Not everyone is willing to break the bank for a martial arts gym membership and no one wants to get ripped off. Knowing the gyms’ quality and the value of a martial arts gym is quite important to get the maximum return of investment.
Determining the value of an MMA gym is a quite broad topic so I break down the most important criteria for assessing the value.
Alright shortly MMA and BJJ gyms’ monthly membership generally varies between 40 and 250 dollars. And if you want to see some examples of how much do MMA and BJJ Gyms cost, check out out the last paragraphs.
What does Affect the Price?
Expertise of Instructors
A lot of gyms have professional fighters as instructors. It is not the norm but you can see that famous black belts teach BJJ from time to time. When this is the case, the price can skyrocket.
If an instructor is more qualified like higher rank etc., obviously, this reflects in the price. With that being said, you really need to keep attention to this and don’t avoid paying higher rates for good instructors as they know what they are doing to improve your skills and can teach you martial arts quite effectively.
The location affects the price most. If you live in expensive cities like New York, Los Angeles, you will pay more for the gym memberships like everything else. You probably can not find a gym which costs less than 200 dollars in “the rich areas” of the bigger cities.
Yeah, living in an expensive city sucks but when this is the case, there is more competition and you can even find a couple of good gyms in 1 km radius. Also, when there are more people, the price also drops and it is another benefit of going to a martial arts gym in a big city. So the prices are quite competitive and the quality of the gym also tends to be better.
For example, you can find many local MMA gyms, training facilities, academies which focus on Muay Thai in Bangkok Thailand. According to my experiences, the quality of the teaching is top-notch however the prices of these gyms are really competitive. Some of these gyms even offered the same prices.
The Gym Equipment Quality and Amenities
I really love to train with top-notch equipment. These are not only good for having a proper session but I just feel safer when I train with them (protective MMA shin guards etc.).
However, when a martial arts gym have a lot of speed bag platforms, which are made of quality oak, obviously that gym charges you more. Or there may have a lot of different punching bag types so you can practice punching techniques and improve them efficiently. The gyms pay for purchasing them. However, there is also maintaining, cleaning of the gears fees as well. These can significantly increase the membership fee.
Also, what do you have to buy? Do you need to get your own mitts, trackers..? If a gym has more equipment than the other gyms, you will need to buy fewer gears. When you think of the gym’s value, consider these as well.
Amenities are also important for determining the price. Does the gym offer towels? Does it have a wifi? If a gym has superior amenities, obviously this reflects in the price tag, too.
How Many Lessons does a Gym Offer in a week?
This one is a no-brainer. A gym, which offers 6-day unlimited classes, costs more than a gym offers just 3 days.
Also, are there open mat days? This is a good opportunity where you can practice what you have learned so far. It is particularly important for honing your skills.
In addition to these, we all have really busy lives, don’t we? Sometimes, life gets busy or you may have a wrist injury like I do from time to time and you may miss a class. And you can be behind if you don’t take this class. Bigger gyms tend to have a couple of same classes within a week and let you join. It is quite nice however this flexibility is also correlated with the cost. If they offer this, they definitely mention it while you are negotiating the cost.
I even forget how many times I went to an MMA gym and there is just not enough space to train on MMA mats. Thanks to my work, even though I can train anytime I want other people are not that lucky. And when they go to a gym, they may not find a place to do their sessions on open mat days. This is particularly important if you work regular 9 to 5 jobs.
The ratio of the facility’s mat area to member number should be big enough so you can train anytime.
When this is the case, the rent is more and the electricity, cleaning prices also increase. And the gym needs to have more equipment and these add up as well.
Alright, everyone knows some certain gyms like Title, Gracie and these gyms may have fixed prices. The advantage of these gyms is that these are popular and tend to have at least average quality equipment. Also, many of the instructors are well known in the industry. But the disadvantage is that the prices of these gyms are higher than the average.
With that being said, even though you get some certain quality from those gyms you should definitely check out other gym’s quality. Because the chances (%99) are you can generally find a better MMA gym, which is not famous and has lower cost like I have done several times in the past.
The length of the contract also is a factor for determining the price. Obviously, you need to be %100 sure about the gym before you sign a contract. If you don’t move and travel like I do frequently and actually live in a place for more than a couple of months, I don’t see why you don’t sign a one year or longer contracts. So the contract has a lower price.
