All 500-plus UFC fighters to gather in Las Vegas in May for 'Athlete Retreat'

Combat columnist
Cagewriter
New UFC owner Ari Emanuel (third from right) and president Dana White (right) will attend the first UFC athlete retreat in May and will give a joint keynote address. (Getty)
New UFC owner Ari Emanuel (third from right) and president Dana White (right) will attend the first UFC athlete retreat in May and will give a joint keynote address. (Getty)

All 500-plus active UFC fighters have been invited to gather in Las Vegas in May for a two-day UFC Athlete Retreat, which will be their first full integration into WME/IMG.

WME/IMG purchased the UFC in July for $4 billion-plus, but many of the fighters haven’t met Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, its co-CEOs.

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Emm]anuel and Whitesell are big on integrating their clients from their various sports to create opportunities for everyone, and the retreat will mark the start of that for the UFC fighters.

Athletes, musicians, actors/actresses and celebrities from many different genres who are represented by WME/IMG will appear at the retreat and will either offer presentations or be available to the fighters to ask questions.

The fighters will be given a primer on the soon-to-open UFC Performance Institute, which is available free of charge to them and their coaches to use to learn best practices in training techniques, recovery, weight-cutting and many other areas.

Forrest Griffin, a Hall of Fame fighter and the UFC’s vice president for athlete development, will lead tours on that.

The UFC has for years conducted a fighter summit, and though this retreat will be in some ways similar, it is not the same. The athlete summit is still expected to be held, but the retreat will take its place in 2017.

The retreat will allow the fighters to gather information on various topics, though an exact agenda has yet to be set. But the other athletes and celebrities will make presentations to them that they can use to advance their careers.

There will also be an opportunity for the fighters to meet UFC management and discuss any issues of concern.

The retreat will end with a concert performed by a WME/IMG client. Exact dates for the retreat haven’t been determined, though it will be in May at the new UFC campus in Las Vegas.

All fighters will also begin to receive a newsletter from management, which will include news of interest to them. They’ll also get access to a mobile app which will include detailed fight week schedules.

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