UFC Gym brings mixed martial arts to the everyman

January 27, 2010 10:26:14 PM PST
Last Saturday in Concord fitness enthusiasts were introduced to a new way to work out -- a facility that combines martial arts and fitness.

"The inspiration was really to build something that wasn't your dad's gym," Jim Rowley said.

Rowley is the co-founder of UFC Gyms. He has joined forces with the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization, which emphasizes mixed martial arts.

"It was to bring a new movement to exercise, bring a new movement to the industry and to change the industry because it's gotten stagnant and we're here to mix it up," Rowley said.

"It's a new thing for gyms," former UFC champion Chuck Liddell said. "Gyms are adding MMA, this is a way to get that out there and get people to relate to the sport a little more."

Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The new gym caters to UFC President Dana White's vision.

"People come in here, you can still do your cardio, your weight training, but you can learn jiu-jitsu, muay thai and there's tons of different classes," he said. "Your kids can join here and learn martial arts and you can work out with your kids, a very cool concept."

While participating in MMA is not for everyone, people can still train like the world class athletes.

"I'm a mom and it's just keeping me in shape, it takes you to the next level that most gyms don't have," gym member Debbie Bay said.

"We allow you to train in so many different disciplines, we allow you to train like the best athletes in the world the mixed martial arts fighter," Rowley said.

Former 49er Roger Craig's entire family is into martial arts and he showed up to support this new concept.

"It's good for the community, it's good for families to bring their kids in to help build self esteem and motivation and just set goals for themselves in life; I think this is awesome," Craig said.