Fighters report difficulty becoming professional and making a living from the sport

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Being a professional fighter involves training, focus and willpower. Added to the intense exercise routine, another recurring factor in the life of a combat athlete: lack of sponsorship. The reality affects most athletes who, even winning many titles, still can’t make a living from sport alone. In the Federal District, there is a vast showcase of talented and winning fighters, but the lack of investment and little visibility are some of the reasons that make them seek other professions.

the team of Sport District talked to two of them: Miguel Brito, a jiu-jitsu athlete, and Andrei Ribeiro, a Chinese boxing and jiu-jitsu athlete. The fighters of the federal capital report the difficulty of raising financial resources and how this impacts the competitions they compete. Miguel mentioned the desire to enter a university and join the sport, while Andrei emphasizes the excessive effort of an athlete to live from the fight.

The mishaps behind the mat

The jiu-jitsu athlete, Miguel Brito, explained that even though he was runner-up in the 2021 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship (CBJJ) in his category at just 16 years old, he still hasn’t tried funding. “Due to the lack of visibility in the sport, I have not yet tried any sponsorship. Sponsorship usually comes with a lot of publicity, so if the athlete doesn’t have a lot of reach or followers on social media, he will hardly have a sponsor,” he assumed.

Photo: Personal Archive/Miguel Brito

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The fighter from Brasilia revealed that he intends to go to college, but that he dreams of supporting himself only from sport. “I want to go to law school. However, I would like to live just by fighting. But nowadays we know that living just from the sport is very risky, especially from jiu-jitsu, which is not a sport with so much visibility”, he confessed.

Miguel revealed that to participate in the CBJJ, in Rio de Janeiro, he had the help of his parents to finance his trip. “We have to pay for food, material and even registration for the championship. All this ends up becoming a very high amount paid for by the athlete. It’s the same thing with the Olympics: everyone wants the competitor to win medals, but for that to happen, investment is necessary”, he concluded.

Reality of many athletes

For Andrei Ribeiro, a Chinese boxing and jiu-jitsu athlete, the feeling of devaluation is great. The Federal District fighter commented that getting a full scholarship was essential for his performance. “I’ve been fighting since I was 20, now at 30, I realize that everything has always been very difficult. I was lucky to have gotten a 100% scholarship at a gym”, he mentioned.

Photo: Aline Pereira

Today, close to completing his Physical Education graduation, he reports that it is not possible to live just from sport in Brasilia and that adversity is regularly present in the life of an athlete. “Most of the time, it all comes out of your pocket. And you end up raising the name of just one team, and that’s it. Fighting in the country is still very criminalized,” he concluded.

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Fighters report difficulty professional making living sport

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