Information on finding fights, getting on cards and promoting yourself as a fighter…

24-year-old Muay Thai fighter Ashley Altman, (6 wins, 7 losses; 2006 WAKO US Lightweight division title; 2007 TBA-SA North American Bantamweight title) is self-promoted. What this means is that she doesn’t rely on a gym or a manager to book fights for her and supervise her training.

In the world of kickboxing, Muay Thai and MMA, this is pretty rare. Starting out, unless your coach or gym manager wants to take you on as a project, it can be hard starting out.

Then, a bit later, once you have a bit of experience, it’s not always easy to find good match-ups, especially for women. 

“Sure, no problemo :)”, says Altman, when I ask her to share with us how she’s managed to swing self-promotion. Here are some Q and A with the fighter…

Q.)Why did you choose to self-promote rather than going through a trainer or promoter?

After I’d been training for about a year I brought it up with the owner of my gym that I was interested in doing my first fight, he agreed to do so and a few weeks later one was lined up for me. After talking with my opponent’s trainer about who I was getting myself matched up with I learn that she’s had about 20 fights and won several national titles. She also happened to be about 5″ taller. When I bring this up with my gym owner he just tells me I should have no problem with her since most girl fighters, even national champs, aren’t any good anyway.

Lucky for me, the opponents get switched and I end up fighting a girl with seemingly no training at all who I put down in under a minute of the first round. The fight was in a run-down theatre with a garden hose for ring ropes and an audience of maybe 20 people, but I wasn’t going to complain as it was my first fight and that’s how you get started. I also found out the day of my fight that I wasn’t going to have a corner because no one could be bothered to take the time out of their schedule, despite the venue only being a 3-hour drive from my gym.

It was a rather disappointing victory since the girl basically went down without a fight, so I was eager to get another match and make up for it. Time goes by and there seems to be no interest in getting me another fight, so after a while, I and my girlfriend/training partner decide to take matters into our own hands, start scouring the different kickboxing/female fighting message boards for fight opportunities and getting in contact with promoters around the US.

Q: How do you handle training? Do you have a coach that follows you? Who’s your corner person?

For a while, the place I trained at didn’t have much in the way of kickboxing instruction going on. I started off doing a fairly basic muay thai class and training with a great boxing coach for about the first 6 months of my training career, and then the boxing coach left and the muay thai class became more of an MMA class. My girlfriend and I have always been gym rats, though, so we just kept training each other, spending hours at the gym sparring and doing our own bag and pad work and this basically became how we did things for a while. Getting training from good coaches where we could find it, but mostly being our own 2 woman fight team.

We moved states and joined a different gym and started training with a very experienced coach who gave us great training, but turned out to be somewhat unreliable, offered little guidance, and eventually there was a big falling out. We changed gyms again and at this point were fairly jaded with the idea of working with another coach so mainly just did our own thing. After sticking with my current gym for a while I eventually got to know a very good muay thai coach, Phillip Botha, who inspired me to start training with other people again, and I’ve basically stuck with him as my primary kickboxing trainer. Now I’ve also caught the attention of another very good boxing coach who I do personal training with in addition to my kickboxing training. Up to this point, my girlfriend has been my only corner person, save for a few times when other fighters/coaches at the events have volunteered for the job. I do plan on changing this, however, for my future fights.

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