UFC vet and 3rd degree BJJ black belt Din Thomas was recently in the news when he promoted Tyron Woodley to black belt in the octagon.
Din Thomas wrote a very interesting essay on social media about the harsh life of a MMA fighter:
“Fighters get into this game inspired by other fighters. You will watch those fighters and think, “That’s what I want to do. I can do that.” For me it was Royce Gracie, Pele, and Mach Sakurai. For fighters today, its Conor Mcgregor, GSP, and TJ Dillashaw. But unlike most professions there’s no established blueprint on how to do this. There’s alot you don’t know and even more that nobody will tell you in your pursuit.
They wont tell you that fight promoters aren’t your friends. They are just trying to make money and will only hire fighters that make them money regardless of how good you or any fighter is.
They wont tell you that you will be charmed by potential managers who will sell you on a dream. They wont do shit for you but will hold you to a contract regardless. You’ll end up getting your own deals and your manager will still want his 20%.
They wont tell you that your first coach is the only one that really cared about you. But you’ll break his heart because you’ll leave him thinking the answers are somewhere else. And he will treat other aspiring fighters like burnt bacon based on that experience. Or your first coach doesn’t know shit and you’ll end up staying with him out of fear of breaking his heart. Either way, you’ll stifle your own progress.
They wont tell you that your training partners will hate on you out of jealousy of your career or the attention you get from the coach. Or you might be the one hating.
They wont tell you that you’ll get injured and YOU have to pay for it with money that you don’t have because all you do is train.
They wont tell you that sponsor aren’t just giving away “free money”. Businesses don’t give a damn about your fight career, they want their product in people’s faces that will buy it.
There’s alot they wont tell you. And every time you learn it on your own, it will suck a little more blood and passion out of you… until its all gone. And then you’ll retire. But then you’ll look at another Conor fight and be inspired. You’ll make your comeback and fall short of your expectations because while you were retired, the game passed you up. And you’ll try again.
Take heed, shorty!”