UFC to open MMA center in Shanghai
UFC will open the “UFC Performance Institute” — a mixed martial arts training and development center — in Shanghai next year, the world’s leading MMA organization announced yesterday.
The institute, located on Wenshui Road in Jing’an District, will serve as a training hub to develop and support MMA athletes from China and the greater Asia-Pacific region.
Taking up a space of 9,000 square meters, the institute will be built on an obsolete industrial structure with an investment of US$13 million. It will be three times the size of the original UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
“UFC Performance Institute Shanghai demonstrates UFC’s strong commitment to China and our significant investment in the Asia-Pacific region,” UFC Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein said in Shanghai. “The facilities will give us the ability to train the next generation of Chinese MMA stars, and allow fans to interact with our brand in an authentic way.”
The institute, to be opened in mid-2019, will have two octagons, a boxing ring and facilities like hypoxic lab, cryotherapy chamber, underwater treadmill, floatation tank, etc. It will serve as the US-based UFC’s headquarters in Asia, housing its employees and experts in the field of MMA, sports science, physical therapy and nutrition.
A full MMA coaching staff will implement a training regime developed in consultation with former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin, who is also a UFC Hall of Famer and current UFC vice president of athlete development.
Live events and other original programming will be organized and produced at the institute.
UFC held a competition in Shanghai last year, and will visit Beijing for the first time this Saturday.
There are currently about 10 Chinese athletes on its roster and the number is expected to grow fast with UFC’s approach to the China market.
“Half of UFC’s competitions and market are out of the US, and the Chinese market is among the top five,” said Epstein. “It’s a country with martial arts culture and great economic potential, and that’s why we picked Shanghai to build the institute.”