Epic MMA Club.
The US-born Sirucek has lived all over Asia and accumulated a wide array of experiences with indigenous martial arts and astute observations of expat interaction. His most recent locale of residence has been Singapore, arguably the forerunner of the MMA boom in Asia via Sentosa World's international Martial Combat series, the subsequently organized One FC promotion and network, and the stellar MMA institution Evolve MMA, of which Cole was a member. The scale and flavor of what he is creating in Hong Kong is obviously in part influenced by his experiences there.
The sheer size of the Epic MMA Club is enough to make anyone even remotely enamored with a boxing glove or sweaty gi drop to one knee and issue a marriage proposal - it is roughly 15,000sf. On the 'striking' side of the gym - although it is still in build out - sits an assembled full size MMA cage and a wall-length rack for ten slidable banana bags is installed. They seem to be miles apart from one another. There will be an assortment of striking gear from speedballs to mammoth 500-pound heavy bags, and when your gloves get sweaty, stick them on the jet air rack. On the ground work side, the open area for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu totals over 5,000sf. No, that is not a typo. A gymnast wanting to practice a floor routine would be perfectly comfortable with the space. When you take off your gi, don't make origami and stuff it back in your briefcase - throw it in the bin and it will be washed and back in your locker for your next session.
As if that weren't enough, factor in 2,000sf of fitness-related space and gear for TRX, a lounge area, wifi, ten showers in the men's bath area, video security, and a full-size boxing ring.
Cole has an interesting personal belief behind the concept of Epic MMA Club. "Everyone is always talking about martial arts 'hardware' as being the important aspect of a gym," he states (of which they will definitely have no shortage). "But I believe it is all about the 'software'."
What is gym 'software'? Black belts. Lots of them.
- Carlson Gracie Team black belt and BJJ Revolution Team's founder Rodrigo Medeiros
- Hong Kong's beloved Silvio Braga returning to the scene
- Black belt Marcus "Kiko" Cacella with some MMA under his belt
- Medeiros black belt Mike Power
- Hong Kong's resident Muay Thai champion and MMA fighter Vuyisile Colossa
- Thai coach Viriya Sripaew
- Eminent Air Bangkok's Somkid Khonthong
Sirucek says his "software" team of instructors has been carefully selected to reflect an atmosphere conducive to learning: they are experienced, humble, and generous with their knowledge. But don't call Vusi "soft" to his face.
Beyond this scope of instruction, Cole plans to build and establish a fight team based in Hong Kong, and have sessions catering to the black belts and fighters already here. While Hong Kong has a very deep and competitive Muay Thai community, and an ever-expanding populace of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners, the field of MMA fighters is diminutive. If the Epic MMA splash is big - although its direct influence will be towards the hundred thousand residents within a 2-MTR stop radius of Central who can afford a full-service gym with 5-star facilities and equipment - it could send out ripples that affect and influence the entire Hong Kong community to take a deeper interest in MMA. And that would be a very positive side effect for the sport.
Epic MMA Club has a forecast opening of March 2012. Nothing of this size and scope has ever been attempted in Hong Kong, from both a 'hardware' and 'software' standpoint. Cole Sirucek believes the time is ripe for Hong Kong to accept a gym of this caliber and a sport of such potential growth. We wish them much success in developing MMA in Asia. For more information, visit their website here.