The MMA Way


By Danielle Directo-Meston

No fighting’s allowed at UFC Gym, but step into the new San Carlos facility on a Monday afternoon and you’ll quickly forget the acronym’s meaning. At the center of UFC’s logo-emblazoned octagon, a handful of enthusiastic elementary-aged boys hardly evoke the mixed martial arts world’s “hyper-aggressive” machismo.

That’s the goal of the MMA-fueled fitness franchise, which opened in early September, says UFC Gym franchise president Hannibal Myers. With four other locations in the San Diego area-San Marcos, Spring Valley, Morena, and Carlsbad-UFC found a fitting home in family-friendly San Carlos, where active parents and children often hike at Cowles Mountain or kayak at Lake Murray, he says.

Located at Jackson Drive and Navajo Road, the 8,000-square-foot studio (formerly Village Gym) is equipped with Star Trac Treadclimbers, stationary bikes, freeweight benches and 120-pound punching bags, among other machines and gear. Soon, the gym will expand with a 1,100-square-foot functional training area. Despite the offerings of a state-of-the-art center, UFC is on a mission to train differently, says Myers.

Whether its burning up to 1,000 calories in Daily Ultimate Training, building self-confidence in kickboxing or training like an MMA fighter in the high-intensity UFC Fit, fitness fiends of all ages and levels have a schedule of over 70 classes to choose from. “A lot of people who are in the military or who are peacekeepers or [other servicemembers] like the ability to come to a workout that can be scaled to [their needs],” Myers says. And save for one-on-one training seshes, UFC offers zero full-contact classes.

It’s not just a boys’ club, either: Over half of UFC’s members “are women, and they’re some of our most loyal, passionate members,” Myers adds, and their roster of youth-oriented classes and anti-bullying programs are designed to teach girls and boys self-defense, discipline and coordination.

Eventually, UFC Gym hopes to open seven more locations throughout San Diego. Bring your boxing gloves, but check your mouthpiece at the door.

UFC Gym San Carlos
7439 Jackson Dr., San Carlos