Tough break a boon to facility

When Jason MacDonald was carried from the octagon at UFC 113 with a broken leg and dislocated ankle, it was tough to find a silver lining in the dark cloud hanging over him.

Pure Fitness Mixed Martial Arts trainer George Belanger warms up in the cage prior to leading a MMA group in the new Pure Fitness facility at 4940-54 Ave. on Thursday.

Pure Fitness Mixed Martial Arts trainer George Belanger warms up in the cage prior to leading a MMA group in the new Pure Fitness facility at 4940-54 Ave. on Thursday.

When Jason MacDonald was carried from the octagon at UFC 113 with a broken leg and dislocated ankle, it was tough to find a silver lining in the dark cloud hanging over him.

But one might have emerged recently, as the temporarily disabled mixed martial arts middleweight has been able to devote his full energies to Pure Fitness and Mixed Martial Arts and its relocation.

The Red Deer business, which MacDonald operates with his wife Kelly, has moved from the north end of the city to 4940 54th Ave. Work at the new site continues, but the official changeover occurred Aug. 30.

In a recent blog, Jason described a string of 16-hour days devoted to the move — a commitment that would have been impossible with his usual training regimen.

“He’s had a bit more time to not focus so much on himself,” confirmed Kelly, adding that her husband has also been able to devote more energy to Pure Fitness’s expanded programming, such as personal MMA training for clients.

“I think things happen for a reason sometimes,” she said, acknowledging that Jason probably didn’t consider this possibility on the May 8 night he was injured.

“And I didn’t think so either.”

The primary motivation for moving Pure Fitness, which has been operating since January 2008, was to get more space. It now has that in the form of two separate bays: one dedicated to fitness and the other to MMA training.

The former contains equipment ranging from X-bikes and treadmills to kettlebells and free weights; the latter houses a boxing ring, octagon and wrestling mats.

“There’s more room, so we can have a few classes going on at once and not be stepping on each other,” said Kelly.

Although the two aspects of their business separate nicely, that wasn’t a reason for the change, she said.

“People (at the gym) liked watching the MMA — and people you wouldn’t expect.

“We just needed more space.”

That new space has allowed Pure Fitness to offer new classes, such as CrossFit kids. It’s also allowed for the addition of change rooms and showers, and even a second children’s room so that preschoolers can be separated from older kids.

The MMA side will remain very busy, said Kelly, noting that Dave Bownes, a certified personal trainer and boxing and strength and conditioning coach who operates Sweet Science, is based there.

The new downtown location, just west of Real Canadian Superstore, is also a plus, said Kelly. It’s central and provides direct access to the city’s trail system.

“It’s awesome, because we do lots of outdoor stuff too.”

Although Jason has scaled back his own training schedule, he’s still putting in plenty of hours in anticipation of an eventual return to competition, said Kelly.

“He’s hoping to fight again probably in the beginning of 2011.”

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