High School Wrestling Participation Growing

February 2, 2010

MMAPayout.com has made references to the steady growth of martial arts facilities and participation in the United States over the last few years; a trend that many feel correlates with the rise of mixed martial arts and the UFC. We’re now seeing even more encouraging news out of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSH), which has released a series of surveys over the last few years that shows the number of amateurs wrestlers in the country is growing.

2006-2007: 257,266
2007-2008: 259,688
2008-2009: 267,378

Granted, this is in contrast to the decline in amateur wrestling that we’re seeing at the college level, but that is largely the result of Title IX striving for gender equality. Programs dominated by men, but without serious revenue generating potential – like wrestling – are being cut in order to the balance athletic scholarships provided for men and women.

Tapout Expands Training Facilities

January 20, 2010

CNNMoney.com reports that Tapout has expanded its line of training facilities by opening two new fitness centers away from the Las Vegas area; one in Gatineau, Quebec and the other in Boston, Massachusetts.

Truesport Alliances, Ltd. has cultivated an unparalleled client base consisting of the top MMA brands, including TapouT, the premier mixed martial arts apparel, gear and lifestyle brand. With the MMA culture quickly becoming a standard in sports excellence, TapouT Training Centers will offer a full complement of MMA training and classes open to the public.

 

The TapouT Training Centers will be the third and fourth stand alone fitness facilities of its kind to be built by the company, whose brand has become synonymous with the attitude and prominence of mixed martial arts. TapouT’s distinctive, authentic logo graces everything from clothing, accessories, and gear, to nutrition products and a magazine, as it does within the training center.

 

Designed for everyone at all fitness levels, the TapouT Training Center is predominately a class based fitness facility with a full schedule that features a spectrum of MMA themed training. In addition to a broad spectrum of martial arts instruction, the majority of the cardio/fitness classes are non-contact.

Payout Perspective:

The time to get into the MMA fitness facility business would appear to be now. The statistics point to something near 26,000 martial arts facilities in the United States, which is a number that grows every month along with new memberships and participation. Much like the UFC, Tapout sees an opportunity to license their brand in order to build it.

The only risk I see is that of any licensing venture: the commitment has to be there on the licensee side, because the threat of brand damage to the licensor is very real if expectations are not met. New members looking to enroll at a Tapout will come in with a certain set of expectations given the brand name. It looks like Tapout goes through a pretty rigorous screening process – as any potential licensor should – but nonetheless this isn’t a risk-free cash grab for Tapout.

MMAterial Facts (01/19/10)

January 19, 2010

  • Lesnar’s likely return tops busy UFC agenda
  • Truesport Alliances, Ltd. Opens TapouT Training Centers in Gatineau, Quebec and Boston, Mass.
  • Martial arts athletes to visit area in fight against drug usage
  • MotoUSA Heads to Big Apple for New York IMS
  • NY Governor Introduces MMA Bill with State Budget Proposal

Lesnar’s likely return tops busy UFC agenda

Lesnar is scheduled to appear on ESPN on Wednesday morning to discuss his situation with diverticulitis, which forced him to cancel a Nov. 21 title defense, hospitalized him for two weeks, and has kept him on the sidelines ever since.

Lesnar will likely announce his return, possibly with a time frame. In the past week, two of Lesnar’s coaches – Greg Nelson and Marty Morgan – have said Lesnar would be returning, hinting it would be soon but saying they couldn’t confirm when. Others close to the situation have noted it has not been an easy decision for Lesnar to make; without having major surgery, there is a risk of another painful attack.

…The issue was whether he would need, or it would be advisable, to get surgery on his intestine, which would keep him out of action for more than a year. Such a lengthy absence would force him to vacate the heavyweight championship.

Another change made is in arguably UFC’s biggest fight on the books at this point: the Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Rashad Evans match built on the last season of “The Ultimate Fighter” with the two as rival coaches. The match will likely take place at UFC 114 on May 29 in Las Vegas instead of the originally announced UFC 113 show on May 1 in Montreal. UFC president Dana White said in a text message Tuesday morning that Jackson vs. Evans will most likely take place in Vegas… (Yahoo! Sports)

Truesport Alliances, Ltd. Opens TapouT Training Centers in Gatineau, Quebec and Boston, Massachusetts

Truesport Alliances, Ltd. (OTCBB: SEWE) is officially opening the doors of the new TapouT Training Center in Gatineau, Quebec and Boston, Massachusetts.

