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FXF Q&A: Paul Reavlin from Revgear

While the sport of Mixed Martial Arts continues to grow and gain acceptance on a global level, the industry in general seems to be expanding at a rapid rate, with new players jumping into the game on a daily basis. With training gear, apparel and equipment popping up all over the place nowadays, a select few companies have been busy creating, testing and perfecting fight gear for the past several years, while keeping fighters properly protected from head-to-toe with innovative combat sport clothing and equipment. Founded over a decade ago by Paul Reavlin, with a mission to create quality fight gear for professional fighters, Revgear has earned a reputation as an elite player in the Mixed Martial Arts industry, backed by sound knowledge of the fight game and a true passion for the sport.

Born and raised in Southern California, Reavlin has been entrenched in both action sports and MMA since the earliest days, resulting in a drive to create innovative fight gear that’s second to none. Holding a first degree black belt in Krav Maga himself, Reavlin has grown Revgear from a small startup equipment company in 1996, to one of the industry’s most innovative MMA fight gear brands, worn in battle by some of today’s top fighters including Fabricio Werdum, Cris Cyborg and Gegard Mousasi.

In an effort to get the lowdown on this leading fight gear company, we caught up with the brains and brawn behind Revgear for the inside scoop on the current state of the MMA scene, as well as hints on what we can expect to see next from Revgear in the near future.

What’s the history behind Revgear and how did it all begin?

In 1995, I was an accountant with a martial arts hobby and I always wanted to have my own company. I was training with my instructors in Krav Maga and we were frustrated that the equipment we were using didn’t work out for our type of training. I set out to design equipment that could withstand a lot of punishment and that could be used for many different drills.  I started to have prototypes made on the side while I worked full time until I was ready to devote 100% to Revgear. At the beginning I often drove door to door at martial arts schools to sell the 5 products I had – many times with heavy bags hanging out of my mustang convertible.

What’s your background in the Mixed Martial Arts industry?

I realized early on the products we designed for Krav Maga worked great for MMA. In fact, the first product I ever had made was a finger free glove. It was designed so someone could punch and then easily grab and deliver knees. In effect it was one of the first mma gloves that was marketed. When I first started the company I sometimes found myself at small local events side by side with Mask from Tapout. He only had a few t-shirt designs at the time and would be selling them at a table right next to me. At that time martial artists weren’t associating themselves with MMA as it was very much an underground activity. I marketed our products heavily to people who were heavy hitters, and that led me to mma practitioners. Dana White owned a boxing gym at that time and he was one of our first customers buying boxing gloves.

What separates Revgear from other brands of MMA gear and training equipment?

From the beginning our mission has always been to design and build high end gear. I design equipment that I would like to use personally.  Over the years, the market has sometime requested products at different price points, and for different types of martial arts that I don’t personally practice. However, no matter what the product is, if it has a Revgear logo on it, I insist that it meet very high quality standards. If customers experience something different, I want to know about it.

How is your training gear tested and perfected?

Over the years I forged relationships with many of the top trainers and fighters around the country. I often have samples made and tested by guys like Erik Paulson, Rafael Cordeiro. If something needs to be tweaked or changed I look to them for feedback on what we should do.

Which fighters are part of the Revgear team?

We have sponsored many fighters over the last ten years. The first fighter we ever sponsored was Marco Ruas. He was the face of the brand when we first got started. At that time he had just moved to the US and was doing seminars with Bas Rutten and Peter Aerts. Currently we sponsor Gerard Mousasi, Babalu, Fabricio Werdum, Cris Cyborg, Nam Phan, LC Davis, Ricardo Lamas, the Ruffo Brothers and others.

How do you decide which fighters are added to the team?

That is a good question. Some fighters have fought for the brand when they fought as amateurs coming up the ranks. In some cases, I have personal relationships with the fighters and/or their managers. In the case of the ruffo brothers, clearly they are talented and I want to support them so they can pursue their passion – they travel constantly to find the best training possible and they log a lot of miles. They are good ambassadors for the future of the sport. We sponsor many local amateur fighters and people can apply at our web site. We definitely receive an extremely large quantity of applications and we simply can’t sponsor everyone, however I personally review every application.

What’s your opinion on the current state of the MMA apparel industry?

It’s exciting. For so long the martial arts industry was such a small niche. As MMA has grown it has created so many opportunities and allowed us to do so much more with our brand.

With the rapid expansion of MMA around the world, where do you see the sport and industry in the next 5 years?

There seems to be a lot of cross over from other actions sports and clearly the support for the sport is enormous around the world. I think there will always be some people who don’t understand it or appreciate it – and there will be many who don’t WANT to understand it or appreciate it. In the long run my opinion is that it will find its place along side surf, skate, motocross but it can and will be much, much bigger then some of the action sports.

What can we expect to see next from Revgear?

Revgear continues to grow each year. Our staff works very hard and we are proud of what we have accomplished. In the future you can expect some innovative equipment and shorts ideas and we are currently working on updating our logo and branding. We are working hard to expand our roster of fighters and coaches who are sold on the quality of our products.

For a closer look at the complete range of Revgear Mixed Martial Arts apparel, fight gear and training equipment check out Revgear.com.

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