FIGHT CONTINUES: Grow Strong MMA owner Ben Pepper is ready to fight for the business he’s spent five years building up.
FIGHT CONTINUES: Grow Strong MMA owner Ben Pepper is ready to fight for the business he’s spent five years building up.

Drastic measures needed to keep gym alive

MMA: The impact of coronavirus has been felt right across the sporting community, but none more so than for small business owner Ben Pepper.

The decision to close indoor sporting venues at midday on Monday was one which directly impacted Grow Strong M. M. A's Warwick and Stanthorpe gyms - with training cancelled for the foreseeable future.

It will be the first time in the gym's five-year history the doors will be shut, which could have a greater impact on the survival of the business.

"My hand was forced - viruses don't close businesses, governments do," he said.

"The nature of what we do, we really couldn't stay open.

"We're taking some time to reassess what goes on for a bit."

Determined to ensure the longevity of M. M. A in Warwick, Pepper has already started taking proactive measures for the future.

"We will have some outdoor striking and PT sessions available," Pepper said in a post to Facebook users.

"I'm just going to keep trying to use what little freedom we have left, before we could be put in complete lockdown."

Overwhelming support from community members has given Pepper hope for the future, who have conveyed their eagerness to return to the gym when restrictions are removed.

"We have very good people in our intimate community down there," he said.

"We always have each other's backs.

"It's very good in that way."

Grow Strong were scheduled to host their third Fight Night in May, with fighters from the region and across the state expected to compete.

The decision to cancel the event was one which poses a greater threat to athletes who are unable to train, let alone compete.

"For them, they can't train in the gym until we're given the all clear to re-open again," he said.

"That could be at least a couple of months, and then they will need some time to train again.

"It's very specific thing you have to be able to get ready for.

"I'm just trying to stay vigilant more than positive."