I thought it was only appropriate to write an article about something that I have inadvertently been fielding questions about since I mentioned it late last week. For those who remember, (and for those who are joining late) back when my company Derailed Industries was in its infancy I had a small company with a great story called FORM Athletics. A story about one of the most recognizable MMA fighters in history and one of the most influential Action Sports Executives in existence getting together and attempting to change the idea of MMA Apparel.
The story, support and idea were great. Looking back, maybe it was too good. The struggles with the brand from all of us who were there in the beginning were almost worth it, knowing the potential of the brand and the way the industry was following along with a change to clean, simple designs. Skulls and dragons were on their way out and mainstream brands were leaking into the sport so all signs were pointed in the right direction…
July 2010 – In steps a major company with their own views on the apparel industry from their own successful markets and what they have seen from other such brands who have had made an impact in the MMA industry. These ideas did not always hold true to what the Fight Fashion industry expect from an “MMA Brand” regardless of the background. With this new concept came major changes in structure, changes in the brand, product and the story that made it great. Money was spent, but return wasn’t what it should be.
This is where the brand stands now. I am the first person to advocate “DON’T BURN ANY BRIDGES!” as when my contract ended with FORM (amicably I might add) I continued talks with the Executives and often called upon one of the Founders as a Mentor of mine since he has done everything that I plan on doing with my career and has done it extremely well. He has always been the first person I ask for advice, and in turn I was the first person he told about some major changes in the brand that got me started in this business (at least to any success – I had been doing it for years before that).
So here is what I can say about FORM Athletics and it’s future as it stands:
For months, the original ownership group has been in talks to buy the company back and continue the great story that it started with. As it stands, there is no news to report about the progress other than there are negotiations in place. The group interested in buying the company back is prepared to take over operations should a deal be reached, but while discussions are being done the brand itself is at a standstill. This is the reason why you saw some of the most well recognized FORM fighters in other brands for their fights while the negotiations are going on. As for its biggest name not wearing the brand this past weekend to watch Chad Mendes fight Jose Aldo? Don’t over-think things… Regardless of sponsorship anyone in the corners wears the brand that the fighter is wearing. Don’t get your compression shorts in a knot.
The brand will continue on – Either as it stands, or will start off from the point that it was abruptly changed in 2010 with as many of the original group as contracts will allow. That will mean that a grass-roots development, focus on fighters and fight gear will be at the forefront and those who support the MMA industry will not be left out of the picture. A renewed focus on brand development from all levels will take precedence over dollars spent on “walkout” fighters. Fighters who support the brand, company and concept will be rewarded and they will see that they “build” a brand instead of “buying” a market.
As for the main question I get asked, I do not know if I will be working with the brand if this change over is to go through. I do these things to support my colleagues and the companies that I respect and support, regardless of whether or not I get paid or not. At this point it is unclear of involvement from anyone outside of the talks, so it would all be speculation anyways. I respect everyone at FORM Athletics and I support those who support me and my company in return. In a small industry, you are only benefiting yourself by supporting your friends and colleagues regardless of contracts and dollars. I will continue to support the brand and anyone who does the same for us. It is too early to know exactly what will be done in any area as a deal hasn’t even been done, as more comes I will make sure to let everyone know.
My sole job at this point is to make sure that everyone knows that FORM Athletics is still very much alive and isn’t going anywhere. I am sure we would all love to see a brand built like it was meant to be, so keep talking about it, keep asking more questions, keep researching the news, keep posting, and make sure everyone who asks is aware that if a deal is reached FORM Athletics will be as it was always meant to be…
Plus it helps that they had some of the best fighters and fights in 2011. #BOOM!