Truesport Alliances, Ltd. has cultivated an unparalleled client base consisting of the top MMA brands, including TapouT, the premier mixed martial arts apparel, gear and lifestyle brand. With the MMA culture quickly becoming a standard in sports excellence, TapouT Training Centers will offer a full complement of MMA training and classes open to the public.

The TapouT Training Centers will be the third and fourth stand alone fitness facilities of its kind to be built by the company, whose brand has become synonymous with the attitude and prominence of mixed martial arts. TapouT’s distinctive, authentic logo graces everything from clothing, accessories, and gear, to nutrition products and a magazine, as it does within the training center…(CNN Money)

Martial arts athletes to visit area in fight against drug usage

Three professional mixed martial arts athletes will be in the area today and Thursday to encourage young adults to stay away from drugs, establish goals in life and continue their education so they can become productive citizens and successful professionals.

The athletes were brought to the area through the efforts of Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III and his cousin, Mark Gross, a Coal Township native who now lives in North Carolina, “Crazy Bob” Cook, a former undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter who also serves as a trainer, coach and fight team manager at the renowned American Kick Boxing Academy in San Jose, Calif.

Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, UFC competitors from Fort Wayne, Ind., and Josh Koscheck of Waynesburg, respectively, will be appearing at 9 p.m. today at Sees’ M.A.T.S., located at the former Magic River Skateland on Route 15 , Danville.

The athletes also will address students at Shamokin Area Middle/High School at 1 p.m. Thursday, and will participate in a special ceremony that will honor them as “honorary police officers” at the Coal Township Board of Commissioners meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday. After the meeting, the trio will head to Brewser’s SportsGrille to continue spreading their message of eradicating drugs through education, hard work and setting an example for others… (Newsitem)

MotoUSA Heads to Big Apple for New York IMS

From the cruiser domain, Harley-Davidson is scheduled to make an announcement, Victory will be unveiling a limited edition motorcycle, and Star Motorcycles is breaking wraps on a Performance Machine Star Raider. For custom motorcycle fans, the Bikes & Beats Ultimate Builder Competition presented by TapouT will attract plenty of East Coast talent to the show, and Hardcore Choppers is set to debut its Datasol Speedster “iBike.” Hardcore will also have other customs on hand like its ‘P-40 Warhawk’ Special Edition Speedster and the ‘Bat Bike.’ Just look for the ‘Hardcore Hotties’ and you’ll know you’re in the right place.

To add to the show’s entertainment value, UFC fighters Roy Nelson, Jens Pulver and Rolles Gracie will be on hand to meet fans at the TapouT Champions Area this Friday night. If racing is more your cup of tea, Marlboro Ducati rider and former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden will be at the Ducati display Friday at 7 p.m., and AMA Drag Racing champion Rickey Gadson is scheduled to be at the Kawasaki booth… (Motorcycle USA)

NY Governor Introduces MMA Bill with State Budget Proposal

Jake Encarnacao of Sherdog.com reports that New York Governor David Paterson has unveiled his state budget proposal for the up-coming fiscal calendar and it includes a bill that would effectively re-instate MMA in New York…

The gate tax is really quite high, which suggests this push to legalize the sport is more of a money grab than a recognition of MMA’s legitimacy. Moreover, the difference in tax levels between New York and neighboring states may provide smaller promoters – those which do not benefit from the status appeal of hosting a show in the Big Apple, for example – with the incentive to take their shows to states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or even Rhode Island… (MMAPayout Perspective)

QUICK HITS

  • UFC Primetime: GSP vs. Hardy (MMAPayout Perspective)
  • Werdum vs. Fedor “99% confirmed” in April (Tatame Magazine)
  • Ambriz out as Lashley opponent, officials at “square one” on replacement (MMAJunkie)
  • Overlooked and Overshadowed, Greg Nagy Ready for Herschel Walker (MMAFighting)
  • AKA Teammates Insist Herschel Walker Is Ready for MMA Debut (MMAFighting)
  • UFC: Exclusive Paul Daley earns new six-fight deal and faces US wrestler Koscheck (Telegraph)
  • Coenen: I can go strike-for-strike with women’s champ ‘Cyborg’ Santos (USA Today)
  • WEC fighter urges fans to aid Haiti survivors (Las Vegas Sun)
  • Remembering Bob Shamrock (ESPN)
  • After title loss, Diego Sanchez returning to UFC’s welterweight division (MMAJunkie)
  • UFC signs Rick Story to new four-fight deal (MMAJunkie)
  • MMA fighters teach Marines skills for combat (Marine Corps times)
  • Source: Ninja Rua fighting for DREAM in March (Fighters Only Magazine)
  • Nam Phan in Title Fight, Eyeing Return to Japan (MMAWeekly)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Asian GP 2008) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • InsideMMA (Ed Soares, Jose Aldo, Jon Fitch, & Randy Couture) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of 2009 K-1 World MAX at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/22/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on TBD (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)

