“We’re not looking to train or create fighters. We’re looking to create a fun family environment,” Fertitta said.
While the Octagon with the black wire fence is certainly an unusual element, this is not a fighting gym. Jim Rowley, co-founder of New Evolution Fitness Co., which launched the venture with the UFC, said the gym is a place for those who want to be fit like martial arts athletes but aren’t interested in the bruises. Instead of finding muscular types beating each other inside the ring, you’ll find ordinary members kicking into the arm pads of supportive Thai boxing instructors.
Fertitta said members can expect to see UFC athletes drop by the gyms for the occasional seminar or meet-and-greet and will enjoy benefits like priority access to tickets and first-look privileges to news and events.
The gym operator’s ambitions are nothing small. The state-of-the-art, 38,000-square-foot facility in Concord is expected to be followed next year by others in Hawaii, Montreal and more in California. Fertitta said the UFC hopes to open 300 to 400 gyms across the United States within five years.