Michael Bisping, Joe Long & Fighters Inc secure “UK rights to UFC Gym UK”

Joe Long of Fighters Inc exclusively told K1ANOOP that Fighters Inc in partnership with former UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, are set to launch over 100 UFC Gyms in the UK over the next 10 years – further details of which are being announced this afternoon at the UFC Gym’s press conference at Glazier’s Hall, London Bridge.

“We’ve managed to broker the deal to actually bring UFC Gyms to the UK and in a partnership deal, we have secured the UK rights to UFC Gym UK. It’s a big deal. We’re talking a hundred plus gyms across the UK in the next 10 years.”

Joe Long and Fighters Inc’s background with Michael Bisping

“I say we’ve been working with the UFC, we’ve been working with each other; we’ve been working with Fighters Inc. We’ve always worked closely with Michael Bisping whether its throughout his fight camps from back in the day.”

“We use to supply Wolf’s Lair with different sparring partners; always dealt with Michael’s after-parties for the big UFC shows; and always try to do various events with and for Michael, around Michael; after-parties, seminars, super seminars.”

“We kinda started that whole thing in the UK, you know where we toured with different fighters and marquee names; done a lot of work with Michael in that aspect, corporate events with Micahel as well.”

How Bisping first invested in his own UFC Gym in the USA

 “So Michael got involved with UFC Gym in America and invested in a gym in The States. I went out and seen Michael, seen the gym and we started to talk about how great ot would be to have a UFC Gym or a couple of UFC Gyms in the UK. We then discussed this with UFC Gym in America.”

“So UFC Gym in America is half-owned by UFC and half-owned by another company which is headed up by a guy called Mark Mastrov whose the guy behind ‘24 hour Fitness’ and in America, UFC Gyms are everywhere. I say everywhere, I think right now they’ve got about 170, 180 gyms nationwide. They’re also in Australia, Malaysia, they’re coming to India, Hawai. They’re expanding rapidly.”

Bringing UFC Gyms to the UK – Two years in the making:

“I kinda got the green light off of Michael and UFC Gyms to go and see if we could put something together. There’s a lot more to it. Michael spoke to the president of if UFC Gym, a guy called Adam Sedlack, who lives closely to Michael and has become a good friend of Michael’s over the years, advised Michael on investments with UFC Gym. Michael’s involved in great gym in southern California. Michael’s involved in that financially and he coaches there as well on a regular basis.”

“Michael spoke to Adam. I got the green light to go out and look to see if we can pull together a team or investment to make UFC Gyms happen in the UK and that was two years ago.”

“Fast forwad two years later and a heap of work; and a heap of meeting real nice people in the industry, in the leisure industry; investors, so and so forth; we’ve managed to broker the deal to actually bring UFC Gyms to the UK.”

Joe Long will guest on The K1Anoop Show podcast on Friday 16th March.

Watch the Joe Long mini documentary interview series on YouTube below:

Alistair Overeem vs. Rico Verhoeven allegedly in talks for two-fight deal

Alistair Overeem vs. Rico Verhoeven is allegedly in talks for a two-fight deal which, could include both GLORY Kickboxing and the UFC rule-sets applied for each of the two proposed fights, according to sources close to the situation.

Although Overeem has in the past shotdown any questions raised to him about a potential return to kickboxing via GLORY, the escalating war of words between himself and Verhoeven are not without intent. Rico recently lambasted Overeem when asked about future challenges at GLORY 45 Amsterdam and took full aim at the UFC heavyweight.

“The Reem” is no stranger to world of kickboxing having won the most prestigious accomplishment in the sport by winning the K-1 World Grand Prix in 2010. At the time he was competing in kickboxing, ‘Reem’ took the sport by storm causing huge upsets including, his KO victory over Badr Hari in Dynamite 2008 after being called-out by the “Golden Boy”.

The rivalry between Overeem and Hari was of epic proportions for its time and that too was supposed to be one fight in K-1 and the other in MMA. However, the rematch would be under the K-1 banner too with Overeem alleging Badr didn’t want to fight him in MMA afterwards. The rematch was won by Hari, restoring the pride of kickboxing after the toppling of an MMA fighter who, had been making a mockery of world class kickboxers at the time who, were shockingly losing to him.

Verhoeven was strongly rumoured in recent years, to have been on the verge of joining the UFC, only for the WME-IMG takeover to allegdly halt a possible move from GLORY to the UFC. The GLORY champion has a 1-0 MMA record and has a successful past in in Dutch/European BJJ tournaments; and is not to be underestimated as simply a technical kickboxer.

Another GLORY champion who today expressed his interest in fighting MMA for the UFC is GLORY welterweight champion, Murthel Groenhart who, alleged (in the video below) that UFC President, Dana White was in contact with GLORY about the potential of making a joint venture of some sort happen between the two promotions; fueling the growing speculation around Overeem vs. Verhoeven in both GLORY and the UFC.

K1ANOOP will report again as the overall situation develops further.

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Photo credit: Featured images courtesy of Glory Sports International; photo(s) by James Law.