New Jersey a Growing MMA Hotbed

January 4, 2010

Joe Favorito of New Jersey News Room, and formerly of the IFL, writes of the challenges MMA faces in its future growth and how New Jersey is well-positioned to be a hotbed for the sport moving forward.

The question is, how can brands find a way to make a cohesive tie to the grassroots while also drawing attention from the followers of the UFC? That is one of the issues that the sport needs to figure out if it is to continue to grow.

The conversion of young participants in a lifestyle sport to be followers of the professional side is generational and, in today’s world of instant ROI, can be difficult to find. Soccer, with its well organized millions of kids, still is making the transition to have those young people watch and follow the professional side after 15 years, and it may take MMA at least that long to do the same.

There is also the issue of violence. While many may argue that MMA is no more violent than football or hockey, the amount of bloody injuries in an average MMA event is still much higher than any other sport – and to be honest, the blood gives MMA its edgy appeal for most of its core. The appeal has also caused some potential sponsors still to not move off the edge and into the sport, for fear of brand damage. Yes that is slowly changing, in great part due to the UFC and their TV partner in Spike, but it is a slow conversion, especially in challenging times.

So can New Jersey be a great conduit for the continued growth of MMA? For the most part professional events have not done well from a business perspective in places like Newark and Atlantic City, again because of the high cost of staging events vs. the limited draw of a box office with no other revenue coming in (limited sponsors, no TV money, little value of digital rights). However, New Jersey has the unique combination that many sports need to succeed… a growing grassroots presence with the appeal of two major metropolitan areas in Philly and New York, so the potential for brand success for the sport overall, not just for the UFC, is strong.

Will it work for the State? There is little doubt the UFC event in Newark will be a success, and maybe that can continue the draw that would translate across the river to Madison Avenue, as well as into the local gyms. 2010 for MMA will be all about realizing potential that has been developing, and if it is to be realized, New Jersey is as good as a starting point as anywhere.

Payout Perspective:

Joe is right to point out that the lifestyle and training aspects of the sport are becoming very popular: There are over 26,000 martial arts facilities in the United States, and participation is growing at a steady pace. That growth is the reason why the UFC has moved forward with its UFC Gym concept; the type of brand extension that makes sense not only from a revenue diversification perspective, but also one of future fan base growth.

The challenge of converting grassroots participation into brand awareness and fan following is a long-term endeavour – especially on the athlete side – but MMA is well-positioned to generate new fans out of this grassroots growth for the following reasons:

1.) The close knit martial arts community: MMA is largely responsible for the renewed interest in martial arts, and for that reason the traditional martial arts are very much behind MMA. If you walk into your local dojo on any given Monday following a UFC event you’re likely to hear about it, but that isn’t the case with your local amateur soccer program and the MLS or Premier League.

2.) MMA’s place in pop culture is at an all-time high, and certainly more prevalent than any of the other “growth” sports (soccer, hockey, etc.).

3.) Simplicity. Everyone may not like MMA, but everyone gets it; and that’s one less barrier to converting fans.

Note: The entire piece is worth a read as Joe talks about some of the more popular MMA clubs that have started up in the state (like Schulman’s and Renzo Gracie). He also runs a sports marketing blog that is worth an RSS.

Fedor Aiding MMA in Russia

December 7, 2009

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer discusses the impact that Fedor’s last nationally televised fight has had on MMA in Russia:

One thing that is legitimate, at least based on a television news report in Russia, is that after the fight aired on television (it was the first MMA fight in history to be broadcast on a major TV station in Russia), that there was a huge increase over the past few weeks in Russian teenagers wanting to join MMA gyms and Emelianenko was seen as the reason why.

 

Up until that time, the average Russian had no idea who he was. For the few who did, he was the guy who fought on a show Vladimir Putin attended several years ago (the Matt Lindland fight), if that. This event was the first time he got any significant media exposure because a few million people saw him fight on television. One of his fights was on PPV in Russia, but nobody bought it and his subsequent fights didn’t air.

