Minding My Business With UFC VP/Performance Dr. Duncan French
Name: Dr. Duncan French
Position: UFC Performance Institute VP/Performance
Where I’m from: New Castle, England
Where I call home: Las Vegas
Focusing on right now: We've only been open six months now, so positioning the Performance Institute as the global leader in MMA and positioning ourselves with some other big players in sports performance and around human performance.
Best advice: Try to be the most authentic version of yourself as you can be and remember that you’ll regret what you didn’t do rather than what you did do.
People I admire: I worked at the Univ. of Notre Dame before I came here and AD JACK SWARBRICK is a visionary in the NCAA. It was amazing to be around him and how he supported my role and what we were trying to do at Notre Dame. Under Armour VP/Performance PAUL WINSPER is a human performance specialist and I’ve always kind of sought his counsel and conversation. I’m also learning a lot from (UFC Senior Exec VP & COO) LAWRENCE EPSTEIN -- it’s truly inspiring to be around him.
Must have for a new hire: You need to be humble and hungry with a growth mindset. In the industry of sports performance, a lot of people place emphasis on book smarts and technical skills, but sport is a people industry. So, you have to work to position yourself with the athlete at the center of the conversation and then you have to work tirelessly to support the athlete.
Book shelf: “MINDSET,” by CAROL DWECK is a book that I’ve read in the last year that is great. As I’ve moved into more managerial and executive roles you become more apparent of how you’re trying to inspire a team and how you’re trying to shape innovation and shift and create culture.
Must-have music: I’ve got very eclectic taste. Everything from AC/DC to MUMFORD & SONS to THE KILLERS. But I’m from the U.K. I’m a big EDM fan, so CALVIN HARRIS, TIESTO -- those types of things.
First thing in the morning: I kiss my wife and my 6-month-old son and then I get a workout in, which sets me up for most of the day. I’m a different person when I get to working out. That mental refreshment really sets me up. It also helps shape goal setting, which is a huge part of the industry and business as well, and it’s a good kind of rehearsal for that.
Talking tech: My role is to turn every stone in the tech space and be aware of what’s underneath those stones so we can always be at the front edge of innovation. We’ve got technology in trends in power diagnostics, cardiovascular and condition assessments to vision training and motion capture where you would look at it as kind of computer game technology for looking at movement patterns and assessments. We’ve got all those capabilities.
Food for thought: I’m a big Mexican fan and Asian fan, Thai and Chinese. Moving to Vegas has been great because the Mexican food here is first class. I’m still new to the city, I’ve only been here six months. I’m still figuring out where the go-to place is. Lawrence is a big foodie I get some good direction and some good recommendations.
How I unwind: Being in water is my happy place. Ironically, I moved to the middle of the desert. I’m a big surfer, so whenever I can get across to California or go on vacation and look out at the ocean, that’s my happy place. But just being around the pool and playing with my son.
Day in the life: The great thing is no two days are alike -- there is a lot of variety in my role. I can go from looking at data sets and looking at the latest information that we collect on elite UFC fighters to putting in a CO2 max test with an athlete in the lab. Or sitting down with the execs talking about policy and legislation and MMA, and then sitting down with production pulling together content and educational material that we hope to obviously shape and influence the wider MMA community globally.