Gym Roots: Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts
Former two-division Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder Randy Couture began Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts in 2006 simply as a location to prepare for a huge fight near UFC headquarters. It has since trained various champions in various MMA organizations and become one of the most identifiable brand names and gyms in battle sports.
The lineage of Xtreme Couture can be traced to Gresham, Oregon, where Couture, along with trainer Robert Follis and fellow fighters Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland, established the prominent Team Quest camp in 1999. At that time, MMA gyms were not nearly as common as they are today, so Team Quest members sparred and made use of wrestling mats at a local college.
When I left Oregon and transferred to Las Vegas, I was training at The Ultimate Fighter Training Center when they didn’t have programs, Couture told Sherdog.com. We had a terrific team of people and exercise partners. However, we were reliant on dead time between series of The Ultimate Fighter. When the show was shooting, we ran out the gym. Because of the need of requiring space and a location where we could all train together, we began trying to find a location. With the help of my former wife and a real estate agent, we found a commercial space we might transform into a MMA training gym. We created the name, and we were off and running.
9 years later, Xtreme Couture continues to churn out world-class fighters on Sunset Road. However, beginning a mixed martial arts gym was not as simple as discovering property to buy. Couture and his team needed to build out the facility, purchase equipment and find sponsors. He likewise needed to figure out a schedule by which he could separate the training for expert fighters and typical people. Think it or not, Couture stated, not everyone wants to get typed the face. The fact that business aspired to deal with an understood product like Couture assisted the gym get off the ground.
It wasn’t a big battle because individuals had an interest in supporting myself as a brand name and getting exposure in MMA for the clothing lines and equipment lines, he said. Throwdown was actually trying to make a push into the equipment, such as mats, gloves and cages. They helped us with a bunch of those issues. The other issue was, how are we going to set this up as far as classes goes? We had to separate who truly wishes to be a fighter, get into a cage and get punched, and who wishes to train and look like a fighter. Discovering a happy medium between the 2 was another huge challenge.
The gym was home to many of the top stars in MMA, as previous champions Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Alistair Overeem and Jay Hieron all trained at Xtreme Couture, along with Gray Maynard and Ray Sefo. After the gym s name retired in 2011, the gym struggled to find its identity.
When I initially came out here in 09, this was the place to be, stated Brad Tavares, a semifinalist on Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter who has put together an 8-4 record through 12 UFC looks. Randy was here, and a lot of other primary fighters were here. I think Wanderlei [Silva] was here before he opened up his gym. There was just a great deal of good training people. I came out here, and at the time, there were so many pros that you needed to be welcomed here. One of my coaches was pals with Matt Danzig, and he was training out here and he invited me. I didn’t have much money. It was prior to the UFC and The Ultimate Fighter. I couldn’t even pay for fees, and I was training at Tapout a lot. This was the area I always aspired to be. I can be found in and assisted a few men. I assisted Jay Hieron through among his camps, and he really liked me, and I’ve just stuck around ever since.
This has actually been my home for the past 7 years, and I just like it, he included. We had a lot of fighters in the UFC, and we were doing really good. I’ve seen us go through that shift to where it went down to a low.
One of the reasons for Xtreme Couture s return to magnificence focused on bringing consistency to the coaching and management group, Couture indicated. Couture likewise reached out to Follis, his former coach, Team Quest stablemate and sparring partner. Couture credits Follis and fellow coach Dennis Davis for supporting the amateur and pro groups.
I didn’t relocation here to come to this gym, Follis stated. Rather frankly, I’d heard you couldn’t run a group in Vegas because everybody is so flighty and it’s hard to get that group environment. Let’s see if it’s truly that or if there is a method to develop a group and get that put together out here.
Well, it was Robert, Tate said when asked why she decided to sign up with Xtreme Couture. Honestly, as quickly as we found out he was here, we were like, OK, we know him and understand he runs a good program. We’ve worked with him before, so we believed, Let’s provide it a shot. I had trained here prior to, but it was prior to the team got its momentum back; and it was not like a team feel. Robert appeared and put that camaraderie back into the space. That atmosphere was where it needs to have been the entire time.
It’s constantly excellent to have an amazing team, she included. He’s part of my team and he’s part of what makes everything walk around. You have to value him for his ability and everything he provides there. I actually seem like so much of this video game is mental rather than physical, which is where Robert is a standout coach. It’s not practically exactly what he can teach me but about exactly what he can pull out of me. That is where I think he is actually exceptional.When Tate choked Holly Holm unconscious to win the women s bantamweight champion at UFC 196, the entire gym felt the energy connected with her triumph.
It was really interesting, Tavares said. More than any of that, I’m simply happy for her. Miesha has actually had such a long hard road, and she has actually been so near to the outright top numerous times however simply fell short. We are truly happy for and proud for her. She deserves it. She’s been here, striving for it, putting in the work and striving. I truly like Miesha, not simply because of how good a fighter she is [but because] she’s a really great person. I realize her helping out the younger female fighters.Follis agreed.
There is nothing like winning a title, he said. It’s energizing for everyone, me included. As a coach, it’s the thing you are striving for. Every fighter I speak with wishes to win a title. Well, as a coach, you wish to win titles, too. They are challenging to get. Whether it’s the guy’s division, women s department or various weight classes, getting any belt in the UFC is a ridiculously hard challenge. So getting another belt as a coach-- and it has been several years since I worked with a champ in the UFC-- was a huge thing, not simply for me but for the gym.
The future at Xtreme Couture likewise appears bright. UFC light-weight Kevin Lee s name always appears when the subject is talked about. Tavares sees the 23-year-old Lee as young, starving, very athletic and very encouraged. Follis indicated Lee s focus being on ending up being a champion, not partying on the Las Vegas Strip.
After my very first UFC battle, I didn’t feel like I had great enough training partners back home, said Lee, who has actually won 12 of his very first 14 pro bouts. I was searching around, searching other gyms, but as quickly as I came here, I remained. I left all my things back home and got an apartment here.
The group’s future does not just focus on male fighters. When Tate connected arms with Xtreme Couture, she wanted to realize more of a dedication to the women s department. Couture, who has long embraced including more females in wrestling and MMA, was happy to require.
One of the important things that impressed me the most, and I brought [it] to their interest quite rapidly, was that I’d prefer to develop a women s team, Tate stated. They were like, Absolutely, we’d love that. Not all gyms are that responsive to the idea; lots of are like, More girls, actually? They were like, if you desire to hire other leading females and you want to have more training partners and you want to put it together, we totally support that. I really liked that idea, and we have a terrific thing going.
Follis tossed his assistance behind the plan.We have a great deal of younger women coming up, he said. We have some truly skilled women showing up, and I’m truly excited to see that continue to grow.
Couture also has major prepare for the present center. He expanded the gym s footprint 4 years ago to include a lot more mat space and additional space for cages. The expansion also permitted some separation in between the expert fighters and routine students who were more thinking about fitness and teaching than competing. Couture confessed that appealing to those consumers remains a difficult task, particularly in a town like Las Vegas.
Marketing it that method has been among the obstacles to get rid of, he said. Everyone took a look at us like we were just a fight gym, and that is a consistent challenge in this town. This is the most competitive market in this country. No other city has five to 6 big MMA gyms. This is an extremely competitive market to carve out members and keep a company.