 

While people will have you think he’s some sort of household name in Russia, Japan and South Korea, based on Google trends, the place he’s most famous by far is Croatia, and that’s largely because he’s the famous rival of Mirko Cro Cop, who is a legitimate national hero in his country. After that, the countries he’s most popular, in order, are Finland (MMA is on television every night there on a sports channel and his fights with Andrei Arlovski and Rogers were on TV there), Peru, Canada, U.S., Sweden and then Russia, followed by Brazil. He can draw in Japan among hardcores but among the casual people in Japan, they wouldn’t know who he is. Even in Finland, his name recognition would be less than Brock Lesnar (although significantly more than any other UFC fighter).

Payout Perspective:

It really is surprising to hear that Fedor hasn’t achieved a greater notoriety in the last several years, but it is encouraging that M-1 has secured a national television deal. The dividends of which are clearly showing in gym attendance figures (which is also something of a good trend in the United States over the last few years).

Any time you can build at the grassroots level of a sport, you’re helping to build life long interest. Fans that understand the sport are more likely to appreciate the ability and skill of those at the professional level, the theory goes, and that should translate into a larger audience.

And Russia could prove to be a solid MMA market in the years to come should Fedor continue to develop a name and increase the sport’s notoriety. The approximately 65 million television households – and 140 million people – is very material.

First UFC Gym Opens Doors in Concord, CA

December 4, 2009

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – Take one step inside the brand-new, 38,000-square-foot UFC® GYM™ in Concord, Calif. and you’ll quickly learn that this is no ordinary fitness facility. As music pumps through the gym, an enthusiastic teenager swings heavy ropes, visions of Randy Couture dancing in his head. In another corner of the sprawling exercise center, a forty-something businessman channels his inner-Machida during karate class. And inside the UFC Gym’s renowned Octagon™, a mother of three fresh off the treadmill eagerly kicks Thai pads held by a dedicated instructor.

This is a normal day inside the state-of-the-art UFC Gym, which opened its doors to much fanfare last month in Concord. The gym, the first of many planned by the Ultimate Fighting Championship® in alliance with New Evolution Fitness Company (NEFC), is revolutionizing the exercise world by combining mixed martial arts and fitness.

With cutting-edge training techniques including MMA programming such as Muay Thai kickboxing, jiu jitsu, and self-defense classes, as well as one-of-a-kind offerings such as UFC Kid’s Gym Fitness, Octagon Training Disciplines, and High-Octane Conditioning, UFC gyms are allowing fitness seekers to train like their favorite UFC stars. In turn, UFC Gyms are motivating consumers and encouraging them to tackle fitness in a whole new way.

“UFC Gyms will raise the bar of what’s expected from a fitness center,” UFC President Dana White said. “We shook up the sports industry with the UFC and we plan to do the same to the fitness industry with UFC Gyms. Our gyms are more than just treadmills and free weights. We want people to step foot inside a UFC Gym and be a part of an awesome experience.”

“We share a passion to make UFC Gyms one of the most successful brands in the fitness industry,” NEFC founder Mark Mastrov, who oversees UFC Gyms with NEFC CEO/co-founder Jim Rowley, said. “With our innovative approach to fitness, we plan to create an atmosphere in which our members see immediate results. What’s more, they can do so in a facility that is second-to-none.”

That experience is already underway in Concord. With plans for an official grand opening of the first UFC Gym forthcoming, as well as designs to build UFC Gyms globally, White believes the first major brand extension of the Ultimate Fighting Championship is poised for major success worldwide. By invigorating the fitness industry with the raging success of the UFC, White is confident that UFC Gyms will build a strong following and become the ultimate fitness destination.

“The opening of the UFC Gym in Concord marks the beginning of a new era in fitness,” White said, adding that UFC Gyms featuring BJ Penn and Georges St-Pierre are planned in the fighter’s native cities of Hawaii and Montreal, respectively. “We’ve teamed with NEFC owners Mark Mastrov and Jim Rowley to create a brand that will get people excited about working out again. This is going to shape up the way we all approach fitness.”

For more information on UFC Gyms, please visit UFCgyms.com. For current UFC fight news, visit UFC.com, UK.UFC.com, GERMANY.UFC.com, UFCJapan.jp or UFCEspanol.com.

