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AP Exclusive: Jackson Wink MMA Academy offers naming rights

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jackson Wink MMA Academy, the storied mixed martial arts gym that has trained UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones and other notable fighters, will offer naming rights to its facility.

Gym co-owner Greg Jackson told The Associated Press that he and fellow owner Mike Winkeljohn will begin entertaining naming rights offers for their globally known training facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Jackson didn’t give a price for the naming rights, which would allow the rights holder to put its name on the building and all its logos and advertisements.

“It’s something we’ve been talking about for a while now,” Jackson said. “We are exploring our options, and we think we can give a partner a lot of exposure around the world because of our reputation. There are a lot of eyes on this place.”

Jackson said the gym is especially interested in tapping into the growing Hispanic market among MMA fans and would lean toward a global brand since the academy has several fighters from Latino neighborhoods in the U.S. and from Latin America.

Jackson Wink MMA Academy is sought out by mixed martial artists in the U.S. and from around the world. In addition to Jones (25-1-0), the gym has trained former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (12-4) and former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.

Jackson has been operating a gym for 27 years but teamed up with Winkeljohn in 2007 to form the academy.

The gym has been featured in several sports documentaries and has been called one of the best MMA gyms in the world by various MMA magazines. Fighters come to the gym to train with Jackson and Winkeljohn, who use New Mexico’s high altitude for conditioning and the mountains for seclusion.

Located just off Route 66 in downtown Albuquerque, the gym regularly attracts MMA fans and tourists who take selfies outside the facility. The gym recently opened an MMA-themed cafe.

In recent years, the gym has put in place security measures to keep fans and tourists from disrupting training sessions and asking fighters for autographs.

Michael Fiedel, deputy editor of The Body Lock, a website that covers MMA, said naming rights for Jackson Wink MMA Academy could be potentially lucrative and agreed it will give a company international exposure. “Jackson Wink is typically mentioned when a fighter joins the gym or has been fighting with the gym for a while,” Fiedel said. “It’s known among MMA fans as one of the best.” ___

Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

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More AP Sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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