In 2013 the UFC began its true exploration with Mexican and Latin American talent with the first development program for fighters financed by the promoter. From there came fighters like the flyweight champion Brandon Moreno, Yair ‘Pantera’ Rodríguez or the Ecuadorian Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera, who continue to shine in the octagon.
But it is time to take the next step. The UFC was ready to open its first Performance Institute in Mexico City at the end of 2020, a plan that the COVID-19 pandemic delayed, but which remains firm for the president of the UFC, Dana White.
“We are still looking for a property. We closed during the pandemic, we already had a property and we got into a problem with the landlord for some reason and the plan fell and we were very lucky that that happened. Now we are looking and we had very good recommendations from fans about the colors, “White explained in an interview with ESPN Sports.
White shared images of what the facade would look like on his social networks and the response from the fans was immediate: “I don’t know how I didn’t think about it before, but it will have the colors of the Mexican flag. I liked the idea.”
Entering the Mexican capital is just the beginning. It is an ambitious project in which they plan to have two or three facilities on Mexican soil and one more in Puerto Rico to ensure that Latin American talent can be found. It is a very similar plan to the one they have been developing in China, which is beginning to bear fruit with a dozen fighters who have already debuted in the promotion or will do so in the Contender Series this season.
“It’s exactly like China; it’s to develop fighters. I think there is a lot of talent in Mexico undiscovered. I think that if we build a Performance Institute, a lot of talents will come and train. Not all of them are going to be professional fighters, but many will be coaches. from MMA or jiu-jitsu and they will grow the sport, “added the executive.
The installation is not only aimed at fighters under contract who decide to train in Mexico City as they currently do in Las Vegas, where they have a gym, rehabilitation, therapy, trainers and nutritionists, but it would be a window for those who show potential for the future.
“They are not going to live there; it will just be free training. We can have a lot of fighters training, not just MMA, but physical conditioning, who stay away from banned substances, what kinds of supplements they can use, educate them on how to cut weight and all those aspects, “he explained.
Although the conditions do not allow to make a forecast for the opening date, the expectation is to be able to start the operation during the next year.