In a bid to mine mixed martial arts talent throughout Latin America, the UFC announced on Tuesday it will build a Performance Institute in Mexico City that is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2023. When it is completed, it will be the third of its kind, following the original in Las Vegas that opened in 2017 and the second in Shanghai, China, that opened in 2019.
The existing PIs, which are free to use for UFC fighters, have been hailed by athletes for its ability to get them into peak condition, to rehab and prevent injuries, provide nutritional advice and free supplements which are certified for sports.
They’re also equipped with state-of-the-art technology that is used to analyze training session as well as to develop coaching techniques. The Mexico City PI will check in at approximately 32,000 square feet, which is roughly the same size as the original PI, which opened in 2017.
The PI in Shanghai is a whopping 93,000 square feet.
The UFC has long seen Mexico in particular and Latin America in general as fertile ground for fight talent. The region is boxing crazy and UFC president Dana White has long believed it would also produce elite MMA fighters. Brandon Moreno in 2021 because the UFC’s first Mexican champion when he won the flyweight title.
Another Mexican citizen, Yair Rodriguez, will fight for the interim featherweight title on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, when he meets Josh Emmett. Rodriguez believes MMA is on the verge of exploding in his homeland.
“We already have a champion, the first-born Mexican champion, Brandon Moreno,” Rodriguez told Yahoo Sports. “You see fighters in Mexico now getting that mindset that anything is possible and we can get stuff done. Mexican fighters have really evolved. I’ve been with this company for almost 10 years now … and the new era is coming.”
According to the UFC, better than one in five of its fighters hail from Latin America. Finding a spot for a PI in Mexico thus became a priority for White.
There are more than 150 fighters currently signed to the UFC from Latin America, and 66 of them are from Spanish-speaking countries.
“Some of the greatest athletes in combat sports history have come from Mexico,” White said. “Our teams at the PI are the best in the world at what they do, and we know that by making the resources and training available in the country, Mexico can become one of the greatest sources of MMA talent in the world. This is a massive opportunity for the sport of MMA and for athletes throughout Latin America.”