Discover Auckland’s Fight Game: A Deep Dive into its Top MMA Gyms

October 12, 2023
From: Spartacus
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Nestled in the heart of the Pacific, Auckland, the sprawling metropolis of New Zealand, reverberates with echoes of the ancient Maori warriors and their esteemed combat traditions. These legends, deeply woven into the nation’s fabric, have evolved and found a modern voice in the rapid rise and embrace of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) within the city’s bounds.

As Auckland’s skyline dazzles with its architectural marvels, gleaming harbours, and verdant landscapes, there’s another rhythm that pulses strongly beneath – the cadence of determined training, the shuffle of feet, the hushed anticipation of a sparring match, and the undeniable spirit of MMA. New Zealand’s burgeoning presence on the global MMA map has much to attribute to Auckland, its vibrant epicentre. 

Through this article, we aim to journey deeper into Auckland’s dynamic MMA scene, spotlighting its premier gyms that have become sanctuaries for champions, budding fighters, and those simply entranced by the art of combat.

City Kickboxing

City Kickboxing, situated in Auckland, has rapidly risen to become one of the most esteemed martial arts training centers in the world. The gym’s philosophy is deeply rooted in a fusion of traditional martial arts values with contemporary combat techniques. Dedication, discipline, respect, and continual evolution are cornerstones of their training ethos. They believe in crafting not just successful fighters, but individuals who embody the martial spirit in every aspect of life.

City Kickboxing has earned its reputation through a synthesis of cutting-edge training regimens and tried-and-true martial traditions. Coaches focus intensely on striking, given the gym’s kickboxing roots, but have adeptly integrated wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and other MMA essentials into their curriculum. Their techniques emphasize precision, power, and strategy, ensuring fighters are equipped to handle any challenge inside the cage. Training sessions are rigorous, often employing live sparring to simulate real-fight scenarios. This real-time application allows fighters to test and refine their skills continuously.

The facility is decked out with a wide array of top-tier equipment. Spacious mat areas cater to grappling and ground-fighting drills, while a multitude of heavy bags, speed bags, and striking pads facilitate stand-up combat training. The presence of a full-sized cage and a ring ensures that fighters are acclimatized to real-fight conditions, giving them an edge in actual competitions.

City Kickboxing has become synonymous with elite-level MMA talent, particularly due to the success of fighters like Israel Adesanya, the dynamic striker with a penchant for electrifying finishes. Dan Hooker, another standout, is known for his resilience and well-rounded skill set. Alexander Volkanovski, with his impeccable fight IQ and adaptability, has also been a beacon for City Kickboxing’s training excellence. These athletes, under the gym’s tutelage, have showcased their prowess on global platforms like the UFC, earning accolades and bolstering City Kickboxing’s reputation on the international stage.

Oliver MMA

Oliver MMA, helmed by the seasoned Steve Oliver, has been a stalwart in New Zealand’s MMA landscape. Their foundational philosophy intertwines the spirit of martial arts with the physicality of combat sports. They emphasize respect, perseverance, and mastery, cultivating an environment where individuals can grow both as fighters and as individuals.

Under Steve Oliver’s guidance, the gym has established a comprehensive training system that blends various combat disciplines. While striking remains a prominent component, Oliver MMA places significant emphasis on ground combat, submission grappling, and cage control. The coaches, with their cumulative years of experience, impart nuanced techniques, ensuring fighters understand the underlying principles behind each move, not just the motions.

Oliver MMA’s facility is a testament to its commitment to MMA excellence. Grappling mats sprawl across significant sections, allowing for intensive ground-based drills. Striking enthusiasts will appreciate the variety of bags and pads, tailored to hone punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. A cage and sparring areas ensure fighters can simulate actual fight conditions, enhancing their readiness for competitions.

While Oliver MMA might not have the same global recognition as City Kickboxing, it’s been an essential cog in New Zealand’s MMA machine. Many fighters have begun their journey within its walls, benefiting from Steve Oliver’s vast experience and the gym’s holistic training approach. While specific global superstars might not be directly associated, Oliver MMA’s real success lies in its consistent production of skilled, well-rounded fighters who represent the gym and New Zealand with pride in regional and international arenas.


