Before joining a new academy you will surely ask yourself, how much does MMA / BJJ gym membership cost? The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. No two gyms are equal and every gym offers a unique experience.
In my experience BJJ and MMA classes tend to be more expensive than other martial arts such as Judo and Karate. This is because the head coach is often a full time gym owner and BJJ/MMA schools tend to offer a lot more classes. In general, the bigger the gym, the higher the cost of membership.
Some of the factors that can impact BJJ/MMA pricing includes:
How many classes does the gym offer per week?
Is listed price include full or limited membership?
What are the teacher’s qualification?
Does academy have multiple locations where you can train?
Quality of the facilities?
Do you pay monthly, yearly, weekly, or by class?
We have calculated the average cost of BJJ/MMA membership at $160 per month. This figure is average price of 7 sample academies that publicly display their prices. We looked at both MMA and BJJ academies in our sample and they range in small to large in size. Some examples are included below:
About: One of the top academies in the world for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Gym contains multiple world champion athletes and instructors. The head coach is one of the greatest BJJ competitors of all time. Classes run 6 days a week from 6.15am. Excellent facilities, and easily accessible location in San Diego. Prices are in line with other top class academies in California.
About: Detroit based gym owned by a 2nd degree blackbelt with over 18 years’ of experience in BJJ. The gym is IBJJF certified and offers a good range of classes. They also offer a kickboxing class. Over 6500 sq. ft facility.
Head Instructor: Jason Dent (MMA fighter and UFC veteran)
Location: Mentor, Ohio
Membership type: Full
About: Gym is owned and run by Jason Dent, a former Ultimate fighter contestant. The gym offers classes in MMA, BJJ, wrestling, boxing, and Muay Thai. Facilities include a 20′ x 20′ MMA Cage.
Head Coach reputation/qualification
Every BJJ or MMA gym has a head coach. The head coach may be the founder of the gym and will typically own some if not all of the business.
In MMA and BJJ the qualification of the instructor matters. For example, BJJ/MMA gyms that are run and owned by high level ex-competitors tend to be more expensive than the average dojo. These gyms benefit from the quality of experience and knowledge that the head instructor has accumulated. This is usually reflected in the price of membership.
In theory there is nothing to stop a BJJ blue belt from setting up their own gym. However the quality of the teaching at this gym will not be comparable to a black belt instructor who may have 20+ years of experience.
So before joining any BJJ or MMA gym take the time to look up the instructor. Try and find out what their background is and compare their qualification with other gyms. E.g: are they are a BJJ black belt and from whom did they receive the belt? Is owning and teaching the gym the full time job of the head coach?
A full membership package usually means that a student can attend an unlimited amount of classes per week. The amount of classes that an academy runs depends on demand and is usually an indicator of the overall size of the gym.
Large gyms will have classes on 6-7 days per week in the mornings and evenings. This means that there is nearly always a class to fit your schedule. Many of the big gyms even offer classes before 8am in order to allow people to train before work.
Other smaller gyms will not have the same demand for classes and may only offer classes in the evening and weekends. The price of membership should reflect the more limited options for training.
In addition to scheduled classes many academies also offer open mats. These are set times in the week where there is no organized instruction and students can come and train by themselves or with whoever else shows up.
The type and variety of classes will also play a factor in the gym cost. A larger variety of classes often means that there are more instructors required to teach the classes. This is more people to be paid and is usually reflected in the membership pricing.
MMA gyms tend to have a lot more variety. For example the average MMA gym may offer BJJ, MMA, kickboxing, wrestling, and conditioning classes over the course of one week. Some gyms may choose to offer tiered membership that depends on the type of class that a student does. E.g $120 per month (BJJ classes only).
The location of the gym is always a major factor in the pricing of membership. A central location in a city with a large population will always have higher higher costs. Marcelo Garcia and Renzo Gracie HQ are both located in central Manhattan. As a result you can expect to pay a higher membership fee than a gym that is located in the suburbs due to the high rent that these gyms presumably pay.
