The UFC Opens Its First Gym
Last week, the UFC opened the doors of a first-of-its-kind, UFC Gym in Concord, California. The 40,000 square foot super-gym started things off with style, hosting a variety of UFC fighters such as Chuck Liddell and John Fitch, as well as UFC president Dana White for a grand opening celebration. With over 3,500 people signing up for memberships in the first week, the new venture seems to be off and running. The UFC gym capitalizes on the rapid growth of mixed martial arts (MMA) and personal fitness. Combining standard weight training and cardio regimens with MMA training, along with the UFC brand attached to it, provides a great niche market to capitalize on and presents an experience that is second to none for someone looking to branch out of their normal exercise routines.
Dana White describes the new UFC Gym as not being a “fighters gym.” What he means by this is that people who might be interested in learning Muay Thai kick boxing but may be intimidated by going to a Muay Thai gym can feel comfortable learning at the UFC Gym, where they can learn with other people who are taking a more casual approach, as well. With an Octagon available for classes as well as more unconventional training such as the “caveman workout,” which involves truck tires and sledge hammers, this gym seems to have all of its bases covered for every commitment level. Also, where I think the gym will thrive is with its youth training section geared towards kids, which involves the technology to keep things interesting for them while learning martial arts and practicing fitness. There are all types of equipment in the gym too from punching bags like the BOB punching bag from Century to weightlifting stations.
I happen to think this is a great business venture for the UFC from both a fan’s perspective as well as a business perspective. Capitalizing on a niche market in a multi-billion dollar per year industry isn’t always an option, and I think the UFC has done a great job recognizing the need for something like this. A spokesperson for the UFC has gone on record stating that they hope to open as many as 10 of these gyms nationwide in 2010 with possible locations in Toronto and Hawaii.
As I am writing this, I wonder if the NFL possibly missed out on an opportunity to throw its hat into the fitness industry. I think that the UFC is in a special place because while working out like a UFC fighter can sound pretty intense, starting at a beginner level is more interesting and useful towards fitness than anything else. It is hard for me to picture NFL combine training at anything less than full speed for people looking for a little bit of a change to their normal routines. The NFL, I suppose, is better suited with programs such as Play 60 which is geared towards children, or player-run football camps, but I do believe with the right business plan could possibly make a splash if they ever wanted to.
It will be interesting to monitor the success of this new venture and to see if it expands into other products such as health supplements, like whey protein powder uk, or home workout equipment. For the moment though, I definitely like my neighborhood gym a lot less.
Check out a video of the UFC Gym here.
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