Think of the innovative new UFC Performance Institute and UFC Corporate Campus facilities as a spotlight – literally and figuratively - inside the future of performance athletic training and wellness.
Certainly, the layout of the 15-acre, 184,000-square foot campus off Jones Blvd. and the 215 Beltway in southwest Las Vegas will lend itself to a front row view of the world’s finest Mixed Martial Arts athletes, immersed in cutting edge training techniques.
Sight lines throughout the new corporate campus, scheduled to open in May, are all directed toward the 30,000-square foot UFC Performance Institute. This was specifically designed to serve as a reminder to the more than 250 Las Vegas-based UFC employees that their product is all about the athletes.
“The philosophy behind that was, yes, we’re working in PR, working in events or whatever aspect of the company, but every day you should be thinking about our product,” said UFC Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein, who sounded like an expectant father as he took a group on a tour of the world’s first MMA performance, research and innovation center. “That’s going to hopefully inspire all of our employees.
“Everyone in the office building will look out the window and see the product,” Epstein said. “We’ll be thinking of our mission every day.”
And that, UFC officials emphasized, is a scientific and holistic approach to athlete performance, training and wellness, thanks to a state-of-the-art facility that will be free for use by all athletes competing under the UFC banner.
A full-time staff, led by James Kimball, UFC’s Vice President of Operations, will operate under a multi-million dollar budget to provide these services, in concert with other athlete wellness initiatives: UFC Anti-Doping Policy; Cleveland Clinic’s Professional Brain Health Study; athlete summits and other education programs.
In short, the UFC Performance Institute will provide athletes competing in UFC access to world class facilities, technology and experts across areas such as sports science, nutrition and hydration, to aid their training and rehabilitation.
“Our goals here are simple yet ambitious, and that is to accelerate the evolution of the MMA athlete while also becoming a leader in the sports performance community,” said Kimball, who joined Epstein and other UFC officials in scouting cutting edge training facilities across the globe, including Manchester City’s spectacular Etihad Stadium headquarters that helped revitalize that city. “We’re going to do that by providing best-in-class holistic performance optimization services for our athletes efficiently all under one roof.”
Said Epstein: “We tried to find the best of the best and create a best-in-class facility in general, but we also wanted to create something that was designed specifically for the MMA/UFC athlete.
“The goal of this facility is three-fold: We want to give our athletes the opportunity to train in the latest and greatest techniques and to increase their performance in the Octagon; we want to give them the opportunity to train safely in a manner that prevents injuries from taking place; and as we all know, no matter what sport you are involved in, sports produce injuries. So when those injuries unfortunately do occur, we want to make sure the athletes have a resource to have best in class rehabilitation from either surgery or injuries they sustain.”
The UFC Performance Institute’s two floors will feature services and amenities such as:
Laser light therapy unit
NormaTec compression units
Hot and cold plunges
Physical therapy room
Sauna and steam rooms
The entire second floor will offer a full-sized Octagon and boxing ring, as well as bag and mat training areas featuring camera analysis and motion capture technology. In addition, the Performance Institute will include a tiered seating media center (65-person capacity) as well as a multi-purpose meeting space.
Epstein says he hopes athletes and teams from other sports, such as the NBA, NHL and even Professional Bull Riders (PBR) will participate in cross training with UFC athletes.
With the NHL’s Las Vegas Knights already on the way, and the possibility of the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas in the next few years, the potential is endless.
“Las Vegas is turning into quite the sports town with the NFL possibly on the way and the NHL on the way,” Epstein said. “We feel like this facility is unmatched both in Las Vegas and around the world.
“If this thing works out even close to the way we think it’s going to, it will be the greatest investment we’ve ever made.”
Nancy Gay is the Editor-in-Chief of UFC.com. Follow her on Twitter at @NancyGay