Up until this point, boxing equipment company Everlast has been on the fringe of MMA. But now it looks like they’re ramping up for a full scale invasion, starting with a partnership with UFC champion in exile Randy Couture and his XTreme Couture gyms:
This long-term partnership marks the commitment of Everlast to become the premiere brand in the fastest growing sport of Mixed Martial Arts. The partnership with Couture allows him to exclusively wear Everlast fight shorts, fight gloves, training equipment and training apparel. In addition, Everlast will be the exclusive equipment and apparel sponsor of Xtreme Couture Gyms, in all locations.
It’ll be interesting to see if Everlast can make any serious inroads into MMA, where the market is already quite saturated with other brands that have been involved in the sport for a long time. I’d go so far as to say Everlast’s reputation as a BOXING equipment company might actually hinder them for a while. God knows you all rag on me whenever I talk about boxing, I figure if you’ve got the choice between a set of Everlast gloves and some Fairtex or Hayabusa gloves you’d pick one of the latter just out of spite. Or maybe you’d just pick whichever pair cost the least. You cheap bastards, you.
In the end, though, perhaps it’s not the hardcore MMA fans who get to decide the success or failure of this invasion. Everlast already has the connections to flood all the chain athletics stores with their gear. So when mom and dad wanna buy Billy that pair of MMA gloves he’s wanted since he saw Never Back Down, they’ve got a major advantage over the smaller existing companies. I guess I don’t really have an issue with that … okay, maybe I do a little. The idea of a big company like Everlast jumping on the bandwagon now when they probably shared the same disdain as the rest of the boxing community regarding MMA in the early days does kinda bug me.