Sound Off: Dear Aspiring MMA Fighter


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Author: Justin Trapp
Title: Dear Aspiring MMA Fighter
What’s on their mind:

(originally posted in our forums)

Dear Aspiring MMA Fighter,


(First off, this is not an infomercial for Fighter Portraits. Also, if you are not serious about a fighting career then disregard. I love this sport and much respect to any guy that puts it all on the line in front of a bunch of people. I am just a keyboard warrior when it comes to mma. Oh yea, since Gracie Barra is where I train (kinda) I will not use them in any of my examples so peeps wont call me a robo nutthugger)

I have been wanting to share this for a long time because I want mma fighters to succeed, I want the sport to succeed and I want Houston mma to be the best development of talent for the UFC. Winning is not the most important thing…………yea Ii said it, winning is obviously important but marketing yourself is just as important.

Winning+Marketing=Success, Winning+No Marketing=Good record nobody cares.

Case in point, Patrick Hutton. Patrick doesn’t have the most stellar record at this point in his career however, he gets it. Even when Patrick is not on the main poster he will come down to my studio and have me shoot a photo for himself to have his own poster. He takes that poster and hands it out to potential sponsors. Did anyone see how many sponsors he had on his shorts this last fight. He made $7,000 in sponsorships. For a local Houston guy that’s pretty good.

Another case but on the opposite end, I just finished designing the poster for Lonestar Beatdown. There are 8 fighters fighting in a championship fight, only 4 fighters showed up to be on the poster. Are you kidding me, you are fighting for a title, that’s free marketing for you, free posters….How could you pass that up!?!

Artenas Young is another example….I know I know, some love him some hate him but he has done his job……everyone on here is talking about him, his facebook is lit up all the time and He gets a fight with Strikeforce as a 2-1 pro. Really 2-1? He signs every email, every facebook post with “I AM THE MACHINE GUN” and while that probably makes some of you cringe, (haha) what he is doing is building his brand…Pretty soon there will be a ton of people who dont know Artenas but they know the Machine Gun. In my opinion, IF Artenas keeps winning, he will fight in the big show soon because of his brand.

There are several guys in the Houston area that have great records but no one knows who you are and if they do, they don’t want to hear you talk. Now I am not saying you have to be as polarizing as someone like Artenas. If your personality is more laid back that’s fine, just get someone to create you a website, get on facebook, twitter and start building your following… doesn’t even have to be you. Shane Carwin is a good case in point, Shane is on, he is on twitter, he is actively on his website making posts etc, he signs everything that people buy from his store and he trains full time and has a full time engineering job not to mention is full time husband/dad. You think he does all of this himself? Get someone to help you make it happen.

Lastly, get good help with your marketing, website, brand etc…..And just because your cousin’s friend has a camera or someone owns a magazine or is a photographer doesnt mean they know what they are doing…..Your career is a business so it needs to be treated like one. Make savvy business decisions and you will succeed. Surround yourself with good people to help you make those decisions.

Again, this letter is not about heart, fighting or anything inside the ring, this is all about the business of MMA, the greatest sport on the planet.

I wrote this to be helpful….I wish all the fighters the best and want to see everyone succeed. Again, this was not a giant “Fighter Portraits” ad, I have actually backed away from my mma focus and have been working within other industries lately. I really hope you guys can take this and apply it to your career. if you do, you will see great results.

Winning+Marketing=Success, Winning+No Marketing=Good Record Nobody Cares.

P.S. If you do call me, don’t call looking for free stuff