About The Ultimate Fighting Championship®

UFC is the largest live pay-per-view event content provider in the world and the fastest growing main stream sports organization in history. Owned and operated by Zuffa™, LLC, and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., UFC® produces over twelve live pay-per-view events annually that are distributed residentially through North American cable and satellite providers including iNDEMAND Networks, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Avail-TVN Entertainment, BellTV, SaskTel Max™, Shaw Pay-Per-View, and Viewers Choice. International distributors include WOWOW in Japan, Rede TV and Globosat’s Combate Channel and SporTV in Brazil, ESPN in United Kingdom, Televisa in Mexico and throughout Central America, with worldwide distribution via the Internet on UFC.com and Yahoo! Sports. UFC content is distributed commercially through Joe Hand Promotions in the U.S. and Canadastar in Canada. UFC programming is distributed in 132 countries, territories and jurisdictions, reaching 430 million homes worldwide, in 20 different languages.

Ultimate Fighting Championship®, Ultimate Fighting®, UFC®, The Ultimate Fighter®, Submission®, As Real As It Gets®, Zuffa® , The Octagon™ and the eight-sided competition mat and cage design are registered trademarks, registered service marks, trademarks, trade dress and/or service marks owned exclusively by Zuffa, LLC and licensed to its affiliated entities and other licensees in the United States and other jurisdictions. All other marks referenced herein may be the property of Zuffa, LLC, its affiliates or other respective owners.

About New Evolution Fitness Company (NEFC)

Based in Northern California, New Evolution Fitness Company (NEFC) has a two decade plus record of success delivering superior returns on investment in the acquisition, development, management and operation within the fitness industry both domestically and internationally. Founded in 2008 by Mark Mastrov and Jim Rowley, the current team of NEFC professionals represents over a century of experience working in a broad sector of health, wellness and fitness.

First UFC Gym Opens in California

November 30, 2009

The San Francisco Chronicle has the details surrounding the official opening of the first UFC Gym in Concord, California.

(Credit Bloodyelbow.com for the find)

Payout Perspective:

MMAPayout.com has been pretty vocal about the improper use of brand extensions in the past, but the UFC Gym certainly isn’t one of them. The UFC is making use of its core competency – fighting – to educate people about its sport, and promote their own brand in the process. They’re sticking to what they know and what they’re good at.

Judging by the way martial arts fitness has taken off in the past, it’s quite possible that the UFC could leverage their growing position in sports pop culture, and the fitness dimensions of an MMA lifestyle, to really grow these gyms into a prominent revenue stream and marketing tool.

FIRST UFC® GYM™TO OPEN IN CONCORD, CALIFORNIA

June 10, 2009

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – UFC and New Evolution Fitness Company (NEFC) announced today that Concord, California will be the first home to the ultimate fitness destination, one that combines a complete UFC experience with mixed martial arts and fitness.

“We are excited to open our first UFC Gym, it’s going to have something for everyone in the family, from traditional mixed martial arts classes, to all-around fitness classes, personal training and a gym just for kids,” said Dana White, UFC President. “We are going to redefine the fitness industry, and get everyone excited about fitness again, starting with the first UFC Gym in Concord, California.”

NEFC Co-founders, Mark Mastrov and Jim Rowley, both from the East Bay, believe that Concord, CA is the ideal location for the first UFC Gym. “Born, raised and now residing in the East Bay, we wanted our first UFC Gym to be close to home. This facility will allow us to carefully monitor and fine-tune the UFC Gym concept for future growth and provide our community with fitness training in new dynamic ways,” said Mark Mastrov.

An interactive tour, available through UFCgym.com, reveals concepts for the overall layout. The site also shows classes and schedules, the variety of fitness areas, and the many options for personal training and private mixed martial arts instruction. Special self-defense classes for women will be available, as well as a “UFC Kids Gym,” a place for children 14 and younger to experience fun and interactive fitness classes of their very own.

While every UFC gym will have the most sophisticated cardio equipment and more than 25-tons of free-weights, it will also have the luxury of spacious locker rooms with dry saunas, and a place to relax for snacks and drinks inside “The Arm Bar”. Plus an exclusive UFC Gym Store where you’ll find the very latest in UFC apparel and products.

The first UFC Gym enrollment center is set to open on Wed. June 17th and is located at The Willows Shopping Center, 1975 Diamond Blvd in Concord, CA 94520. For additional information, click on UFCgym.com.

