Adam Sedlack appointed CEO of UFC GYM after serving 12 years as the brand’s president and co-founder.
Adam Sedlack has been appointed CEO of UFC GYM after serving 12 years as the brand’s president and co-founder. Mark Mastrov, the former CEO and co-founder of New Evolution Ventures, will become executive chairman.
UFC GYM is the first major brand extension of UFC, the world’s premier MMA organization, and today boasts more than 150 locations in 37 countries. An additional 800 locations are in development globally.
Despite the challenges of 2020, UFC GYM added 13 company-owned locations and 15 franchise locations to its portfolio. The brand also announced openings in Japan, China, Thailand, Israel, Netherlands, Germany, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, London, Moscow, Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, China, Australia and Kazakhstan for later this year.
Sedlack credited his promotion and the wins the brand has seen despite the pandemic to the entire UFC GYM family, from the corporate support team and employees at the gym level to vendor partners, landlords and members.
“It’s every single person who has created this unique tribe and culture within UFC GYM who make this incredibly impactful for me,” said Sedlack. “As I look at my added responsibility, I’m obligated to take care of the team, the people in the gyms and all the customers who allow us to continue to grow the brand, and who really make the UFC GYM experience come to life.”
Sedlack also credits industry leaders like Mastrov and Jim Rowley, who he said constantly drive controllable excellence by deep and narrow-focused execution. “When one has the ability to watch the leadership of Mark and Jim over the last 25 years, it has been like getting an MBA in fitness leadership fundamentals,” said Sedlack. “I am very thankful for them and our entire executive team understands the business responsibility that is shared through our support center.”
As CEO, Sedlack shared his top objectives, including doubling down on UFC GYM’s value proposition and world-class support; understanding the lenses people view the brand and fitness through; and creating simplicity for the customer.
Value Proposition & World-Class Support
According to Sedlack, despite the fact many fitness operators are moving toward the lower-price segment of the market, UFC GYM is doubling down on its premium product because it believes the demand is there from consumers.
“So much of the industry is going low-cost,” said Sedlack. “We’re going the other direction. Consumers still want an experience. They still want to be a part of a community and culture that can only result through dynamic people and team members inside a facility, with great classes, music and lighting, the right visual impact, and enough space.”
In addition, Sedlack shared they’ve made the conscious decision to become more holistic by adding recovery stations featuring services like aqua massage, cryotherapy, compression therapy, supplements and more. “We think recovery is going to be a channel of exponential growth,” he said.
Lastly, Sedlack added the brand is continuing to invest in its support center to ensure franchisees — domestic and international — have the resources they need to be successful.
“We as an organization are obligated to make sure we provide world-class support through technology and people, so franchisees can translate the brand correctly within their four walls, no matter if they’re in Miami, San Jose or in Beijing, China,” said Sedlack. “We’ve partnered up with many vendors that are incredible, that are going to help us bring that system to life. And we’ve also added world-class team members in our support center to connect our operating system to the owners and members.”
Another top priority for Sedlack will be understanding the lenses through which employees and customers — current and potential — view fitness and the UFC GYM brand as a fitness community.
“Everybody looks at fitness through their own set of lenses,” said Sedlack. “I think the more you can understand how people are looking at fitness, looking at the business itself, looking at the experience — the better off we’ll be as an organization to lead UFC GYM into the next generation of how facilities connect on a business and emotional level.”
According to Sedlack, continued excellence around these important questions is an expectation:
- Do members love the experience UFC GYM provides?
- Are team members inspired by our culture?
- Do team members feel empowered to share our culture?
- Do the domestic and international franchisees feel inspired by our culture?
- Do the franchisees feel and experience the right support to bring a consistent inspiration to members?
- Do we have the right vendor partners and share a mutual respect in helping our members and team?
Sedlack believes that post-COVID, there will be an even greater opportunity for the fitness industry to expand, as more and more consumers realize the importance of fitness and health to one’s immune systems and longevity.
“In the U.S. we only have around 25% penetration,” said Sedlack. “We can still double in the U.S., and there are countries out there that are less than 1% fitness penetration. So there’s huge opportunity for all of us in the industry, and UFC GYM is excited to participate at the highest potential level through our global network.”
As a final objective, Sedlack shared the importance of creating simplicity for the end user to participate in the UFC GYM brand, from scheduling an in-person class and doing a virtual workout, to buying products online or joining their robust social media platforms.
“I think the industry in general is intimidating, and the more you can create simplicity to open the door wide, the more you’re going to be relatable to the average consumer,” explained Sedlack. “We are extremely excited about unpacking that.”
Ultimately, Sedlack wants the brand’s mission to “empower the fighting spirit” to be as easily accessible as possible.
“That doesn’t mean going into an octagon and doing a five-round championship fight,” said Sedlack. “What that means is whether you want to lose weight, improve your endurance, stamina or feel better about yourself, or just take on any personal demons, UFC GYM can prepare your body and mind and really intersect them together through MMA-inspired fitness and conditioning.”
As Sedlack begins a new journey with UFC GYM as CEO, he stressed the fact he didn’t get there alone.
“I just want to emphasize the appreciation of the UFC GYM team member,” said Sedlack. “I think they’re such an important piece in what makes the industry click. Sometimes we forget about the person at the front desk who checks members in, the person in the club who is cleaning our locker rooms, and without those dynamic team members who are the fitness leaders of tomorrow, it’s hard for us to get through times like this. The foundation of fitness excellence will always be found through the in-gym leaders who are closest to the customer.”
Extra insight: Read more insights from Adam Sedlack in this Q&A on the state of the industry in California.