The Ultimate Fighting Championship have announced that they will be beginning the construction of a mammoth performance institute in Shanghai, with hopes of giving a boost to the promotion of Mixed Martial Arts in Asia.
This will be the second of its kind, with the original being situated in Las Vegas, Nevada. The biggest names in the sport have based their training camps in the UFC: PI, including Kevin Lee, Francis Ngannou, and most notably, Conor McGregor. The Performance Institute coming to Shanghai, however, is set to dwarf the original. The state-of-the-art facility is planned to span more than 93,000 square feet and will cost around $13 million, costing millions of dollars per year to operate.
The original UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, opened in 2016, cost $14 million to construct. It was originally planned to be primarily used by fighters as an aid to their strength and conditioning, physical therapy, nutrition, rehabilitation amongst many other things. The new Shanghai training facility, more than three times as big as the original, will be mostly looking to aid development of up and coming fighters in Asia. Talented prospects coming from nearby will be able to receive scholarships from the UFC, the plan being to prepare the fighters to compete at the highest level on the biggest shows. Current UFC athletes will also be allowed to use the facility at their leisure.
In a statement from Dana White, the UFC President said: “I could not be more excited about the UFC Performance Institute opening in Shanghai. We know there is a ton of talent throughout Asia and now we will be able to find them and offer them all the incredible training, nutrition and physical therapy that UFC Fighters are getting in the Performance Institute in Las Vegas, right there in China. This is another game changer for the sport, UFC and potential athletes throughout Asia.”
Construction of the Shanghai facility is already underway, set to open in early-to-mid 2019. The colossal building will not only be to facilitate the fighters’ training, but it will also be the UFC’s base of operations in China, housing executives and staff. The facility will have the necessary technologies on site to create and broadcast original programming and even play host to UFC events.
Exciting times for the UFC moving forward, its certain that MMA hopefuls from Asia will be licking their lips at the prospect of impressing the UFC and earning a spot to train at the most elite facility in the world.
The UFC: PI’s Vice President of Performance, Duncan French said: “We’re somewhat jealous of the Shanghai facility for its size and capabilities. The Shanghai facility will be part of the greater Performance Institute ecosystem and give us the ability to aggregate more data and gain more information.”
The decision to create such an impressive and expensive facility in China was a well calculated one, in an attempt to expand into an ever-expanding market. UFC Hall of Famer and UFC Vice President of Athlete Development, Forrest Griffin stated that a massive 36 million people openly identify as fans of UFC in the region, based on internal data.
The next step in the worldwide growth of the UFC remains to be seen. However, the goal has always been to expand the company and continue to have top-level institutes popping up around the world. We don’t know how many countries will have a Performance Institute built, but its safe to assume that this is only the beginning.