What Is UFC Apex? (Fully Explained)

What Is UFC Apex

UFC produces around 44 events each year out of which more and more are hosted in the “empty” UFC Apex Center. What is the UFC apex, and why this facility was built?

UFC apex is a production center located in Enterprise, Nevada, Las Vegas built in June 2019. The UFC uses it to host live events as well as other studio shows such as “Contender Series” or “The Ultimate Fighter”. The facility was built in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to meet all the safety requirements which enabled the UFC to keep the show running.

However, the UFC continued to use the Apex center long after the pandemic has passed. In fact, the company is hosting more and more events at this facility, and be sure to read this article to learn why, as well as much other unique information.

What is the UFC Apex Center?

The UFC Apex is a sports facility center built and owned by the biggest MMA promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The company opened the facility on June 18, 2019, in response to the rise of the global Covid-19 pandemic. It is located in Enterprise, Nevada, Las Vegas, right across the famous “UFC Performance Institute”. This is a big advantage as it enables both facilities to cooperate with one another to some degree.

The UFC bought the property from Scientific Games Corporation for $40 million. To make it suit their needs, they needed to change the entire infrastructure from scratch. They did this in a short time span, which probably cost even more than the initial investment.

Initially, the UFC used the Apex to host the events behind closed doors. There was no audience and interaction between the members of the production team was reduced to a minimum. During the pandemic, the apex events included mostly North and South American-based fighters due to all the travel restrictions. And the UFC PI also played a key role in this as it enabled the fighters to isolate themselves and train alone.

But even with the pandemic and restrictions gone, the UFC continued to use the Apex. The facility proved to be very practical for live events, and other shows such as “Contender Series”. In fact, almost half of UFC events in 2022 were actually held inside the Apex, which shows you how valuable this facility is to the company.

What Does the UFC Apex Include?

The UFC Apex might look “basic” without the huge audience roaring in the background. It does not include 25,000 seats, but do not make a mistake about it, apex is a state-of-the-art facility. It is equipped with the latest production gear and has everything else the UFC needs to produce high-quality shows.

The apex spreads 130,000 square feet. The designers split the building into three main segments: stage A, stage B, and stage C. All three segments are interdependent and operate as one unit during the events.

Stage A — is the main segment of the UFC Apex, the only one public gets to see through the screens. It spreads at around 12,500 square feet, is 26 feet in height, and is the “center” of the operation. The main feature is the full-size octagon in the center where fighters perform. There are also LED screens all over the place for the spectators and personnel to monitor the action, professional lighting, stands for spectators, and many other things.

Stage B — is what they often call “backstage” where the real production work is going on. It is a massive broadcasting studio that spreads at 2.500 square feet and includes state-of-the-art production gear. This includes an audio room, a replay room, and the main production control room. This segment also has multiple rooms UFC uses for various broadcasting shows, interviews, shootouts, or other media shows and projects.

Stage C — is the smallest segment of the UFC apex. It has 750 square feet of space used for multiple media work. This includes interviews, and meetings between the staff members, media, and fighters.

UFC Apex is a proper sports center and includes very much the same features as any sports arena. Apart from things related to production, the facility covers all the fighters’ needs. There are spacious dressing rooms, rooms for referees and members of the athletic commission as well as cutmen where they can wrap fighters’ hands, give them instructions, etc.

A large training area is also a part of the apex center. It includes a full-size boxing ring and octagon that fighters may use whenever they want to. They also have the latest strength and conditioning equipment at their disposal, as well as showers, meeting rooms, and other important things.

Why UFC Uses the Apex Center?

UFC uses the apex center for low and medium-level live events and other shows. Here is a detailed look into how UFC benefits from the apex center.

It saved the company from the pandemic

UFC Apex center was opened in 2019 when the Covid-19 pandemic was spreading like wildfire. At the time, any major sport or league got shut down due to all restrictions. To keep the show running, fighters paid and people interested in the sport, the UFC needed to create some type of “bubble”. A place where they could host events without exposing fighters and other employees to the disease.

The final result of their effort was the Apex center, a project very similar to the famous “UFC Fight Island”. The facility enabled the company to operate at the required maximum of 50 people involved. This includes the entire production team, referees, judges, coaches, fighters, members of the athletic commission, etc.

Though impossible at first glance, the company managed to pull it off. For months, UFC events were the only sports show you can watch, not just in the US, but globally. This brought the company millions of new fans, and of course, an increase in revenue.

Allows the UFC to host events at low cost

When the pandemic got under control, the UFC continued to use the apex center.  The facility primarily hosts low and medium-sized events such as Fight Nights. On one side, they don’t get the large crowd as they do in big arenas. But on the other, they compensate for this through the low cost of production.

