Las Vegas, Nevada was the first home to a UFC Performance Institute (UFC PI), but the country of China is going to be the second.
That’s because the UFC is building a PI in Shanghai, China to help cultivate the talent from the Far East for the Octagon.
“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,” UFC Performance Institute’s Vice President Of Operations James Kimball said in a statement. “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.”
Staff recruitment for the new Performance Institute is complete, while the staff will feature a mixture of English and native language speakers.
UFC Hall Of Fame member Forrest Griffin says that the exposure the PI will bring to China will get more people interested in MMA.
“There’s actually a couple of smaller fight shows in China,” Griffin said. “There are several really good gyms. We’ll work through the gyms and perhaps with the combat-sports related Olympic movement as well. In my opinion, it’s an underrepresented athlete population. I think as the sport gains more exposure, we’l find a lot more people that want to compete in MMA from that region.”
The China-based UFC Performance Institute will open in the second quarter of 2019, but no exact date has been announced at this time.