Over the past couple of months, a lot of buzz has surrounded FKP MMA patriarch Chris “Mjolnir” Franco’s decision to move the second location of his groundbreaking club from Port Moody to Surrey’s World Gym. Deals were struck, equipment was purchased, and things were seemingly full-speed-ahead for the scheduled January 7th grand opening of FKP MMA Surrey.
But with only days to go before the doors were to open, the plug was pulled on the entire enterprise leaving many in the lower mainland scratching their heads over what went wrong.
“It’s a tremendous disappointment for all of us,” says Franco. “We were doing well in Port Moody, but received so much demand from Surrey that when the World Gym owners extended an offer to open at their location, it seemed like a perfect fit. Unfortunately, the whole thing ended up being too good to be true.”
After matting and repainting the new location, FKP senior instructors were shocked to discover evidence suggesting the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs on the gym premises. This, Franco states, was an immediate deal-breaker.
“FKP MMA has an extremely strict policy against the use of non-prescribed drugs, whether they be recreational or performance-enhancing. It was a heavy blow for so much time and effort to be sunk into this venture only to have it fall through, but pulling out was the only decision I could have made. I simply will not subject FKP students to that type of environment. Better to write the whole thing off as a learning experience than to worry about my students being affected by what might be going on in that place.”
For the many left disappointed by the aborted launch of FKP MMA Surrey, Franco still has encouraging words.
“All is not lost,” he says with a smile. “I wouldn’t have lasted 16 years in this business if I didn’t have a Plan B, C and D in situations like this. This is a short-term setback, but our Vancouver location is still doing better than ever, and soon I’ll be following a new strategy for expansion of our club into new locations.
“Every fighter has to take a knee once in a while,” he adds. “But the best ones get back up and score a knockout. That’s what FKP MMA has always done in the past, and what it will continue to do in the future. You can mark my words on that!”