The UFC have shown their commitment to the Asian market by beginning work on building a new performance institute in Shanghai, China.
The project is already underway on the 93,000 square feet institute, which will cost $13 million, have an annual operating budget in the millions and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2019.
The facility will be three times the size of the original UFC performance institute in Las Vegas, which cost $14 million and has been designed specifically with developing new talent first and foremost.
While current UFC fighters will also be able to take advantage of the facilities, the promotion is looking to invest in scholarships, bringing in new talent from around the region in the hope of developing some of the Asian stars of the future.
“I could not be more excited about the UFC Performance Institute opening in Shanghai,” UFC president Dana White said of the facilty. “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.”
The Shanghai performance institute will also become the UFC’s new HQ for the Asian region, becoming the base for some executives as well as a number of other staff and technology which will enable it to produce original programming and do in-house events.
“I think it’s pretty evident why the UFC sees international expansion and growth in Asia and China, specifically. And for us, for the UFC and the UFC PI, the vehicle in which we’re willing to achieve that is through developing talent,” said James Kimball, vice president of operations at the UFC’s performance institute. “So, in terms of the model and what’s different … in Vegas, obviously we’re working with athletes that are currently on the UFC roster. That facility will be available to athletes currently on the UFC roster, but predominantly we will be developing talent. So we’ll be recruiting talent from mainland China and the surrounding regions in [Asia-Pacific] to get them UFC caliber and UFC approved.”
UFC officials also indicated that there are likely to be other performance institutes around the globe in the future, though there are no plans to announce on that front at this stage.