The path to becoming a fighter is very straight forward and very, very difficult. The first thing you have to do in order to become a fighter is, find a place to learn how to be a fighter. It’s not necessarily going to be the fanciest gym in town; world champions have come out of gyms in garages and gyms in racquetball courts. So you don’t look for the fanciest place you can find, you look for a place that produces fighters.
There’s any number of gyms now that claim to be teaching MMA, but they’re actually teaching Tae Kwon Do or… Jeet Kune Do self defense or… some combination of Kung Fu and Tai Chi; it’s not Mixed Martial Arts. Mixed Martial Arts is a sport that’s regulated by the government and in order to teach it you have to produce fighters.
This is the main reason exists; to list schools within the MMA genre to help new fighters find a legitimate direction to go.

STEP 1: Search for a school in your area at
STEP 2: Learn and train hard at the school you’ve found.
STEP 3: Ask your school’s instructor to find you a fight at a local event.

One of the things that you have to avoid, or rather, one of the things that you have to understand, is that Amateur MMA is not an amateur sport as most people understand it. USA Boxing and the Golden gloves run boxing, and the purpose of those two organizations is to build the character of the participants and to create a team to represent the United States of America. That’s not what’s behind Amateur MMA. Amateur MMA is done by the exact same people that are doing Pro MMA, and their single purpose is to make money, and they make money by putting asses in seats, and they put asses in seats by getting easy fights for good ticket sellers.
If you’re just getting started, you don’t want to be the fish in a shark vs. fish match. Some guy’s a good ticket seller, he’s had a few fights, he’s done well; the promoter wants him to come back, wants his fans to come back, and is going to be looking for an easy fight for the guy, and you don’t want to be that easy fight.

Again, that gets back to why you don’t want to try to do this on your own, in your garage, or likelier than not, you’re going to get eaten up. You want to find a gym with experienced trainers; the gym doesn’t have to be fancy but it does have to have experience.
~Kirik Jenness
• Coach at New England Submission Fighting
• Commissioner of NAGA
• Former referee for Reality Fighting MMA events
• The certified MMA records keeper for all sanctioned fights in the USA.
• Co-founder & President of The Underground Forum and The UG Store
• Author of the Fighter’s Notebook
• Co-Author of the 1001 Submissions manual
• Involved in Mixed Martial Arts since 1994
• Involved in Martial Arts since 1971