Note: With that being said, you may take a vacation for a couple weeks, months or you might hurt yourself and can’t train. If these happen, you don’t want your membership to continue because you may not be able to roll on mats, grapple for a long period of time. Ask whether you can freeze the membership or not.
Check out the following guides which talk about how to assess the quality of a proper gym.
Type MMA gyms near me or Jiu-Jitsu gyms near me in Google. Then find forums which talk about these gyms. You can also add “review” after a gym name as many bloggers write about their own experiences with the gym.
After you find a gym(s) your work is not over. Find out what the current training routines are and whether it is suitable for your needs or not.
MMA gyms need to offer a variety of martial arts. Let’s say that a gym has trainers which focus only on BJJ and wrestling. Another one has trainers for BJJ, wrestling, Muay Thai, Krav Maga, and boxing. Considering that the instructors’ expertise is close, there are more expert instructors, which get way higher salaries, in the second gym. Also, the latter gym needs to have more equipment than the first one like speed bags. These also add up. Obviously, you are more likely to be a complete MMA fighter in that gym so that gym will be pricier.
Local MMA gyms are not likely to have this variety as these just can’t cover the expenses, the salary of these instructors. Because there generally is not enough students in these classes. When this is the case there is a fewer different type of classes in those gyms. So it can be argued that “big city” MMA gyms might be better when it comes to the return of investment.
Alright, I try to avoid giving examples as I have been living in Asia for several years and it costs a lot less than the MMA gyms in the USA or Europe.
However, here are some cost examples from past years. These are not only my experiences but I also added people’s comments on forums and my site as well. In addition to that, I don’t know whether these gyms still exist or not and obviously you can expect to pay higher rates.
The Center Martial Arts Bridgeport, Ct. cost 100 dollars a few years ago and jiu-jitsu classes were excellent back then. It had several martial arts disciplines including Muay Thai.
Mendes Bros was around 150 dollars in Southern California 4 years ago. It had relatively bigger facilities and generally, it had a lot of members.
Carlos Machado RCJ Headquarters (Dallas) cost around 170 dollars per month 3 years ago. However, it offered unlimited classes.
Gracie Academy cost 160 dollars in 2017.
Alright, the following examples are in New York. As I mentioned above the price of gyms increase significantly in those cities like New York and the following gyms are no exception. Marcelo’s School was around 250 dollars and Rickson’s was around 300 dollars per month 3 years ago.
How Much do Private Martial Lessons Cost?
There are black belts in big cities who charge 20 dollars per hour.
However, if you want to take private MMA lessons from an instructor, who is an expert at several martial arts, you can expect to pay double of this amount.
Honestly, even though it can be extremely beneficial to learn martial arts one on one with a good instructor it is out of the price range of many people including me.
And not everyone has a disposable income to afford a membership for a higher end MMA training facility or from a black belt jiu-jitsu instructor.
How to Get Cheaper Rates?
As you can clearly see MMA gyms are not cheap at all. It is actually becoming a rich man’s sport. Not only gyms, but private lessons also cost a lot and in addition to these, you need to buy extra martial arts gears like a heavy bag for private lessons.
Negotiate: Yes, you can actually negotiate even if a gym is a commercial one. You can pay upfront and get a discount or just say that you want to consider your options nearby. It is quite likely that the gym knows the prices of other martial arts gyms nearby and can offer you a better deal.
You can also ask whether they have discounts for students or not at that time.
Extra Tips: If you want to get a better deal, you can offer to do something for the gym. For example, I used to clean mats a day per week and I was able to get a 90 dollars discount. However, this is generally the case with local MMA gyms as commercial, franchise gyms have regulations and probably can’t give you this kind of deal. Also, when you get to an intermediate or advanced level in a martial arts discipline you can partner up with the students and teach them stuff. However, your best bet is again the local gyms for this.
The Conclusive Thoughts
This writing is relatively long but it can extend a lot more as the cost of MMA, BJJ gyms is such a broad topic and there are many factors to talk about. However, the price is not always correlated with the quality. Before signing an MMA, BJJ gym contract you need to decide whether the gym is worth joining or not. I am pretty sure that you can find at least a review online in 2018 so if you do your research well, you are less likely to get ripped off.
If you want to share your martial arts gym fees or have any thoughts about the topic, feel free to drop a comment below!
Sources: Sherdog (forum)