Are UFC Gyms Good or Bad for MMA?

I can’t believe it. In case you haven’t heard, Concord, California will be the site for the new, official UFC Brand Gym. I quote,

First UFC gym to open in Concord, California! The UFC Octagon isn’t just for fighters anymore. Now, for the first time in the fifteen year history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, anyone, no matter how young or old, can experience what it’s like to train in the most exciting sport in the world, thanks to the launch of the UFC Gym! UFC and the New Evolution Fitness Company announced today that Concord, California will be the first home to the ultimate fitness destination. One that combines the complete UFC experience and Mixed Martial Arts.”

This is a quote from an MMA Nation podcast out of WJFK in D.C.

I believe there are many ways this venture can go. I, for one, am excited, but I see the bad road this can go down in terms of over-saturation, loss-of-reputation, and the hackneyed view that could be brought upon the sport we all love. There will be all the standard MMA-style bells and whistles, but women’s self-defense classes? A children’s gym? A nice little protein shake nook called (and I’m not making this up) the ARMBAR? I’m not totally against the idea, but what exactly is the angle here?

I see some of the benefits. Chad, the gangster wannabe with the oversized wife-beater and flat-billed Fifty-Nine Fifty hat can go to the UFC gym, drop his three illegitimate kids off at the pubergym, and send his baby mama to her kickboxing class, while he breaks his wrists on a heavy bag for an hour. Now his kids are ghetto bullies ruling the sandbox, his new baby mama can kick his other baby mama in the head while he screams,” YOU CAN’T STOP ME! I TRAIN UFC!!!,” as he is pulled away by hard-working police officers.

I would like to see more exposure for the sport as much as anybody else, but I don’t see 34 year-old divorcee’s paying 450 dollars a month to bang a truck tire with a sledgehammer. I think part of the greatness of our sport is the fact that the fighter you’re watching earned his right to be in a cage. I’m not saying they’ll let anyone in the new gym fight Anderson Silva, but try walking in off the street and telling Frank Delgado you want to train UFC. I see the new batch of spectators that will be drawn to the sport, but at what cost to your built-in audience?

The bottom line is that UFC fans do not want a gym in our name that ends up becoming another CRUNCH or GOLD’S GYM knockoff to spawn a fake counterculture of mindless sheep who think they know what a rear naked choke is. I’ve said it before, once a sleazy gym-owner, always a sleazy gym-owner. Dana, I hope you know what you’re doing and I want this to bring a positive public focus on our sport with a new level of respect that we haven’t reached as of yet. Are you guys laughing yet? I could go on….

Dr. Steroids

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