First, they don’t have to rent the entire arena, which is very expensive. Next, they don’t have to move the entire production team and gear to a different state or country, and do other logistically expensive things. On top of that, it often happens that low-level cards do not sell all of the tickets, so using UFC apex saves the company a lot of money.

Although the initial concept didn’t include any crowd they customized the place to fit around 150–300 people. Though this doesn’t seem as much, bear in mind that you have to dig deep into your pocket to be among the “few” lucky ones to enjoy the show. The tickets range in price from $2.000 to $3,000.

To host other shows

UFC uses the apex center to host other shows apart from regular events. The facility has become the home to a popular “Contender Series” show, which is a separate promotion from the UFC where young talents receive a chance to prove their worth and showcase their talent. The other popular one is the legendary “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show that has been around since 2006. They also use the facility to shoot other shows, interviews and do other media work.

What is the UFC Apex Octagon Size?

The octagon used in the apex center is smaller than the “standard” one used in high-profile pay-per-view events. The entire design and structure of the octagon is exactly the same. However, the one in the apex is 25-feet in diameter, while a “standard” one is 30-feet in diameter. And this completely changes the dynamic of the fights.

A smaller octagon means less space for the fighters to move around. It prevents fighters who heavily rely on footwork to use the spacious octagon to maintain their range, avoid risky pocket exchanges, and in some cases, stall the action. Instead, the smaller octagon forces the fighters to compete at a higher volume and faster pace. This ultimately results in more exciting fights for the fans, and more finishes, which adds to the entertainment value of the entire event.

Many fans also suggest that smaller octagon favors certain styles. For example, it makes it easier for grapplers to cut the opponents’ movement, press them against the cage or score a takedown. A fighter defending has less space to work and utilize space to stay on their feet.

Why is UFC Apex Empty?

UFC Apex is not empty and the events organized in this facility include a small audience. Overall, the apex includes between 1000–1500 seats. However, the events are never sold out to their full capacity. Instead, each event sees between 150 and 200 people in the audience and you can easily hear them yelling and cheering during the events.

During the actual event, you will rarely see the crowd, their faces, or wide camera shots showing their reactions. This is mainly because being one of 150 people in the audience is considered a VIP experience. And this, of course, includes a certain level of privacy. They don’t want to be filmed and seen by millions of people while drinking or doing other things.

However, if you follow the “Contender Series” show, which is also hosted in the apex, you can see 200–300 people in the audience. These are mostly fighters’ friends and family members supporting their athletes. There is no “privacy” as you can see them sitting beside the cage. The production team also does not hesitate of showing their reactions as well.

How to Attend UFC Apex Events?

However, the UFC is trying to get the most out of these tickets. The price of each one ranges between $2000 and $3000 depending on the package you choose. For example, a premium package includes a reserved seating in the “Skybox”, which is a raised platform with a unique look at the action inside the octagon. The package also involves private hospitality lounge with a buffet and open bar, in-seat beverage service, and many other exclusive services.

At the end of each event, you will get an exclusive right to enter the octagon to get a picture and take a piece of the octagon canvas as a souvenir. Although quite expensive, this is certainly a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience for every UFC fan.

Can you Rent Out UFC Apex?

Apparently, if you are famous and rich enough, there is a possibility you can rent out the entire UFC Apex and enjoy the event alone or with a group of friends. Of course, we are talking about the Mark Zuckerberg type of celebrity, and the only man who “allegedly”, rented out the Apex Center. The news came days ahead of the event when Mackenzie Dern, who was booked on the card, said that “Zuckerberg rented out the whole event”.

Although the UFC and its president Dana White denied this ever happened, it was more than obvious it did. During the event, Mark Zuckerberg was sitting alone with his wife, watching and enjoying the UFC event alone in peace. Apart from the production team and members of the commission and judges, there were no other people.

So if you are a powerful public figure and you are in some type of business with the UFC, you can apparently rent out the entire UFC event just for yourself.

Final Thoughts

UFC Apex is not a revolutionary type of facility. However, it is a solution that came at the right place and at the right time to save the UFC from the pandemic restriction, and enable the company and its employees to operate without a break.

After the pandemic, the facility reserved a new role and is now hosting regular fight night events, as well as other shows. Although watching the UFC events in silence was a bit weird at first, fans got used to the Apex center and there is something special in watching fighters perform without the large crowd. If you are a fan and rich, you may even considering renting out the whole place just for yourself.

Images by Andrius Petrucenia from flickr
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