Fight centre ready to give it all it’s got

Matt Toa
Matt Toa
The Otago Fight Centre is not ready to tap out yet.

It is one of the many gyms in the region that will be waiting with everything crossed this afternoon.

The Government is expected to announce whether the country will move from Covid-19 Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2.

Alert Level 2 will allow the doors to gyms to swing open for the first time in six weeks.

Otago Fight Centre director and former professional mixed martial arts competitor Matt Toa has been in some tight spots in the arena, but the lockdown has arguably been his biggest fight.

"It has been tough with just so many unknowns," he said.

"We knew we had to brace ourselves during the lockdown and it has just been a waiting game for us before we can get back into things.

"But as we get more and more clarification of what we need to get back, it has given us a lot more hope now."

The centre runs different classes to cater for different types, but specialises in combat training.

Toa said he was still waiting for clarification on what would be permissible under Alert Level 2.

"But things like sparring is definitely out for now and we are looking at putting people into separate areas in the gym and they have to stay within that area.

"And we’ll definitely be keeping track of everyone that comes into the building and also raising the hygiene standards.

"I’ve been ordering chemicals left, right and centre and the place smells like a hospital."

Toa said, like a lot of businesses, he had leaned on the government subsidy to survive. He is not sure whether the business will endure when it ends.

"That is all part of the unknown. Right now what I’m really focused on, once we are able to open up, is getting all our members back in and making sure they are provided a good facility and service."

The Otago Fight Centre is the home gym for professional MMA competitor and Australasian No 1 ranked MMA middleweight Brogan Anderson and two-time MMA World Championship silver medallist Hannah Dawson.


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