Tuesday, January 27, 2009

UFC To Open Line of Gyms For Regular Folks

“The Ultimate Fighting Championship is planning to go toe-to-toe with the country's biggest fitness club chains, and the founder of 24 Hour Fitness is in its corner. 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 wannabe fighters. White said each gym would offer classes in several different disciplines of martial arts, as well as unconventional workouts for people looking to change their routines from typical treadmills and free weights. Each will contain an octagon, the eight-sided caged ring used in UFC fights. UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta said the gyms would resemble the scenes at UFC fights, with energetic participants, music blasting, and large plasma televisions. ‘We didn't want to just build one gym somewhere,’ Fertitta said. "This is going to become its own separate, profitable business and company on the side, and we're talking about rolling out hundreds of gyms all over the place.’ According to numbers released Monday by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, a trade association for the fitness industry, a survey of 17 leading health club companies showed that sales increased an average of 1 percent year over year for the third quarter of 2008, mostly because of a 3.8 percent increase in membership dues. Revenues from other sources were nearly the same, the trade group said. The index represented 200 individual clubs, the trade group said. Fertitta and White said the Las Vegas-based UFC has partnered with former executives at 24 Hour Fitness to build the gyms, including Mark Mastrov, the founder of the company that today has more than 400 clubs in 16 states, 24 gyms in Asia and more than 3 million members.”


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