Ridge Kiley made a trip to Las Vegas as a fan of MMA and came back with a new business venture in mind.
Kiley, along with his brother, Garett, will be opening the doors on Unrivaled Sports Performance, an MMA gym and all-around athletic training center in September in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Kiley recently graduated from the University of Nebraska where he competed on the Cornhusker wrestling team. He was a three-time NCAA Div. I national qualifier, captured a state championship as a high schooler in Iowa and is now a Certified Personal Trainer.
The gym, 4,200 square feet in size, will feature 2,000 square feet of mat space, artificial turf for speed and agility drills, an athlete-orientated weight room and a sauna.
“Unrivaled Sports Performance is, in essence, an athlete training center,” said Kiley, in an interview with FightLine. “We will be providing MMA classes, K-12 wrestling clubs, private wrestling lessons and video analysis, strength and conditioning for all sports, nutritional guidance and personal training.”
Kiley is pursuing his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist endorsement, something his brother already has. Garett also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and a Master’s in Sports Administration and Coaching, while Ridge holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.
“We want to help the city of Lincoln and surrounding communities excel at all sports and improve overall general health,” Kiley said. “When I was a young athlete, our family tried to take advantage of elite training opportunities available to us. I want to offer that type of service to area athletes.”
In 2012, Kiley headed to Las Vegas and watched UFC 148 in person, seeing Anderson Silva defend his UFC middleweight title against Chael Sonnen. He left “Sin City” with a new idea in mind: the gym.
“I have always been a fan of MMA,” he said. “The turning point for my interest in running a gym was going to Las Vegas for that card. I have wanted to open my own gym and pass on my knowledge of wrestling to the MMA community.”
Kiley has another tie to MMA, as he is a follower of the famed “Dolce Diet,” created by Mike Dolce.
“I followed the Dolce Diet my senior season at Nebraska and am currently a Dolce Diet follower,” Kiley stated. “I had underclassmen asking me for guidance on weight cutting and I really enjoyed helping them. That fueled my desire to open my own gym and help others.
“Going into my senior year, I had built a few different business plans for some entrepreneurship classes. I wanted to stay involved with wrestling, MMA and strength and conditioning; and this was my idea to incorporate it all.”
Kiley has already found a spot in the MMA world through friend and fighter Cody Land, who was sponsored by the gym last month when he scored a submission win over Carlos Claudio at Dynasty Combat Sports 1 in Grand Island, Nebraska.
“Cody has helped me out a lot through the process,” Kiley said. “He has introduced me to many people and has helped build the hype around Nebraska for the gym. He’s disciplined and a hard worker and has a bright future in fighting ahead of him.”
So, does Kiley have plans to follow fellow gym owners and compete inside the cage?
“I would love to fight, however, I have a serious eye injury that would present me from competing,” he admitted. “Also, my mother would not be too happy if I did.
“(Running the gym) allows me to do what I have a passion for every single day. I enjoy working with people and helping people reach their goals, whatever their goals may be.”