If you do what you love, it feels like you’re not working at all. But what of Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and athletes? Can you make money doing Jiu-Jitsu?
You’ve probably already watched pros like Gordon Ryan, Marcus Almeida, Rubens Charles, and many others. While watching them roll, you’ve wondered how these guys are making a living solely on Jiu-Jitsu. Heck, you might even dream of making a living out of the sport.
Today, we’ll tackle money matters in Jiu-Jitsu and what you can expect to make by focusing on it.
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The Truth Behind Jiu-Jitsu And Money
The cold hard truth is that Jiu-Jitsu fighters don’t make as much as other athletes.
The pay grade of professional golfers, boxers, basketball players, and many others is far above what a grappler would expect to get.
If you’re hoping to become a millionaire out of Jiu-Jitsu, you will need a lot of skill, effort, connections, and luck.
Just to give you an idea, here are a few average salaries of some athletes:
It’s worth noting that these averages are for regular players and not those at the championship level.
For MMA, Jiu-Jitsu, and Boxing athletes, the amount they make in a year will depend on how many times they fight. However, data shows that the figures above are the averages for these athletes.
As you can see, there’s not a lot of money in Jiu-Jitsu. You also have to consider that the journey to making a living wage in Jiu-Jitsu is hard work.
Don’t expect to get paid when you’re still a fledgling blue belt.
You might find cases where they start making decent money as a white belt. But that’s an exception and not the general rule.
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How Much Do Professionals Make?
What’s great is that more and more competitions are starting to pay winners. Jiu-Jitsu fighters can make between $4,000 and $40,000 per win in many cases. This depends on the tournament and the belt level they are competing in, of course.
It’s safe to say that becoming a top-paying athlete isn’t easy. Think of all the injuries, training, and competition you have to go through. Another harsh truth is that only the best of the best in Jiu-Jitsu get rewarded with decent money.
In most cases, only the black belts get a cash prize for winning. Such is the case with the IBJJF competitions. Currently, the competition with the biggest cash prize is the ADCC, with around $40,000 for the top winners.
Apart from winning competitions, Jiu-Jitsu practitioners can also earn money through sponsorships. Again, this is only reserved for athletes that have come really far from the sport.
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How To Earn Sponsors As A BJJ Athlete
Believe it or not, most top athletes rely on sponsorships for money. Most of the big leagues in the sport pay the winners, but they don’t hold that many tournaments in a year. With sponsorships, they can earn extra money on the side for winning and more!
The thing is, even the top athletes have to pay for things like airplane tickets, hotels, food, and their medical bills while competing.
For the most part, sponsors can pay for an athlete’s expenses. This means if you’re a sponsored fighter, you can get the most out of your winnings.
Finding a sponsor isn’t easy, though. In some cases, sponsors will come to you. However, you’ll need to offer partnerships with them as well.
Obviously, you’re going to have to be a tenured athlete to get a sponsorship. Say you’ve already reached that level of skill and popularity within the Jiu-Jitsu community.
What are the next steps you should take?
For starters, you should compete as much as you can. Aside from fierce competition, you’ll also come across a lot of brands and companies during tournaments that will help you make money doing Jiu-Jitsu. If you showcase your skill during the fight, there’s a chance that sponsors will come up to you to offer a deal.
Another step you should take is to open up social media accounts. Be active on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The more followers you rack up, the bigger the chances of a brand asking you for sponsorship.
Sadly, getting sponsored isn’t just about skill. It’s a popularity contest as well. It would help if you had a good following online so that brands would have a reason to partner up with you.
You can take two types of sponsorship: affiliate and celebrity sponsorships.
- Affiliate – these sponsorships often come once you have a larger social media following. This is the better type of sponsorship as it includes free stuff from brands! This is where they can shoulder your costs as an athlete too. Last but not least, some sponsors of this type will ask you to sell products for a commission.
- Celebrity – celebrity sponsorships are a lot less beneficial as compared to affiliate sponsorships. It’s when brands want to associate themselves with your name. You can get free stuff from this type of sponsorship too.
Ways To Earn Money In Jiu-Jitsu
Aside from competitions, there are other ways to make money through Jiu-Jitsu. Here are the most common ways to earn and how much you can expect from it.
Become An MMA Fighter
In truth, there’s more money in MMA. Another good thing about becoming an MMA fighter is that there are more competitions than Jiu-Jitsu.
On average, you can earn around $5,000 per win in a small promotion. You can see earnings of about $20,000-30,000 per win at the elite level.
In most promotions, you can even get bonuses for earning performance awards such as submission of the night.
Jiu-Jitsu is one of the core bases in MMA. As such, it’s an excellent way to expand how much you can earn with the sport if you want more money.
Become A Jiu-Jitsu Instructor
The next best way to earn money through the sport is by becoming an instructor. They make around $60,000 on average per year, which is not bad. Many professional athletes serve as instructors so that they have a consistent stream of income.
Becoming an instructor is not easy, of course. Blue belts and above are only certified to become instructors.
You’ll need a lot of experience to be considered knowledgeable enough to become a teacher.
Don’t neglect private lessons
Aside from teaching in a gym, it would help if you also considered teaching private lessons. These are usually more expensive, each session costing about $150 per hour. The more skills you teach, the higher your rate will be, of course.
As you build your clientele, you can have more private lessons to earn from on the side.
If you want to expand your assets as a coach, try to attend as many seminars as possible. These can come with certificates that you can use as credentials. Of course, the added knowledge you get along the way will help your career as an athlete as well.
Run Your Own Jiu-Jitsu Gym
Having your own gym is a significant investment. You’re looking at an upfront cost of at least $1,200,000 to have a state-of-the-art gym.
Is it going to be worth it? According to recent statistics, a martial arts gym can earn around $300,000 to $400,000 per year once you factor out the maintenance costs. This isn’t too bad as well.
Many renowned BJJ gyms open up affiliate programs with other gyms. This will let you have instructors from that team. What’s important when having a gym is not just the facilities but also the instructors. It’s significantly more critical for a sport like Jiu-Jitsu, where techniques are fundamental.
Also, you don’t want your gym to have a crappy reputation. Or, what’s worst, being associated with having fake black belts.
Become A Fitness or BJJ Vlogger
There’s a lot of money to be made on social media. The best way to earn through it and through Jiu-Jitsu is by becoming a fitness vlogger.
YouTubers with millions of views can earn thousands of dollars per month. With Jiu-Jitsu, you can produce various types of content for your followers.
The easiest would be to create a Jiu-Jitsu page that teaches techniques and conditioning exercises for everyone. Instructional videos like these are very popular as people want to continue learning about the craft, even off the mats.
Just make sure you’re delivering great techniques, of course.
Share the lifestyle with the world
You can also do something as simple as a lifestyle vlog. Document your journey from white belt to black belt!
What makes this an effective type of content is that people will want to witness your journey as an athlete. You’ll have a dedicated following within a short time.
Another popular BJJ content trend is rolling commentary. Everybody wants to watch techniques broken down in slow motion. It’s pretty helpful and entertaining.
Make Money Doing Jiu-Jitsu – Final Thoughts
You could make around $40,000 per year as a professional Jiu-Jitsu athlete, but that journey takes a lot of talent.
If you have the skill, you should consider trying out other ways to earn money, such as becoming an instructor or an MMA fighter.
I hope you enjoyed the article. If you did, don’t forget to share and comment below.
Until the next one.