Earlier this year, UFC and NEFC announced a partnership with Welterweight Champion Georges “Rush” St-Pierre, and Lightweight Champion BJ “The Prodigy” Penn to build “St-Pierre” and “Penn” UFC Gyms, with locations planned for St-Pierre’s native city of Montreal and Penn’s home state of Hawaii.

UFC Gym is the first major brand extension for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the all-time industry leader in the sport of mixed martial arts. In alliance with NEFC owners Mark Mastrov and Jim Rowley, developers of many of the world’s most successful fitness brands, UFC Gyms will give UFC enthusiasts and fitness seekers alike the opportunity to practice the training techniques of famed UFC athletes, including Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn in their respective UFC gyms.

UFC Gym is the first to combine the world of mixed martial arts and fitness to create the ultimate fitness experience. For more information, please visit UFCgym.com.

FindMMAGym.com Looks To Simplify School Search

March 9, 2009

Interesting concept……

FindMMAGym.com
focuses on providing a broad directory of facilities that teach the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). Made popular by the growth of professional fight leagues like the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), MMA is quickly gaining fans and devotees. FindMMAGym.com strives to become the online source for anyone seeking a suitable facility that provides training and or fitness in the discipline of mixed martial arts.

FindMMAGym.com allows users to search for MMA gyms by entering a city, state, or zip code. Within the directory, users are also able to write honest reviews and rate gyms. Gym owners and users can submit gym information in order to keep a constantly up-to-date database. In addition to having a growing directory of facilities across the United States, FindMMAGym.com also features other MMA resources such as industry news, fight schedules, and multimedia including fights and instructional videos.

“This website was created for fellow MMA enthusiasts seeking to learn the sport, and at the same time, fulfill our need of fitness. Because I am a fan, I enjoy and appreciate the devotion and competitiveness of the athletes participating in the sport,” explains William Li, Co-Founder & Editor of FindMMAGym.com. “This site will not only help someone search for the right place to train, but to also be a part of the community through gym submission and direct feedback.”

FindMMAGym.com is determined to be a leading force in MMA gym search by continually expanding its content. Future projects will include expanding the directory to include international gyms and a discussion forum.

Stand Alone MMA Stores Increasing, But What Does The Future Hold?

February 2, 2009

Retail is taking a hit much like other businesses in the economy these days but a trend that is emerging in relation to MMA is the increasing number of stand alone MMA apparel/training gear stores. Up to this point in time, product in the apparel/training gear market has been distributed through one of two ways for the most part: either through online entities like a mmawarehouse.com or as an offshoot of pre-existing MMA entities like gyms. That is not to say that these stand alone stores haven’t existed until now but their numbers have started to flourish as the sport has exploded in popularity.

Online has been a popular venue because the niche status of MMA for much of it’s span has not allowed for the large numbers of customers within any given geographic location to support a brick and mortar operation. Online allowed for a wider net to be cast in offering MMA related goods, giving the MMA gear/apparel the ability to reach a critical mass and shift from viability to profitability to sustainability.

An entity like a gym being a vehicle for distribution has been ideal because it presented a dedicated audience that had a pre-existing disposition to the product. It also allowed the retail portion to serve as secondary source of revenue, not having to pay all the freight for the success or failure of apparel/gear venture.

The new angle is the spread of the stand alone brick and mortar store that provides access to gear and apparel. Stores of this type are popping up with increasing prevalence. Stores recently opened up in Yuma and Mesa, Arizona as well as places like Greensboro, NC.

It is still up in the air as to the viability and long term chances of success for these stand alone MMA stores. Has MMA grown in popularity to the degree that a stand alone store would be able to generate the foot traffic needed to make them a success? You’d like to think so, but without some entity attached to the stores as a driver of sales (like a gym) these stores will face an uphill battle to survive.

They may also see increased competition in the form of the UFC branded gyms that were recently announced by Zuffa and their partners. As these branded gyms spread out over the country, they will serve as another distribution channel for the UFC to push product through. The UFC can sell their own line of UFC branded apparel/product as well as that of those it holds business interests in like Tapout, Cage Fighter, Skeletal Metal, Xyience, etc. They would also have an audience for such things as their UFC branded gloves, and opportunities to sell things like gis, rash guards, heavy bags, shin guards, etc. Having such a location serve as a one stop shopping location for such items may mark the death knell to the viability of these stand alone entities.

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