Does MMA Have Belts? | Explained
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Does Mixed Martial Arts Have Belts?
The simple answer is no, MMA does not have belts, but are rather split into three categories: Amateur fighters, Professional fighters & Hobbyist fighters. A hobbyist has every intention of learning martial arts for different reasons, but do not have the intent to compete. Amateur & professional fighters will both step into the ring against another opponent to test themselves.
Not all amateur fighters become professional fighters, but almost all professional fighters are amateur fighters ate one point in time.
Fighting in the amateur ranks allows fighters to hone their skills, and gain experience against other similar-leveled opponents, without the spotlight or pressure that professional fighters endure.
A notable brief MMA fighter who skipped the amateur ranks and went directly into the UFC due to his notoriety is CM Punk.
Unfortunately for him, he would be gaining that experience (that is normally gained in the amateur ranks) in the spotlight. His unpolished skills were evident and it would show in his performance as well as his record.
CM Punk would finish his MMA career 0-1-1.
Jackson's Belt Ranking System
There is one MMA belt ranking system that was developed a decade ago, but not much has been known about it since that time.
Greg Jackson, the long time coach of one of the greatest MMA fighters Jon Jones created his own MMA belt ranking system. This ranking system combines all of the martial arts including Jiu Jitsu, Judo as well as striking martial arts, and uses a white belt to black belt ranking system.
“This is Greg Jackson's belt. I mean his style has his own deal, he had his own name for it, but we just kind of switched it to Jackson's MMA,” said Kottenstette. “This is a Jackson's MMA belt. You have jiu-jitsu, judo, and all the other forms, but Greg's system is very effective and this is just sort of the premier testing platform for a belt system, that has guidelines all the way to the top, all the way to black belts.”
This was created in 2012, and whether it has evolved and/or is still being used is unknown.