Gym accessibility will also factor into BJJ and MMA gym membership cost.
Many BJJ and MMA academies may also own other affiliate gyms or else be part of a wider network of gyms. In some cases your membership of your academy may allow you to also train at another location.
Nice facilities do not necessarily mean that it is a good gym. Some of the best gyms I have trained at have had very basic facilities. The gym atmosphere, ethos, and teaching is what really determines the quality of the academy.
However if you are paying $200 of your hard earned cash every month, you would surely like to be able to take a shower after training. Depending on where you live it is also a good idea to check if the gym has AC. Many gyms are located in warehouse and buildings that are very cold in the winter and very hot in the Summer. Training in a Gi in high humidity zones with no AC may not bother everyone but I am not a fan.
Here are some of the other factors that will impact the cost of membership:
Kids BJJ/MMA Membership cost
Most gyms will also offer a kids/teens membership package which is usually at a lower rate than a full adult membership. This is because there are less classes that kids can attend. Kids and teens classes often take place at off peak times which leaves the mat free for adults in the peak times (evenings, weekends).
The competition for kids membership is very high as there are so many other sports and activities for kids and parents from which to choose. BJJ and MMA academies know that having a strong kids team is important as these students are likely to stay members for life.
Breaking Grips has calculated the average kids membership at $75 – $120 per month
The cost of BJJ and MMA membership tends to be a little cheaper outside of the USA. This is most likely down to many different cultural and economic factors. Based on our research here is a rough estimate of costs in some other regions:
Brazil: $50 -$70 per month
Australia: $150 per month
UK: $100 – $160 per month
There will be a couple of things you need to purchase before you start MMA or BJJ. If the BJJ gym is predominantly a Gi gym you will need to purchase a Gi and a belt. There are plenty of budget options out there but the average Gi costs approx $90. If the classes you wish to attend are nogi then you will need a compression rashguard and suitable shorts.
Depending on the training you plan on doing you may require other gear. This gear can be acquired over time and is not necessarily needed on day one. Common BJJ & MMA gear includes:
Most BJJ and MMA gyms will typically host seminars during the course of the year. The seminars are usually delivered by a visiting high level competitor/coach. Often the person giving the seminar will be affiliated through to the gym in some way or may even be the head coaches teacher.
Seminars tend to be optional but in some gyms I have attended there is an expectation that students will attend. The cost of a seminar can range from $30 – $150 and is collected in advance or paid on the day.
Travel is a factor that is often overlooked when considering the cost of MMA and BJJ. Depending on where you live you may have to undertake a long journey to get to the gym. When you are doing this journey 2-3 times per week the cost of travel can really add up. When looking at a prospective MMA or BJJ gym try and factor in the cost of fuel, tolls, parking and other fares that you can expect to pay in a normal gym commute.
Depending on how your training is going you may decide that you want to compete to test your skills. Competing in BJJ and MMA is one of the most fun aspects of the sports but be warned, it can be expensive.
In BJJ competitions usually have an entry fee. The IBJJF is the premier organisation for BJJ comps and the entry fee is around $100 per competition. This is after you have paid the yearly membership. Other competitions tend to charge less but are still not cheap. Unless you live in a major city you will also have to pay travel costs and accommodation if you want to attend the major competitions.
There are some MMA competitions that charge for entry but it is more rare. However many MMA organisations are beginning to insist that fighters (amateur and professionals) do medicals before they compete. Depending on the promotion this may mean getting bloods done and undergoing a CT scan. The cost of these medicals is sometimes paid for by the fighters themselves.
BJJ and MMA are two of the fastest growing sports in the world. New gyms are popping up every day. However not all gyms offer the same experience and the price of membership may reflect this fact. It is worth taking the time to do a bit of research into the gyms you are considering before you hand over your cash.
By comparing the facilities and staff at a gym you will get quickly get an idea of the best option for you.
Like any new hobby BJJ and MMA can be expensive. However they both have the ability to transform your life and if you stick with it you are likely to make friends for life. This makes any membership fee feel like great value.