Saturday, August 4

Main Event Fitness' Proud History & Bright Future

Since its inception in 1989 Main Event Fitness has acquired an almost mythic reputation as a gathering place of celebrities and bodybuilding freaks working out side-by-side with students and "regular" folks. When Lex Luger and Sting opened the first MEF on Buford Highway in November 1989, the buzz was unbelievable. Wrestling was climbing the charts as an entertainment outlet and many of the top talents were living right here in Atlanta.

All of the top wrestlers were regulars at MEF: Hulk Hogan, Randy Macho Man Savage, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Marcus Bagwell, Diamond Dallas Page...a who's who of talent were there all the time. And the neat thing about these guys was that they were on TV every week and yet they were approachable, nice guys with good attitudes toward the staff and members.

There was also the bodybuilding culture, which was huge with regular coverage on ESPN and with Atlanta as one of the country's epicenters for the sport. The Buford Highway gym was the place to be for bodybuilding, celebrity-watching, and powerlifting. The change in the area over on Buford Highway during the mid-90's caused businesses like Target and Publix to rethink their strategies and this meant MEF had to do the same thing.

The Marietta MEF opened in April 1992 as the previous occupant of the space, Skyline Athletic Club, decided to sell. The Marietta location was always considered the "bigger" and "nicer" sister to the Buford Highway gym but they both enjoyed considerable success. The focus of the business became the Marietta unit with its terrific location and huge growth potential. When Sting decided he wanted to move his family back home to California, I got a wonderful opportunity to step into his shoes as co-owner with Lex.

I credit both Lex and Sting for giving me the chance to pursue my dream. Sting could have sold his interest to any number of people and Lex could have chosen to go into business with someone else - so I'm very thankful that they allowed me to climb the ladder. I always loved the business model: a real gym, not a health club. The definition of "real gym" has changed somewhat over the years but all in all, it is still pretty easy to distinguish between a real gym and a health club.

Let me tell you, there are not many real gyms left so I feel lucky. When the Buford Highway gym was sold in 1998 it afforded us the opportunity to focus on our flagship facility and the changes that occurred at MEF Marietta over those years are immense. Wrestling and bodybuilding are no longer the attractions that they once were, the facility has been renovated several times, and Lex has moved on to pursue other interests. The celebrity faces have changed - we enjoy plenty of notable NFL players as customers now (Hines Ward, Jamal Lewis, Jason Allen, and Wayne Gandy to name a few) as the sports performance division of XPE Sports grows its business within MEF.

Our customer base, which back in the 90's was younger, is now a bit older and more affluent. Our gym is a source of great pride for me as most gyms do not last beyond three years let alone 18 years! But we are still a real gym - that is what I wanted in 1993 and that is what I want in 2013. I am also very fortunate that Bob Scully is right there with me in my quest to have the best gym anywhere! I couldn't do it without his help.

Chris Scully


RockMan said...

I was a member there Before it was Main Event...It was called Skyline and then the next thing I know its Packed with Giant Wrestling Stars Before they were stars! I met Everyone there. Everyone was So nice! Wish I took Pictures....So many cool people were there@!

Unknown said...

Member 1989..remember it well. Lots of celebrities

Unknown said...

I was a member way back then. Lex, Sting and plenty of the stars of wrestling. Bill Goldberg was training there and deciding to end his football days to go into wrestling. Ropeman (body builder and trainer) was training all kinds of folks. Plenty of NFL players came through the Buford Highway location. I was the Undertaker before anyone else Lol.

Vincent Brown
New England Patriots 1988-1995

Unknown said...

Can someone verify if this gym is still open or did it close down permanently?