Obtaining Regional Sponsorships Within MMA

MMA sponsorships can be viewed as a key vehicle to supplement a fighter’s income, or product needs at any level of the sport.  From the aspiring amateur fighter to the highest levels of the game, all fighters rely on product and cash sponsorships at times.  When you watch a UFC, BELLATOR or WSOF event, you probably notice sponsor logos on the fighter’s shorts and banner.  While sponsorship at that level is an entirely different market with large national brands, fast up-start companies, etc., it’s not the main purpose of this blog.  Rather, I want to focus on obtaining regional sponsorships, as 100% of fighters who ultimately end up in the big league promotions of MMA, started their careers in their respected regions.  I’m often asked by fighters, “What is the best way to go about obtaining product or cash sponsorships?”.  Whether you’re an up and coming big name regional fighter, or someone who nobody has heard of yet, it’s important you take the time and get involved in your own career to market yourself, while at the same time continuing the rigorous MMA training and fighter lifestyle that your journey to the top takes you on.  It’s not enough to expect sponsorship opportunities to fall into your lap, or for your MMA Manager or Trainer to do everything for you in the region in terms of obtaining sponsorships.  Therefore; I will share with you, the reader, what I share with my own fight team about some helpful tips in obtaining regional sponsorships.

Just about all fighters use some form of social media, i.e.; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc., as a way of communicating who they are and what they have been doing within MMA.  But, just doing social media is not enough to educate potential sponsors on why they should invest in you with product, cash or both.  It takes you; the fighter, to get outside of your comfort zone and speak with local businesses within the community you live in.   Think of it this way, every day you wake up and you probably interact with local business.  You may visit a traditional gym for strength and conditioning, you might see your dentist, a chiropractor, a mechanic, your bail bondsman, eat at a restaurant, etc. For years you’ve been visiting these establishments, doing one-way business with them.  Have you ever considered approaching these same businesses and instead of giving them ‘your’ money for their services, instead ask to speak with the owner or someone with authority.  Explain to them you are an aspiring fighter from your local town and rely heavily on local sponsorships to support your MMA career ambitions.  Further, you will want to explain to whomever it is you’re speaking to, that ultimately you’re trying to build a long term “partnership” rather than just asking for a one time “sponsorship”.  Get them involved in your careers, get them excited about you, get them to your MMA gym, get them to a fight. Bottom line: just be yourself, and get them to understand MMA is a mainstream sport and you’re a part of it.  Explain to them that you will be proud to represent their company logo on your fight gear and will further promote their brand through social media, interviews, post-fight win shout-outs, and photos.  While I believe not everyone you speak with will instantly want to assist you, some most likely will.  It’s no different than traditional sales, it’s a numbers game.  The more businesses you approach, the hit rate of interest will be that much greater.  And of course, you will want to return to the businesses that supported you after your fight, with a framed, autographed picture of you representing their brand in the cage.  Your sponsor; most likely will hang it proudly in their place of business and tell other potential “future partners” that they sponsor the local BADASS!

I wish you all the success with your MMA career,

Dave Hirschbein

MMAGOLD Owner/Fight Manager