UFC announces major expansion in Asia

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UFC Hall of Famer and VP of athlete development, Forrest Griffin will play a big role in the initiative.

Ahead of its debut event in Beijing, the UFC has announced big plans to expand its business across the great Asia region.

A new 93,000 square-foot UFC Performance Institute will open in Shanghai in 2019 to serve as an elite athlete training and performance hub to develop and support MMA athletes from mainland China and the greater Asia-Pacific region.

UFC will also utilise the building as its headquarters in Asia, housing UFC employees and UFC Performance Institute staff, including experts in the fields of MMA, strength and conditioning, sports science, physical therapy and nutrition.

The announcement comes as UFC brings its first-ever event to Beijing this week. UFC Fight Night Beijing: BLAYDES vs. NGANNOU 2 will be held at the Cadillac Arena on Saturday, 24 November.

UFC says it is laying the foundations for the sport in China for the next several decades.

UFC Performance Institute Shanghai will also have built-in advanced production capabilities with spectator seating that will allow UFC to produce and distribute live events and other original programming.

Additional features will include hospitality suites, dining, retail services and a fan experience area.

When completed, the multi-million-dollar facility will be around three times the size of the original UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.

“I could not be more excited about the UFC Performance Institute opening in Shanghai,” UFC president Dana White said in a press statement.

“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 at our headquarters in Las Vegas, right there in China. This is another game changer for the sport, UFC, and potential athletes throughout Asia.”

Athlete Development

UFC Performance Institute Shanghai will serve as a catalyst for athlete development in Asia, aiming to rapidly accelerate the skill level and UFC-readiness of mixed martial artists in the region. A full MMA coaching staff will implement a sport-specific training system developed in consultation with former UFC light heavyweight champion, UFC Hall of Famer, and current UFC Vice President of Athlete Development, Forrest Griffin. This integrated, inter-disciplinary combat sports performance team will offer an unparalleled level of support to athletes.

UFC opened the first UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas in 2017 as the world’s first MMA multi-disciplinary research, innovation, and training center.

Through the first 17 months of operation, over 400 athletes on the UFC roster have utilized the facility and the services provided remotely. In addition, several dozen NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and Olympic sports athletes have visited the facility for support during their off-season training.

In June 2018, the UFC Performance Institute unveiled the first-ever comprehensive study of the sport of MMA entitled “A Cross-Sectional Performance Analysis and Projection of the UFC Athlete.” The findings examined more than 30,000 performance metrics and data points to reveal the best approach to train and prepare for MMA competition.

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