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UFC Apex: 5 things you need to know about the UFC's state-of-the-art setup

UFC Apex
UFC Apex
Johny Payne

The UFC Apex is the world’s premier MMA organization’s top-notch setup that has hosted some of the biggest combat sports events in the 2020 calendar year.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the UFC Apex has been one of two main venues where the promotion has organized several events. Today, we look at the five things you need to know about the UFC Apex that makes it a masterfully crafted state-of-the-art setup…


#5. The UFC Apex has a smaller octagon that greatly impacts the MMA fights

The UFC Apex houses a smaller Octagon
The UFC Apex houses a smaller Octagon

A professional MMA bout contested within the UFC’s famed octagonal-shaped cage - better known as the octagon - generally has fighters competing in the bigger cage available.

The UFC has used smaller and larger variants of the octagon in the past, with the smaller one generally being 25ft in diameter whereas the larger one usually has a diameter of 30ft.

One should note that the debates and discussions, regarding how big an MMA fight should be contested in, are nothing new. In fact, disagreements on this topic go right from the grassroots level to the highest levels of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Be that as it may, most fighters seem to prefer the larger cage as it gives them more space to showcase their skills.

On the contrary, some fighters prefer the smaller cage, as they believe it forces their opponent to engage with them and helps them defeat elusive opponents who would have otherwise benefitted from the space in the larger cage.

The UFC Apex’s smaller cage has noticeably resulted in the fighters having to engage in a higher number of striking exchanges with one another. Besides, grappling exchanges such as clinch-work as well as grappling on the ground have increased due to the smaller cage.

In simple terms, the UFC’s decision to have the smaller octagon at the Apex has most definitely increased the action that takes place in a given fight.

#4. The UFC Apex is right next to the UFC Performance Institute

UFC Performance Institute
UFC Performance Institute

This is one of the most important points in our discussion, so I need you to bear with me while I get the numbers out of the way. It’s common knowledge in the MMA world that the UFC Performance Institute (PI) in Enterprise, Nevada, is one of the world’s premier training institutes for combat sports athletes. UFC fighters are given the opportunity to train at the UFC PI and have often spoken about how amazing the facility truly is.

The UFC Apex has been built on a sprawling 130,000 sq ft piece of land that the UFC acquired right next to the Performance Institute. About half of the land has been used for the arena and production space. Approximately 50,000 sq ft comprises the octagon area, arena surrounding it, the production area, entrances, etc.

UFC President Dana White had notably given the media a tour of the Apex facility in 2019. But when we are to look beyond the numbers while discussing the Apex, what stands out is White and the UFC’s pure genius.

Dana White had asserted that fighters will be able to train in the PI as well as at the gym housed in the Apex facility. This is very significant, primarily because of the fact that if two fighters who are preparing to face one another want to access the UFC’s greatest training facilities, they have an option to train at different UFC gyms housed in the PI and the Apex.

#3. The UFC Apex is an important tool to combat logistical challenges related to COVID-19

The UFC Apex is impressive from a logistical perspective
The UFC Apex is impressive from a logistical perspective

The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected the way businesses around the world function. The MMA industry is no different and has been hit hard by the pandemic just like most other industries.

Regardless, the UFC has found a way to circumvent these issues by organizing events on Fight Island i.e. Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Of course, the UFC Apex has been a strong ally of Fight Island in providing the UFC with a safe venue to organize its events and entertain combat sports fans the world over.

With that being said, organizing events at the UFC Apex hasn’t been a cakewalk by any means. The UFC and its staff have had to work incredibly hard in order to ensure that these events that take place at the Apex come to fruition.

Fighter safety is paramount in MMA and combat sports in general, and the UFC has been according the requisite attention to this tenet of the fight game.

Quarantine rules, regular testing for COVID-19, and other rules that have to be followed during visits to the UFC Apex are strictly implemented. And although COVID-19 has still managed to cause a few fights at the Apex to be canceled, the measures to prevent the spread of the virus have been largely effective at the Apex.

#2. The UFC Apex is the definition of comfort

UFC President Dana White has asserted that the fighters' safety and comfort is paramount
UFC President Dana White has asserted that the fighters' safety and comfort is paramount

Alright, this one’s a bit oxymoronic, but let’s get into it regardless. The UFC Apex is a martial arts warzone where the best fighters in the world do battle against one another. How could such a place have anything to do with comfort, you may ask. Well, the answer to that lies in the brilliant setup crafted by the UFC.

The UFC Apex houses the training facility, production spaces, UFC president Dana White’s grand office, and so much more. This isn’t some underground garage facility like the old days of MMA where battle-worn fighters fight over the last piece of bread.

No, this is a world-class combat sports arena where the fighters have the comfort of focusing solely on their preparations ahead of their fight rather than worry about issues like lack of ventilation in the backstage area.

It’s the little things like this that make a huge difference, and to this very day, there are a number of organizations in sports like MMA and boxing that don’t provide their fighters with clean and comfortable backstage areas to warm up and rest before and after their fights. Ergo, the UFC Apex is top-tier with regard to ensuring fighter comfort.

#1. The UFC Apex and UFC Fight Island have been best for business in these uncertain times

The UFC Apex is a warzone that witnesses the best fighters work their way towards someday earning championship gold
The UFC Apex is a warzone that witnesses the best fighters work their way towards someday earning championship gold

We would be remiss if we didn’t discuss this, so let’s get right to it. The UFC Apex and UFC Fight Island have served their purpose incredibly well. With the COVID-19 global pandemic throwing the UFC’s 2020 schedule for a toss, the UFC turned to Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi as places they could trust to organize their events.

Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, housing the UFC Apex and UFC Fight Island respectively, have been critical for the UFC’s success in 2020. It’s no secret the UFC and most other businesses didn’t complete their usual targets due to the pandemic this year. However, the UFC has led by example and shown the world its remarkable ability to adapt and overcome.

Events such as UFC 251 – the biggest MMA PPV of 2020 and second highest-selling combat sports PPV (the first being Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.) this year – have been made possible due to the Apex and Fight Island.

While UFC 251 took place on Fight Island, other notable events such as UFC 252 transpired at the UFC Apex. Needless to say, the UFC Apex coupled with the organization’s willingness to take risks has proven to be an excellent business move.

It will be interesting to see which fights the UFC will conduct at the Apex – apart from the Contender Series matches and other such events – after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

Edited by James McGlade

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