On HOTSEAT is Ron Wilson, president of JACO Clothing. Quite possibly our biggest interview yet.
Jaco Clothing is one of the biggest brands in the MMA clothing, gear and equipment industry sponsoring fighters such as Anderson “The Spider” Silva, Antonio Minotauro Noguiera, Brandon “The Truth” Vera and many more.
They are known for their famous JACO Resurgence Fight Shorts, the Coat of Arms Collection and the Jaco Guardian, just to name a few.
We were fortunate enough to get to do an interview with Jaco Clothing president himself, Ron Wilson.
A: Jaco Clothing is relatively new to the MMA scene as we only started this company about a year and a half ago. We had been following MMA for some time and because of its world-class athletes and the sport’s explosive growth, we really wanted to be part of it. As product guys with a long history in sporting goods and apparel, we looked at all of the apparel and gear that existed in MMA and decided that the fight short itself was great place to enter the market.
When looking at most of the existing fight shorts that were being worn in the cage, they were either boardshorts from many years ago or they utilized fabric that did not stretch or breathe. Leveraging experience from our apparel and sports backgrounds which happens to include technical boardshort development experience; we worked with dozens of professional MMA fighters to find what problems they had with existing shorts. With a lot of intensive focus, we were able to combine the needs of the fighter with the best fabrics and technology to create our first fight short, the Resurgence.
We aggressively tested our fight short with nearly one hundred fighters wearing them for a period of about 6 months; prior to shipping our first pair to a retailer. Within a few months, our fight shorts had ended up in training camps around the world; and ultimately, this led to fighters, via their managers, contacting us for sponsorship. They had been training in the shorts and now wanted to be able to compete wearing them.
Approximately eight months from our prototype run of shorts arriving, we made our UFC debut (UFC 102) with both Antonio “Minotauro” Noguiera and Brandon Vera wearing versions of our fight shorts in their fights. Since that time, the business has been sky rocketing with now dozens of UFC fighters joining the Jaco Clothing team and our product line expanding across shirts, headwear, protective cup systems, rashguards, mouthguards, etc.
Jaco Clothing is an action sports lifestyle brand that creates innovative, authentic apparel and accessories that deliver the same founding elements as the athletes who wear them: respect, strength, courage, and tenacity.
Jaco is pronounced as it would be in Brazilian Portuguese. The “J” sounds like “si” in the word Persia, the “a” sounds like the “a” in automobile, the “c” is pronounced like “k”, and “o” is pronounced as the “o” in the word go.
Each character represents a separate brand element:
J = Respect
A = Strength
C = Courage
O = Tenacity
A: Interesting question, I guess it would be some other made up word that does not have any other meaning. What I do know is that we would have NOT called it by anything that had a potential “thug” connotation. So no Evil Clutch, Skull Breaker, Blood Fist.. I think you get the point.
A: The goal of Jaco Clothing is continue to support the worldwide growth of MMA through the design, marketing, and selling of exceptional clothing and gear that is worthy of the world class athletes who compete in MMA. This means that we are bringing new technologies, fabrics, and ideas to the table every time we think about any new product to add to the line.
A: The driving force is the MMA athlete. We admire how hard these guys train and the incredibly vast array of fighting genres in which they develop expertise to be successful. We only try to bring this same veracity to our clothing and gear design, product marketing and production.
A: While designing the Jaco Fight Shorts, I also began working on a new Compression/Athletic Cup protective system because I saw guys wearing protective cups designed for other sports or thousand-year-old Thai Cup “technology”. As a result, I designed our new Guardian Compression Protective System.
Junior Dos Santos (UFC 103) decided to wear our new Guardian system after trying them out a couple of weeks prior. Lucky he did, as Mirko Cro Cop inadvertently landed an absolutely devastating direct kick to Junior’s groin during that fight. With any other cup Junior would have sustained a potentially serious groin injury and the fight would likely have ended right there. Fortunately, the Guardian did its job and Junior went on to win the fight via Submission in the third round.
A: Bamboo fabric has an extremely soft feel – an almost cashmere-like touch – that is 100% hypoallergenic and keeps the body 2- to 3-degrees cooler than a traditional cotton garment during hot weather. Bamboo has tremendous moisture-wicking properties, as well as having a natural stretch that provides an athletic-performance fit. Bamboo naturally inhibits the growth of bacteria making it antimicrobial without the need for sprays or treatments. Bamboo fabric is also naturally anti-static and UV protective.
Our line of bamboo t-shirts is a first step in creating awareness of the numerous benefits of bamboo fabrics.
Bamboo is not only a compelling alternative to other natural and man-made fibers, but also symbolizes the respect, strength, and tenacity that are core to Jaco Clothing.
Bamboo plants grow quickly, do not require fertilizers or pesticides, and are self replenishing, making them 100% sustainable and earth friendly. They can survive drought conditions, as well as flooding, and are constantly releasing a significant amount of oxygen into the atmosphere, more so than even trees. Planting bamboo reduces soil erosion and will even regenerate areas that have suffered significant soil degradation and deforestation.
A: When we first started Jaco Clothing, we truly wanted to become a brand that MMA fighters and fans throughout the world could get behind. Many of the fighters that we began working with had a lot of personal pride in their heritages. The first Coat of Arms collection that we did was for Brandon Vera’s Filipino heritage which really ignited a tremendous amount of positive support for our brand. We quickly began trying to support other countries that have really gotten behind MMA. At this point, the only issue we have is that we can’t make these collections for every country that we get requests for on a daily basis.
A: Great question and exactly the question that I asked when we first began to explore MMA. The fight short was the natural place to start, because we wanted to make an authentic product that would be worn during competition. Also, we had a lot of in-house experience in designing highly technical boardshorts.
Our aspiration was to be the “Billabong” of MMA buy making the most technical board short (a la a technical wetsuit) that the top athletes in the world would wear and, at the same time, have a lifestyle brand that fans around the world could get behind and want to wear every day in the form of t-shirts, hoodies, hats, etc.
A: For the core customer who competes or trains in MMA; the Resurgence fight short is our best-selling product. Overall, our t-shirts sell the most, as they not only appeal to fighters, but also fans.
A: Yes, we are planning on selling in the Philippines beginning later this year. As for other parts of Asia, we do currently sell to a handful of retailers in Japan.
A: We have a lot of exciting things happening in the upcoming months. We will be at the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend where many of our new products will be unveiled; including our new Bamboo Rashguards, Guardian Dual Tray Mouthguards, the latest Guardian Protective Cup System, and a couple of surprise t-shirt designs.
A: We have been chasing our production for our fight shorts since their debut at UFC 102. As a result, the Vale Tudos kept getting delayed (same fabric and production lines); however, they are currently in production and will be available beginning July 1st, 2010. Sorry for the delay guys.
A: Yes, everyone at Jaco Clothing would sincerely like to thank the fighters and fans who have supported us by believing in what we are trying to do in the world of MMA. The fighters who had helped us test and evaluate our new products are, and will continue to be, instrumental in our success. Along with these fighters, the fans who provide us feedback, participate in our community, and continue to buy our tees give us an incredible sense of purpose. So to all of them, I would simply say “thank you!”
MMAGearGuide.net would like to thank Jaco Clothing president, Mr. Ron Wilson for doing this interview and everyone involved with making this interview possible. You can find out further information about Jaco Clothing and their products at www.jacoclothing.com
PURCHASE: JACO Clothing Products