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Human Performance Leadership & Culture Performance | 14.02.19

Leaders Performance Podcast: Duncan French, UFC

The Vice President of Performance at the UFC takes us inside the doors of its $14million Las Vegas Performance Institute.

“The way the fight is being won is changing – strike rates are up, knockouts are down and results by decision have gone up.” So says Duncan French of the UFC and the world of mixed martial arts.


By John Portch

The Vice President of Performance at the UFC explains that what it takes to win in the UFC – so comprehensively benchmarked in this recent report – continues to evolve in a sport that has been professional for just 25 years.

That is why the opening of the $14 million UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas has enabled French and his colleagues to stay on top in such a dynamic environment.

He says: “What we hope to do is pull back the layers of how you succeed; what are the determinants of performance that underpin success in mixed martial arts competition and how do we reverse engineer that to build out our programming strategies, our injury prevention or regeneration strategies to minimise risk; and how do we take and distribute that on a global scale?”

Amid this excitement, we are heading to UFC’s Performance Institute in Vegas for the West Coast Edition of our 2019 Leaders Sport Performance Summit. French is also on the bill – something touched upon towards the end of our conversation – but in addition to the goings on behind the walls of the institute, listeners will also hear French discuss:

  • His role as VP enables him to direct the UFC’s performance vision, philosophy and strategy [2.00];
  • Running an athlete-centred, facility-enabled, coach-led, and data-driven model [14.50];
  • How the layout of the UFC Performance Institute influences performance [24.30];
  • The opening of the UFC’s Shanghai Performance Institute later this year [33.20].

Previous Episode:

EP 39: Mubarak Malik, New York Knicks

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