Strikeforce, as its name suggests, is deeply embedded in the world of striking, particularly kickboxing. However, its foundational philosophy extends beyond just the art of striking. The gym believes in creating not only proficient fighters but also individuals who have a deep understanding and appreciation of martial arts as a discipline. Dedication, perseverance, and the pursuit of mastery are fundamental tenets that underpin their training ethos.

Given its kickboxing roots, striking remains at the heart of Strikeforce’s training methodology. Fighters are trained to master the nuances of punches, kicks, elbows, and knees, with an emphasis on precision, timing, and power. However, recognizing the multifaceted nature of modern combat sports, Strikeforce has incorporated MMA into its curriculum. This integration means that along with striking, fighters are also exposed to grappling techniques, takedowns, and ground control. The coaches ensure a balanced approach, allowing fighters to be versatile and adaptable in the cage.

Strikeforce’s facility is tailor-made to cater to its kickboxing and MMA training programs. Strikers will find an array of heavy bags, speed bags, and striking pads, all designed to refine and perfect their stand-up game. For those delving into MMA, the gym offers expansive mat spaces for grappling sessions, as well as a cage where fighters can simulate real-fight conditions and acclimatize themselves to the dynamics of cage fighting.

Auckland MMA

Auckland MMA is an embodiment of the multifaceted nature of modern mixed martial arts. At its core, the gym’s philosophy is that a complete martial artist should be adept in various combat scenarios, whether they’re striking on their feet or grappling on the mat. This philosophy champions the amalgamation of various martial disciplines, underscoring the need for continuous learning, adaptability, and the holistic development of a fighter.

Training at Auckland MMA is a comprehensive affair. Their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sessions are meticulously crafted to emphasize ground control, submissions, and defensive techniques, ensuring fighters are formidable when the battle goes to the ground. The Muay Thai training hones a fighter’s striking prowess, focusing on the utilization of the eight points of contact, namely fists, elbows, knees, and shins. Integrated MMA training, the crown jewel of their regimen, marries these diverse disciplines, enabling fighters to seamlessly transition from stand-up combat to ground engagements. This synthesis ensures fighters are well-prepared for the unpredictable dynamics of MMA contests. The coaching staff, rich in experience and expertise, emphasize the importance of strategy, conditioning, and real-world application of techniques.

Geared to facilitate its eclectic training regime, Auckland MMA boasts state-of-the-art facilities. Expansive mat areas are designed specifically for BJJ sessions and ground combat drills. Striking aficionados have access to an assortment of heavy bags, speed bags, and Muay Thai pads, ideal for refining their striking techniques. An integral part of their setup is the dedicated sparring zone, replete with a cage, allowing fighters to simulate real-fight scenarios, honing their skills in conditions mirroring actual competitions.

Whether competing in local MMA promotions, BJJ tournaments, or Muay Thai showcases, Auckland MMA’s fighters are recognized for their skill, tenacity, and versatility. The gym’s reputation as a premier training center is further cemented by the achievements of its fighters on both national and international platforms.

The Combat Academy 

The Combat Academy’s philosophy pivots on the principle that martial arts is as much a journey of self-discovery and personal growth as it is about combat proficiency. The academy believes in forging not just fighters but individuals who are disciplined, resilient, and continuously evolving. Martial arts, in their view, is a conduit for personal betterment, transcending the boundaries of the mat or the cage.

The Combat Academy prides itself on a dynamic coaching methodology that blends traditional martial arts values with contemporary combat techniques. Each training session is designed to be both rigorous and enlightening, focusing on technical proficiency, strategic acumen, and physical conditioning. Given the ever-evolving nature of MMA, the coaches emphasize adaptability, ensuring fighters can handle a myriad of combat scenarios and opponents. Specialized training in disciplines such as BJJ, Muay Thai, boxing, and wrestling ensures that fighters have a vast arsenal at their disposal.

In line with its top-tier training offerings, The Combat Academy is fitted with cutting-edge equipment. For grappling and ground combat, the gym features large mat spaces, which are ideal for both drilling techniques and live sparring. Striking disciplines are catered to with an array of heavy bags, mitts, and pads, facilitating nuanced and effective stand-up combat training. A dedicated sparring area, equipped with a cage and a ring, allows fighters to get a feel of actual combat scenarios, preparing them for real competitions.


