James Kimball has been the head of operations for the UFC Performance Institute since its inception, but he will no longer have that role going forward as he takes up a role with WWE.
Kimball has left the UFC for a senior business operations position in the WWE. MMA Junkie first reported the news, while also revealing that Duncan French has been named the new head of operations for the UFC Performance Institute. Marc Raimondi of ESPN was the first to report Kimball's crossover.
“Duncan was always a part of the leadership team over at the Performance Institute, and he’s just going to be taking on a larger role in light of James Kimball leaving the company,” UFC COO Lawrence Epstein said.
French has been a part of the UFC since 2017, overseeing the sports science, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and physical therapy programs in the UFC Performance Institute. Epstein also says he does not expect to see many changes from an operational standpoint at the UFC Performance Institute with French taking over.
“I don’t think, from an operations standpoint, things are going to change much at all,” Epstein said. “Duncan was intimately involved in all aspects of the operation of the UFC Performance Institute here in Las Vegas, but also in Shanghai, China, and so Duncan is just going to be taking over James’ responsibilities, and right now, getting ready to re-open in Shanghai, so that’s certainly going to be one of the major tasks in the short-term that Duncan is going to be tasked with implementing.”
More UFC Performance Institutes are expected to open all over the world, but those plans are currently on hold due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.