Slugging it out

The name of Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champ Randy Couture is known by many in the Northwest – he was born in Everett and has spent much of his career training in Oregon – but Jay Shaffer said it seems Couture’s new Vancouver gym is still a secret.

Xtreme Couture opened in March and has grown to 100 members, but Shaffer and his wife Christa who manage the mixed martial arts training center, are hoping to see further expansion soon.

The 8,000-square-foot gym is next to the now-defunct Maverick Sport & Fitness, and Shaffer said the closure hurt Xtreme Couture. The two businesses offered a joint membership and were in the midst of starting joint marketing when the gym closed.

“A lot of people assumed that when Mavericks went out, so did we,” he said. “We’re really hoping another gym will come in there and we can start up another dual membership, which worked great.”

Shaffer said he hopes to expand the gym’s advertising efforts, and is waiting to get the go-ahead from the Las Vegas corporate offices.

“Getting the name out there isn’t as easy as you’d think,” Shaffer said.

The Shaffers met Couture while they were training at Team Quest, a mixed martial arts training camp in Portland, which Couture co-founded. This is the first business venture for both.

The Vancouver gym is the second owned directly by Couture. The first opened a few months before in Las Vegas, where Couture lives and trains. A franchise recently opened in Florida and a second franchise is set to open soon in San Diego.

The gyms were Couture’s brain child before he came out of retirement in January and because he’s been so busy since then, Shaffer said he rarely makes it to Vancouver and has turned over all of the operations to the Shaffers.

Shaffer said he was unaware of the gym’s start-up costs and monthly revenues, but said he expects to be in the black within the next few months.

The Shaffers, with six other instructors, teach every facet of mixed martial arts, boxing, Muay Thai and submission wrestling. Membership is $90 for two classes a week and $135 per month for unlimited classes or $75 and $135 per month with a year-long contract.

The majority of the members are not interested in fighting, but train for the workout, Shaffer said.

The bulk of the members are 18- to 34-year-old men, the very demographic who primarily watch UFC. There are some women and a few children, a group Shaffer would like to see expand.

Xtreme Couture

Randy Couture, owner

14010 N.E. Third Court, Vancouver


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.