Brazilian twins Antonio Rogerio and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira have spent the last five years marketing their fitness academy, Team Nogueira, all over the world. The mixed martial arts veterans have brought their experience to Brazil, Switzerland and the United States with a goal of opening 51 facilities by May 2014. This week they took a giant step toward that goal with the launch of Team Nogueira Dubai, the largest MMA facility in the Middle East.
In speaking with Gulf News, Rodrigo reflects on what inspires Team Nogueira: “My mother had a gym so we grew up in the sport from the age of four. Back then if you wanted to do judo or karate, you would have to go to separate clubs, you never had one place for the whole family. My mother recognized this and put all mixed martial arts in her gym and that’s what we want to do here.”
Team Nogueira said they pride themselves on delivering world-class training in a family friendly environment and their goal is to build an open community that does not discriminate against skill set or fitness level. With the new location opening in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the Nogueira twins look to spread that message in a region not know for developing MMA talent.
“Normal people would never get hurt,” Rodrigo said. “It depends on the intensity. If you want to compete, of course, it’s a very extreme sport. If you want to surf the big wave, you’ve got to take a risk. The guy who drives an F1 car knows it’s dangerous, as does the American footballer. But MMA training is not dangerous if you can manage the intensity.”
Desert Force and Dubai FC are local promotions that have added notoriety to MMA in the Middle East. This, along with the growing popularity of Bellator, Invicta, and the UFC, may have contributed in choosing Dubai for the newest Team Nogueira academy. The Nogueira’s are aware of the sport’s increased acceptance in the UAE and hope that it translates into a desire to learn more.
“For sure we are going to make a lot of MMA fighters here,” Rogerio said. “But our proposal is not only to produce champions but work with wellness and try to make people change their lifestyle.”