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UFC announces 'UFC Lab' to promote athlete training and rehabilitation

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USA TODAY Sports

The UFC announced their Athlete Marketing and Development Program on Wednesday at a press conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Much of the presser and the program centers on the UFC's attempts to promote anti-doping, but there is a portion that covers the more proactive side of education, health, physical maintenance, training and rehabilitation. Lawrence Epstein, UFC's Chief Operating Officer, announced at Wednesday's presser the UFC is working on a project called (for now) the 'UFC Lab' where all of those efforts come together.

According to the announcement, UFC is in the process of building a new 'campus', which includes new office space for the growing infrastructure needs. In addition, Epstein told the media in attendance UFC is also building a facility on that campus that will focus on athlete training best practices, maintenance and physical rehabilitation.

"As part of that office facility," Epstein said, "we're building what we call, tentatively, the 'UFC Lab'. That facility is going to be a state-of-the-art facility where all of our athletes can come work out, using cutting-edge training techniques, and, of course, equipment, but also, if there is an injury, come and rehab at our facility."

According to Epstein, the larger aim is to treat existing injuries, but also reduce the incidence rate through wellness education and training guidance. Research for the effort came in the form of numerous visits to other professional sports teams existing versions of this type of facility. In particular, Epstein cited the Barclay's Premier team powerhouse in Manchester City, whose facility already offered its athletes and staff a commensurate level of training and rehabilitative environments.

"I was lucky enough to go and visit some of the great sports facilities around the world. In particular, a few months ago, [I] got to visit the Man City campus in Manchester, England," Epstein noted. "Just to see the facility that they've built there and the incredible thought that went into that, we've taken a lot of the ideas that they've actually put into place in their facility and are going to put that into ours."

No date was announced for the opening of the 'UFC Lab', nor were any mock-ups provided. As aforementioned, the 'UFC Lab' moniker is not permanent. As short as the announcement was on details, however, it was countered by the UFC's enthusiasm for what the lab can eventually offer its roster of fighters.

"We're really excited about that," Epstein noted.