GroundControl stands as a testament to the intricate art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), accentuating the notion that martial arts aren’t solely about physical strength but about leveraging technique, strategy, and the mind. Their philosophy reverberates the essence of BJJ where a smaller, weaker individual can defend against and even overcome a larger, stronger opponent. This ethos transcends the physical aspect and permeates the belief that with the right technique and mindset, one can overcome any challenge in life.

While deeply rooted in the traditions of BJJ, GroundControl ensures its curriculum stays relevant to the evolving dynamics of modern martial arts. Their BJJ sessions emphasize fundamental techniques, positional control, and submissions while also imparting advanced strategies for seasoned practitioners. Recognizing the multifaceted nature of combat sports, GroundControl also offers MMA training. This integrates striking techniques with takedowns, ground control, and submissions, molding fighters who are versatile in varied combat scenarios. The transition between stand-up combat and ground engagements is a crucial aspect of their MMA regimen.

GroundControl, true to its BJJ-centric approach, boasts expansive mat areas tailored for grappling. These mats facilitate both gi and no-gi sessions, ensuring trainees get a comprehensive BJJ experience. For MMA enthusiasts, the gym provides striking pads, bags, and mitts, facilitating the integration of punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. A dedicated sparring area, fitted with protective gear, ensures fighters can simulate real-match scenarios safely and effectively.

ETK North Shore

ETK North Shore, traditionally grounded in the art of Muay Thai, operates on the belief that martial arts is as much about personal growth as it is about combat proficiency. The gym’s foundational ethos is rooted in the principles of dedication, discipline, and resilience—values that are inherent in the rigorous and tactical nature of Muay Thai. As they ventured into MMA, this philosophy expanded to encapsulate the dynamic and multi-dimensional aspects of mixed martial arts, emphasizing adaptability and versatility.

Given its rich Muay Thai heritage, ETK North Shore offers a systematic approach to the “Art of Eight Limbs,” focusing on punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes, along with the intricacies of the clinch. As the gym expanded its horizon to include MMA training, the curriculum was enhanced to integrate ground control techniques, takedowns, and submissions. This comprehensive approach ensures trainees get a holistic combat training experience.

Reflecting its Muay Thai roots, ETK North Shore is equipped with an array of heavy bags, teardrop bags, and pads, catering to the diverse striking techniques inherent in Muay Thai. As they embraced MMA, the facility was further enhanced with expansive mat areas for grappling, wrestling, and BJJ drills. The presence of a dedicated sparring zone and protective gear ensures trainees can practice live scenarios safely.

Renegade MMA

At the core of Renegade MMA’s philosophy lies the belief that martial arts is a continuous journey of self-discovery, discipline, and resilience. By blending traditional values with contemporary techniques, the gym fosters an environment where trainees evolve not just as fighters but as well-rounded individuals.

Renegade MMA offers a multi-dimensional training approach. Their MMA program integrates striking techniques from kickboxing with takedowns and ground control strategies from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This blended approach ensures fighters are adept at handling opponents in varied combat scenarios. Detailed technical sessions, coupled with high-intensity sparring and live drills, form the crux of their training regimen.

Facilitating its diverse training programs, Renegade MMA boasts state-of-the-art equipment. This includes expansive mat areas for grappling and BJJ, striking pads and bags for kickboxing, and a dedicated cage area that simulates real-fight conditions for MMA practitioners. Safety equipment, from headguards to shin protectors, ensures a risk-minimized training environment. Renegade MMA, with its comprehensive training approach, has produced several fighters who have showcased their skills on both national and international platforms. 


Auckland’s multifaceted MMA gyms stand as pillars of excellence, reflecting the city’s profound appreciation and dedication to combat sports. By fusing the time-honoured tenets of the Maori warrior ethos with contemporary fighting disciplines, these institutions have given Auckland a distinctive identity in the MMA universe. Their commitment to nurturing talent, fostering community, and upholding the highest standards of training and ethics is unparalleled. 

For those seeking to immerse themselves deeper into this captivating world of MMA and other combat sports, the Spartacus app serves as an invaluable portal. Catering to both fighters and fans, Spartacus is a treasure trove of live broadcasts, PPVs, training tips, latest news, and engaging blogs. As Auckland continues to carve its indelible mark in MMA lore, platforms like Spartacus ensure that its stories, battles, and triumphs are shared and celebrated by a vast, interconnected global community of combat sports enthusiasts.


