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UFC stars come out for megagym opening

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Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 11:09 am | Updated: 12:20 pm, Mon Oct 21, 2013.

The UFC Gym in New Hyde Park held a star-studded grand opening expo on Saturday afternoon that featured mixed martial arts demonstrations, personal training and autograph sessions with superstar UFC fighters.

The expo also featured vendors selling fitness merchandise and supplements, United States military recruiters, and UFC fighters Chuck Liddell, Frankie Edgar, B.J. Penn, Forrest Griffin and Jon Jones signing autographs, holding question-and-answer sessions and posing with fans for photos.

The 40,000-square-foot gym opened in June and features a video wall of 20 40-inch television screens, a cafe, social lounge equipped with wireless Internet access and an octogonal ring and padded room for mixed martial arts training.

Adam Sedlack, the senior vice president for UFC Gym, said the New Hyde Park facility has quickly become one of the company’s top-performing clubs, and that the expo was meant to showcase the UFC brand and thank the community and Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce for helping the gym open.

“When you look at an East Coast fitness space, the differentiation between them all is significant,” Sedlack said. “What makes this brand very unique is we’ve been able to isolate how a UFC fighter trains.”

The UFC Gym offers more than 600 fitness and mixed martial arts classes each month. Sedlack said the gym’s personnel focuses on group training and does not allow headphones to be work while working out so members interact with and motivate each other. 

“We wanted to create that community, whether you’re 100 pounds overweight or you want to be the next quarterback for the Giants,” Sedlack said.

The New Hyde Park club is the ninth to open in the tri-state area. UFC opened a facility in Manhattan’s financial district in April.

Reed Harris, UFC’s vice president of community relations, said the company has come a long way from its founding in 1993 to one of the most popular sports in America. 

“I remember Dana [White, UFC president] calling me and telling me, ‘Hey, we’re on the Sunshine Network in Florida,’ excited because it was the first station that would put UFC on,” Harris said. “You could watch, in a hotel room, really anything other than UFC. They banned it from pay-per-view. Now look where we’re at.”

Liddell, one of the company’s most celebrated fighters and now a UFC executive vice president, also championed the company’s success in the last two decades.

“I remember when we were in Boston, begging them to put us in the leisure section of the paper,” Liddell said. “Now, they’ve got the leisure section calling me to ask about my favorite vacation spots. It’s been great, where we’ve come and everything that’s happened. It’s been fun to watch.”

The New Hyde Park location has remained vacant since the King Kullen supermarket that previously occupied the space there at 2020 Jericho Turnpike relocated to a former Pathmark location in Garden City Park in November 2011.

UFC, which is subletting the building from King Kullen, had originally planned to open the new gym in February or March. But Sedlack said permits required to renovate the site into 24-hour fitness center had been delayed by Hurricane Sandy. 

Sedlack has said the company sees Long Island as an under-served market for gym facilities and selected New Hyde Park as a central location in the region. He also said the demographics and income level of the local area was a good fit for the facility. 

UFC had been using a 5,000 square-foot location with demonstration equipment at 1596 Union Turnpike in New Hyde Park to sign up members.

Subscription costs for the gym will start out at $50 to $99 a month, depending on the level of membership individuals and families select. Classes will be offered in a range of fitness regimens, including cycling, Zumba and various martial arts, available to members according to their subscription plan.

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