UFC Gets Into The Gym Business

January 27, 2009

In what can be seen as extending out their brand (or going outside their core competence) the UFC announced today that they will be entering the health club business:

UFC Gym officials said they are close to breaking ground on the first of five health clubs planned in California, and plan to build more such gyms across the country and in Canada.

“We’re going to force all these other gyms to take it up to another level,” UFC President Dana White told The Associated Press on Monday. “Just like we have in the fight business, and everyone’s trying to compete with us now, same thing’s going to happen in the fitness industry.”

White said most gyms and health clubs haven’t changed in years, giving the mixed martial arts league an opportunity to attract new fitness customers or others wanting to get different kinds of workouts under the same roof. The gyms aren’t intended for professional or amateur fighters.

The move shouldn’t be a big surprise. The UFC have felt that various parts of the gym/training business have been reaping the benefits of the mixed martial arts explosion that the UFC claims credit for. Joe Silva spoke with Florida Todayand commented on the Zuffa mindset of others capitalizing off Zuffa’s rise to prominence:

“What’s the new hook that we can get people into the dojos with?” Silva said of an attitude that has disgusted him in the past. “Now you have Tae Kwon Do schools and they (say), ‘Yeah, we have grappling.’ ” They’re looking to appeal to the consumer, and the consumer is watching UFC on TV, on Spike TV and on pay-per-view.”

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