What is the historical significance of Maori warriors in relation to Auckland’s MMA scene?

The Maori warriors, known for their fierce combat techniques and the revered Haka—a traditional war cry or dance—have left an indelible mark on New Zealand’s combat heritage. Auckland’s MMA scene, while modern in approach, draws spiritual and cultural inspiration from these ancient warriors. The ethos of bravery, strategy, and physical prowess resonates within Auckland’s MMA training academies, bridging the gap between traditional Maori combat arts and contemporary martial disciplines.

Why is Auckland considered a hub for MMA in New Zealand?

Auckland stands as New Zealand’s most populous and cosmopolitan city, fostering a diverse and vibrant sporting culture. Its modern facilities, access to top-tier coaching, and a burgeoning youth population interested in MMA have made it the natural nucleus for the sport. Moreover, the city’s global connectivity brings in international expertise and exposure, further cementing its reputation as New Zealand’s MMA epicenter.

What sets City Kickboxing apart in terms of its training ethos and fighter development?

City Kickboxing seamlessly merges traditional martial arts values with cutting-edge combat techniques. While they uphold principles of dedication, discipline, and respect, their training regimens are contemporary, focusing on precision, power, and strategy. This balance ensures that fighters are not only technically proficient but also embody the martial spirit in every aspect of life. Their success is illuminated by fighters like Israel Adesanya, showcasing the gym’s prowess on global platforms.

How has Steve Oliver influenced the MMA scene in Auckland through Oliver MMA?

Steve Oliver, through Oliver MMA, has been instrumental in shaping Auckland’s MMA landscape. His vast experience, combined with a holistic training approach, has laid the foundation for many fighters. By emphasizing respect, perseverance, mastery, and the blending of various combat disciplines, he’s cultivated an environment that nurtures both seasoned fighters and novices, thereby contributing immensely to the city’s MMA legacy.

How does Strikeforce balance its kickboxing roots with modern MMA training?

Rooted deeply in kickboxing, Strikeforce respects the art of striking. Yet, recognizing MMA’s multifaceted nature, they’ve expanded their curriculum to include wrestling, grappling, and other essential MMA techniques. This ensures fighters are well-rounded, adept in both striking and ground combat, highlighting Strikeforce’s adaptability and commitment to evolving combat sports.

What distinguishes Auckland MMA’s approach to mixed martial arts training?

Auckland MMA stands out by championing the amalgamation of diverse martial disciplines. They believe a complete martial artist should be competent in various combat scenarios. Thus, their training is comprehensive—meticulously crafted Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sessions, striking training from Muay Thai, and integrated MMA training. This synthesis ensures fighters are well-equipped for the unpredictable nature of MMA competitions.

How does The Combat Academy emphasize personal growth through martial arts?

While The Combat Academy certainly prioritizes combat proficiency, it views martial arts as a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Beyond physical training, the academy promotes discipline, resilience, and continuous evolution, underscoring martial arts as a tool for personal betterment that transcends the mat or cage.

How does GroundControl incorporate the philosophy of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into its MMA training?

GroundControl is a beacon for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, emphasizing technique, strategy, and the mind’s role in combat. They champion the BJJ ethos where technique can overcome sheer strength. This philosophy is infused into their MMA training, integrating striking techniques with BJJ’s ground control and submissions, creating versatile fighters adept at various combat scenarios.

In what ways does ETK North Shore integrate traditional Muay Thai techniques with contemporary MMA training?

ETK North Shore, with deep roots in Muay Thai, has expanded its horizon to encompass MMA. While they rigorously train fighters in the “Art of Eight Limbs,” they also ensure fighters are exposed to ground techniques, takedowns, and submissions, creating a holistic combat training experience that marries the best of both worlds.

How has Renegade MMA contributed to Auckland’s MMA reputation on international platforms?

Renegade MMA, with its blend of traditional values and contemporary techniques, has consistently produced fighters who are skilled, tenacious, and versatile. While the gym emphasizes the journey of self-discovery through martial arts, its fighters have showcased their prowess on both national and international platforms, reinforcing Auckland’s reputation in the global MMA community.

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