When the nominees for the 2010 World MMA Awards were announced, the category of Best MMA Lifestyle Brand included familiar names Tapout, Affliction, Silver Star and RVCA. The final nominee for the award was a stunner.
The “other guy” up for the honor is not a guy at all. It’s FightChix, a small but growing brand targeting the women of the sport.
FightChix founder Elisabeth Nuesser recently joined hosts Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton for Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network and recounted the amazing story of how a company founded on a lark has gone international.
The FightChix brand is nowhere near the largest or most distributed clothing line in MMA. But it has been slowly and steadily building its reputation for the last five years. After Elisabeth’s husband, Jacob Nuesser, shared with her his love of the sport, the pair formed the brand in their Chicagoland home.
“Seven years ago, my husband was bouncing at a bar in Chicago. He was always wearing Tapout stuff,” explained Elisabeth Nuesser. “He started educating me on the sport. At first I was turned off by it because I didn’t understand, but I kept watching and it grew on me. I became really involved during the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. I realized that these are true athletes who eat, train and sleep (MMA).”
The turning point for Elisabeth came when she started to notice all of the male-driven sponsors. Realizing there are a lot of women attached to the sport, including fighters, wives, sisters and children, Nuesser asked, “Why don’t we have something of our own?”
Elisabeth and Jacob came up with FightChix as way of empowering the women of the sport. Jacob used his skills as a designer to create a logo and the pair began to build the company with a simple grassroots marketing strategy.
FightChix recently expanded, as Elisabeth announced on the show they have formed a European branch and secured a significant distribution deal within the United States. Coupled with the award nomination grouping them with market’s heaviest hitters, the success has been overwhelming.
“Within the last week, all our hard work for the last five years, everything came to a head like a pimple … for lack of a better example,” joked Nuesser. “It’s a huge honor and I’m truly humbled by it. I don’t even care if I win, I’m just so excited to be nominated.
“We’re an underdog story. We’re trying to be the face of women’s MMA. I was in tears when I found out. I felt accomplished.”
FightChix is the only nominee that isn’t represented in the UFC, speaking volumes about the brand’s respect. By supporting the females of the sport, they have established themselves beyond a niche or trend.
Keep your eye on the “other guy.”
(For more information or to purchase FightChix clothing, check out http://www.fightchix.com)