People always ask me, “Hey Travis, will you ever fight in MMA?” The quick answer is “no I will not” and this video helps me explain why.

Over the years, I have learned a lot through watching people develop as athletes and what they have done when they have decided to retire as a competitive athlete. A very wise man once told me that when you’re done with being an athlete be prepared to take a pay cut. You will never make as much as you do currently (As a professional athlete) when you start your non-competitive profession. But if you dedicate the same passion you do at your new job as you did as when you were an athlete you will make a lot more money.

Another wise man once told me that if I wanted to be wealthy I would need to diversify my income. Never put all your eggs in one basket so to speak. So over the last 5 to 6 years, I have been diversifying my income. While Training for the Olympic Games I have earned my BJJ Black Belt, started five different companies, opened my own BJJ school, learned the all of the ins and outs of internet marketing, and finally Google AdWords (still an amateur

at all of this though but working every day at it). Through all of this, I have learned one very fundamental thing, I can’t spell to save my life and my grammar sucks. But in all seriousness, I follow those two rules that two wise men once told me when it comes to living my life and making sure I am financially secure.

I understand the level of dedication it takes to learn all the skill sets required to be an MMA Champion. I have helped people get ready on a few occasions (even if it was only a few workouts) to fight and defend titles in the UFC. With that being said, I know I have the drive dedication and skills necessary to win a UFC Belt. The big question is can I make it to that fight? My body has been through a lot over the years. Just the year before the 2016 Olympic Games, I suffered a massive concussion, dislocated SI Joint, bacterial infection in my leg (almost causing it to be cut off), and a dislocated thumb.  

I finally have the ability after winning my Olympic Medal to be FREE of pain and for the most part, healthy! Honestly, I’m enjoying the new challenges in my life and having new goals that don’t require me to wake up in pain every day. Sometimes I miss fighting and the thrill of competing but it quickly goes away after 2 live rounds with my students. I’m embracing the new challenges life has for me and my body is thankful for it as well as the team of people I keep around me.

When I break down the numbers for MMA it just doesn’t seem worth the risk. If I get paid $100k to fight (win or lose, best case scenario) let’s say I’m lucky and I get another $50k in sponsorship. Here’s how I see the math (quickly):

FIGHT PAYDAY: $100k + $50k = $150k

FIGHT $150k x 12%(management fee) = $18k then

Take away another  30% in taxes, etc which comes out to $39,600 TOTAL FOR ME: 92,400 (For this example let’s round that down to 90k for a good number to work with and remember that these are the best case scenarios.)

Let’s say I agree to fight in two years my first fight, I would have to learn boxing, kickboxing, wrestling. I’ll let you know how I know to do all three because I have trained them before, but they are not where they need to be by any measure to step into a cage with anybody. So we sign a three fight deal where I make the same $150k every time. That’s a total of $270k over my contract that I would assume takes four years to finish. Two years of training and two years of fighting. That means $270k over the span of four years means I make a salary of $67,500 a year.

I understand that these numbers are rough and not 100% accurate to what current MMA Fighters actually make, but I base my decisions on the two things that were told to me by the two wise men. I can’t put all my eggs in one basket which I feel I would have to do in MMA in order to make real money. Taking a risk to train for two years to be good enough to win in a “real” MMA fight when it can all come crashing down if, my opponent gets hurt and there is no replacement, I get my jaw broken during the fight and can’t fight again or any number of things that can happen that would prevent me from taking the second fight.

I personally just feel it’s a better business decision when I’m 31 years old to move on in my life to be able to provide for my future family. I hope this makes sense.

I hope this makes sense. Please comment below if you have an opinion. 


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  • I like the way you think long term. I like the way you and Jimmy have been building the Fuji brand via videos. I see seven figure success in your future. Keep up the good work. You’re going places!

  • all is fine man. For what’s worth, I think you are making the right decision. MMA is awesome but considering your age and specialties, competing for that sum of money doesn’t seem to be worth it. Also, you have to keep up with judo/bjj training/coaching. Be safe, hope we can train one day 😀

  • I agree. I personally don’t see any financial gain (certainly not for myself). You would have a much better opportunity than a standard fighter who put in a few years however. Not to mention your work ethic is something to behold. MMA may not be on your horizons BUT I personally am looking forward to your FTW PRO match this weekend.

  • That’s a really wise answer, and makes perfect sense.

    MMA is brutal. I’d rather you be around as a contributor to our community for years to come, than watch you sacrifice yourself for our entertainment.

  • While I’ve been a boxing fan for life, I can break the math down even easier. “X” amount of times getting struck in the head will reduce to eliminate your earning potential for life. We don’t know what number “X” is. ☹️

  • Travis
    You are definitely being wise!
    Congrats on waking up pain free these days!
    As a sports chiropractic physician, I see the pain ex- athletes must deal with on a daily basis. Having your health is the greatest victory one can enjoy.
    You will be an athlete for life but maybe it is time to investigate the non- fight-sports life and enjoy new challenges and victories.
    All the best
    Carlo Guadagno DC
    USA Judo M5 81kg #3

  • Love watching MMA. And I think you are making a very wise decision for a number of reasons, so good luck with your future!

  • Nice analysis. I imagine coaching MMA fighters would provide a more sustainable paycheck than competing in that sport, anyway.

  • I saw a video on facebook of your Judo fight that then led me to this page and this article. Thanks for sharing you perspective and the difficulty there is in making a decision such as this after hard years on the mat. This was a great article and I especially like your reminder to succeed you must work hard and drive forward with enthusiasm and intelligence. Good luck in your future businesses!