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Noted Gym Rat BJ Penn to Open First UFC Signature Fighter Gym In Honolulu, Hawaii

(Vid Props: MMAPrime.tv)

When we first told you about the UFC’s plans to conquer the fitness market two and a half years ago, you may have expected the “fastest growing sport in the world” to become the “fastest growing fitness chain in the world”. Well, we’ve crunched the numbers and it looks like the franchise has fallen just short of that goal. Yesterday marked the grand opening of only their third location, all of which are located in California. Perhaps sensing that the brand could use a jumpstart, the UFC and BJ Penn have announced their partnership in the first of a new series of UFC Gyms to be headlined by the organization’s biggest stars.

From a business perspective, this makes perfect sense. BJ is an icon in the sport and a celebrity in Hawaii, and slapping his name up next to a UFC Gym sign will have people pouring in. But beyond BJ’s rabid fan base, is this pairing really the best fit?

Sure, having a World Jiu Jitsu Champion and former title holder in the UFC’s Lightweight and Welterweight divisions at the helm of a gym sounds like a no brainer. Only, “The Prodigy” didn’t become an MMA champion thanks to his work ethic; he became one despite it. He’s basically the posterboy for relying on unnatural natural talent- even his nickname connotes an innate gift, an ability achieved without hard work or sacrifice. Obviously, BJ wouldn’t be where he is today if he didn’t devote himself to his craft. And no, he didn’t crash and burn in the later rounds of every fight. But the simple truth is he doesn’t really like to train hard. Even when the cameras were rolling for Primetime, he didn’t think twice about taking five days off from training for the biggest fight of his life to chill on the beach. Basically, no one else on earth could achieve his level of success training as he does, which makes him an interesting namesake for a training facility, you know?

In the end, it doesn’t really matter. No one gets bent out of shape when they grab dinner at Planet Hollywood and they’re not sitting next to Bruce Willis, and this is kind of the same deal. BJ has his real gym on another island, and when he makes the occasional token appearance at this facility he’ll have great insight to share with the students. The big question is which UFC superstar will be the next to get his own place? Maybe Rampage?

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linlijunb- May 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm
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RwilsonR- May 16, 2011 at 10:21 am
Wtf - auto-correct on my phone fucking sucks!
RwilsonR- May 16, 2011 at 10:19 am
I have been inside the first UFC gym they opened (a friend of mine lives near it and is a member), and it is a first-class gym facility, but it is NOT a fighters' gym. So Grail, even though I disagree with your basic argument that it is somehow an afront to the originalists in this sport that the UFC might move into their market, I don't think real MMA gyms need to worry. These UFC gyms aren't even targeting the fighters market. They are trying to get casual people to pay $90/month because they think it might be more "intense" to take a cardio-kickboxing class in a place that has pictures of Chuck Liddell on the wall and has an actual octagon than it would be to take the same class at 24 Hour Fitness. They pay Anthony Johnson to show up once a monto and sit on the bench press for 10 minutes to give the idea that fighters train there. None do.
It is for people like my friend, who casually watch the UFC, but don't want serious training, and are too intimidated to step foot in Cesar Gracie's gym which is about a me away, and closer to his house.
LukeTheDuke- May 16, 2011 at 5:57 am
As an ex-fitness professional/martial artist I can say with confidence that the UFC will not be taking over the fitness market any time soon. The hard fact is that around 7/10 people don't even work out, of those who do, about 3/4 are put off by the idea of fighting. So, by these numbers not nearly enough of the people that work out will be attracted to this idea. The others would rather run, do yoga, weight lift, etc. Of course they can bank on the young kids coming up who want to "UFC Style" fight their friends, but pro fighters don't go to the UFC gym unless its for signing autographs or whatever...They run, do yoga, weight lift etc.^ See my point?
FrontKick Dentist- May 16, 2011 at 5:17 am
Brock Lesnars Chicken-Shit Gym give us your 98lb. weaklings and we will pound them into chicken salad.
linlijuna- May 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm
--Something unexpected surprise--

Hello. My friend

=== http://www.happyshopping100.com/ ====

Dedi cated service, the new style, so you feel like a warm spring!!!

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YOU MUST NOT MISS IT!!!

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BaghdadBob- May 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm
What a fucking scam. The only redeeming quality of this whole bullshit business plan is that it's doomed to failure. (And we all know BJ will be there for the ribbon cutting and then won't be seen near that fucking place ever again.)
The Highest Primate- May 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm
New Features of UFC gyms

Dana White's original box-ercise classes
Lee Murrays dieting classes
Tank Abbotts cardio blast (classes run for approx 30 secs)
Brock Lesnars nutrition classes (Meat, glorious Meat)

and over in the self help area,
Tito Ortiz's how to win friends and influence people (Alternate title "Old dent head shows us how to fuck up analogies and buy the cow every farmer has milked for free")
Grail- May 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm
Am I the only one who thinks this is bullshit? I own an MMA Gym and have since 1999, way before it was cool, I used to get so much shit from traditional guys saying MMA was a fade and UFC was not a sport. (At the time it was next to impossible to catch a event)
My point is I have been working for the MMA movement and as a school owner feel its bullshit for Dana to try and take that from us, without guys like me where the fuck would UFC be right now? We dont need deep pockets taking up our students, its tough enough to make a living in this business.
Reverend_Clint- May 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm
New UFC Gym in San Quintin featuring large B-Ball court, weights, 100 person showers and pole vaulting. Will feature guest trainers War Machine, Joe Son, Jeremy Jackson, Chael Sonnen, Harold Howard, Chris Leben, Leonard Garcia, Josh Neer, Junie Browning, and Mike Whitehead
RwilsonR- May 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm
This new gym will have one major feature the other UFC gyms lack - a giant pool where the majority of training will take place. Group classes will consist of everyone starting in the deep end of the pool and running on the bottom while carrying a rock, and surfacing for periodic breaths every 10 feet or so. Once in the shallow end, members of the group will make their way to the side and attempt to perform a standing jump out of the pool. If successful, they will be given a burrito, and treated to a pre-recorded chorus of yes-men telling them how awesome they are, and how only three other people in the world have accomplished this feat. This will conclude all training for a minimum of one week.
AussieJosh- May 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm
The Gyms that are already open in California, how much are there monthly fees? I would imagin there not cheap! How do they think there going to help young people with no job, or young people on min wage? Just because they do a one off apearence at a school does not really help them.
KidDinomite- May 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm
All I know is that they should make a UFC Gym out here in the San Fernando Valley. The MMA scene out here is shit. There's M-1 Global but they got terrible reviews. Then there's Tarzana Boxing but the facility is small and the dues are fucking ridiculously expensive but otherwise it looked good.
Pen Fifteen- May 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm
UFC Tattoo Parlor, co-managed by Alan Belcher and Brock Lesnar.
irish brawler- May 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm
coming soon, the ufc signature cannibus club, featuring Nick Diaz.
The_Dead_Cow- May 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm
Coming soon, the UFC signature bar and grill featuring Tank Abbot.
DARKHORSE06- May 15, 2011 at 11:37 am
What about Kimbo? Or Tim Sylvia? Or Dekembe Mutumbo?
Tats- May 15, 2011 at 10:10 am
They better give one to Roy Nelson.
Username- May 15, 2011 at 9:20 am
Maybe Phil Baroni?
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