial artist is much worse. A grumpy coach will put you through insanely tough workouts just because he feels like it that day. I’m guessing that seeing you puke might make him feel better in some twisted way. You might not lose out on a big deal that you were trying to seal but a bad day in the ring or cage will most likely deplete your blood supply somewhat and kill off a huge amount of brain cells at the same time.

With all that being said I think it’s the bad days and troubles we occasionally experience in training and in competition that makes us strive for and genuinely appreciate our victories.

5. It’s not the holy grail of picking up women at a bar.

So you’ve had your first professional fight that was televised and decide to hit the bar to reap the rewards. Ladies watch out!

Immediately after arriving at the bar, a guy –probably wearing an affliction T-shirt– approaches you and asks you about your training, your last fight and a bunch of other things.  As you scope out a few hot women around the bar you are excited to answer his questions and talk with him for a while.

After conversing for nearly twenty minutes, he leaves to party it up and you begin your search for the hot girl you spotted just moments before. You feel a gentle tap on your shoulder. With hopes that it was the woman you were looking for you turn around to see who it was. It’s another guy –this time in a tap out shirt—that proceeds to ask you questions very similar to the ones you answered minutes before while talking with the other guy.  You do your best to answer them, in a slightly quicker manner than before and then carry on with your night. One hour , twenty guys and seventy two questions later you realize something. Men watch mixed martial arts way more than women and you’re going to have to actually put in a more work than you had anticipated to pick up chicks.

I’m not saying fighting doesn’t help you pick up girls, I’m sure it will in many situations but it’s not the Holy Grail of mackin. I’d say, if you want to meet truckloads of women, you’re better off investing in some singing lessons in the hopes of becoming the next Justin Timberlake.

After all the time I’ve spent eating clean, talking with fight fans at bars, getting punched uglier on a regular basis and absorbing the many fight tips from dudes and chicks in the street, I can say it’s all been worth it without a doubt. Don’t let this article make you think twice about becoming a mixed martial artist as it’s the most fun job in the world. Just make sure you have the number for a great plastic surgeon!

Here’s another article I wrote about the best things about fighting in the UFC. ==> CLICK TO READ IT

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Facebook Comments


  1. So true Jeff… sad but so true!

  2. Chris says:

    Don’t lie to yourself. It isn’t the most fun job in the world.

    The reality is, you get paid to get your ass kicked, hardly anyone but fat, bald, divorced men notice you, and honestly, unless you reach super star status, you won’t even make much more, if at all, than your keyboard warrior critics.

    You will do this for another 10 years, if you are lucky, and you will retire ugly and sore. Women still wont know/care who you are, and even your former male groupies wont give you the time of day.

  3. Ilya says:

    Keep fighting in UFC, I’m sure there will be more perks along the way.

  4. PaulF says:

    Awesome reading.



  5. Chris Brown says:

    Jeff that blog was awesome! I think you have been cursed with some nasty injuries and judges/bad ref’s who just plain don’t like you over your career. Your Canada’s best kept secret in the MMA world. You the only guy to TKO John Fitch(f**k what the ref thought) since he got really good. I would love to see a rematch and you beat his ass again. I think casual fans that heard of you only think you came from an average fighters background. They don’t know that you have been training/fighting in Karate you WHOLE life competing/winning competitions at the world championship level or that you are a Pan American Champion in BJJ.

  6. Thanks for the link, Jeff. Please keep us up to date with these posts. I really enjoyed the read.

  7. KUTTER says:

    Excellent read! And F chris (2nd response) He already bald and fat, and cant grasp the concept of dedication or pride.

  8. Jeff S says:

    Ya, who’s the douche who left the 2nd response? I’ve grown to love MMA more than hockey, which is really saying something! There’s something primal in all alpha males that makes you feel like nothing else can when you lock horns with a worthy opponent. Keep on keeping on Jeff, you really do have a sweet gig!

  9. Dion says:

    2nd response ‘Chris’ is trying to get a response out of everybody….when really he has probably never competed in anything in his life in which he had put his ass on the line! hope to see ya back kickin ass again Jeff….just like I hope to have this neck injury thing worked out..lol peace out dude!:)

  10. Thats why I stopped trying and focused on business.

    Had nothing to do with the fact I sucked and realized it was better left a hobby I enjoy then a career I struggle greatly at…. nothing at all.

  11. Haha, great post Jeff. I love reading your stuff and your guard pass series was excellent. I was in college (20 years old) for my first fight and I remember thinking some of the same stuff.

  12. […] out an article I wrote a while back on “THE FIVE DOWNFALLS OF BEING A UFC FIGHTER” to see if pro-fighting is really the job for you. var addthis_language = 'en';var […]

  13. MartinLav says:

    #3 is wrong : Shogun and Arlovski are modelling and fighting still to this day.

    Fighting ugly dudes might be a good approach, as long as you stay away from Wanderlei 😛

  14. b says:

    constant injuries!!!!

  15. Mike says:

    Lol @ “getting punched uglier on a regular basis. “

  16. Devon says:

    Thanks for lookin’ out again, Jeff. As always, looking out for your fellow fighters and fans.
    The points in this article were just reaffirmations of things I had already figured out after fighting amateur for 3 years here on Okinawa, Jp.
    The thing I don’t understand is, how is it worse for pro fighters than amateur? I understand they are required to train more and there is more consequence to their fights (good and bad), but they see a paycheck. Us amateurs do it purely for the love of the sport (and because pro is not available in Okinawa). Am I missing something?
    Thanks again.

  17. Steve says:

    Darn !!! … there goes my dream about the hordes of women ! …. lol

  18. Tim says:

    Hey man, it may be a dirty job, but someone’s gotta love doing it! through all the pain of getting punched uglier, denying yourself chocolate fountains, and missing out on the hot chicks at the bar, it’s gotta be worth it to have your hand raised high at the end of the day.

  19. Wow, reality check city! Thanks Jeff, every guy thinking about jumping in should read this. Luckily for me, at 52 I am too old!

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