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Tough Talk Q&A: FORM Athletics

Initially arriving on the scene in early 2010, around the same time when “The California Kid” Urijah Faber triumphantly returned to action at WEC 46, FORM Athletics is the new breed of Mixed Martial Arts lifestyle apparel and fight gear. A unique partnership between Faber and Action Sports industry veteran Mark Miller, FORM Athletics is the perfect merger between performance and lifestyle, incorporating a solid assortment of premium lifestyle tees, hoodies and fight shorts. The designs are clean and crisp, with a a look and feel that’s reflective of Faber’s own personal style.

As “The California Kid” prepares to reclaim his WEC Featherweight title on April 25th, when he faces off against Jose Aldo at WEC 48 in his hometown of Sacramento, we catch up with Urijah Faber and Mark Miller for their thoughts on the MMA industry, as well as the inside scoop on FORM Athletics.

Mark, tell us a bit about your career thus far in the action sports industry.

Mark Miller: I have worked in Action Sports for 27 years; I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with some of the best and most iconic brands and athletes in the business, including Oakley, K2, Instinct Surfwear, Body Glove, M3 snowboards, and finally DC shoes.  I have worked with Olympians Phil and Steve Mahre, World Champion Surfers Shaun Tomson and Barton Lynch, Robby Naish (best windsurfer ever), Tony Hawk, Bam Margera, Rob Dyrdek, Travis Pastrana, and a host of other elite athletes.  I started my career as a sales rep and ended up most recently as the Senior Vice President & General Manager of DC shoes.

What made you decide to pursue FORM Athletics with Urijah?

  1. A personal interest in martial arts: Judo from 5-6, Karate from 9-11, Boxing at 14, and a short stint in wrestling at 16, got me interested. Now I’m a huge MMA fan.
  2. I love sports, not just watching on game day or fight night, but I’m inspired by the athletes.  Their passion, training, dedication and drive make it a great place to work around the type of people that I respect.
  3. When I met Urijah, it all came together.  We had similar ideas, same philosophy, and most important, we both love to win!

Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind FORM Athletics.

MM: The inspiration for me is that you have these amazing elite athletes, who train 6 hours a day, they diet, live clean, work hard which is truly inspirational not only to me, but to a lot of fans that love to see the results when they get into the ring.

How do you foresee MMA crossing over further into the action sports industry?

MM: I don’t.  I think MMA attracts a grown up (former) action sports type consumer, The Action Sports consumer demographic is a 10-19 year old male where MMA viewer is more like 19-34.  It’s a different industry much more similar to traditional sports like football, basketball, wrestling, etc. and for the most part a totally different customer than Action Sports.  I don’t really ever see MMA being part of the Action Sports industry even though there may be some cross over consumers.

What are your thoughts on the MMA fashion industry right now? Where do you see it headed?

MM: Today, it’s in an evolutionary state.  Fans of the sport have to decide that they want to represent the sport by wearing clothing that represents a lifestyle everyday.  Only then does it become a true lifestyle business like surfing, basketball, etc. There are really only a couple of brands doing a decent business today and they are both very different from each other and very different from FORM Athletics. I see lot’s of opportunity for a new brand like FORM Athletics.

Where do you see the sport of MMA 5 years from now?

MM: I’d like to think the sport will continue to evolve and become more mainstream, more free TV events, more iconic athletes, more global expansion of the sport.  I believe that we will definitely see larger companies participating in the business of MMA due to the ever expanding fan base and the global desire to watch the best athletes in the world participate in their respective sports.

Urijah, give us your take on the inspiration behind FORM athletics.

Urijah Faber: FORM Athletics is a reflection of the style of clothes I’ve always liked to wear.  When I got into the fight game, I was pretty dissapointed in the overall feel of the MMA style.  None of the pure MMA brands really fit my style.

How did the collaboration between FORM Athletics and AMP Energy come about?

UF: I’ve got a great partnership with AMP Energy and Pepsi Co. They have a great clean image and FORM Athletics is a perfect blend of MMA and how the sport is going mainstream.  I feel AMP is a symbol of how MMA is changing in mainstream culture. They were a great fit.

Outside of MMA, what else drives Urijah Faber?

UF: I just like to have a good time. I like to be successful and I surround myself with good people. Other than that, I like the beach and I like fighting.

How do you envision your title shot at WEC 48 going down?

UF: I imagine the fight is going to be explosive and very entertaining. I am going to win.

Describe the feeling you get fighting in front of your hometown crowd.

UF: It’s a rare feeling. I’ve only felt it a couple of times in my life.  I feel like a rockstar.

What can fans expect next from FORM Athletics?

UF: FORM Athletics is going to keep bringing cool designs and quality materials. We are just starting to sponsor some great fighters, so it’s about to blow up.

To check out some of the latest styles from the FORM Athletics collection click here.

Interview by: Mike Pokutylowicz (Join on Facebook / Follow on Twitter)

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