Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Put your money where your mouth is.

I'm proud to be sponsored by MMAOutlet.com and have been proud to consider the owner, Mike Ripberger, a friend ever since we got to know each other a bit at the Pan in 2010.

So today when I found a promotional email from MMAOutlet in my inbox, advertising a limited edition rashie from Manto, I knew how I wanted to present this to him.  Maybe not the most subtle method of putting my cards on the table, but then again no one has ever accused me of being too subtle.

Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 2:08 PM
Subject: Re: Limited Edition Manto Deadly Tigers - Only at MMA Outlet!

Hey Mike--

I have always appreciated your sponsorship, as it's difficult for women jiu jitsu fighters to get sponsorships at times, and you have always been supportive and wonderful to me and to my gym (Relson Gracie Austin.)

But I just received your promotional email about the Manto product you're selling.  I wanted you to know I am boycotting Manto because of their attitude  in defending their sexualization of women training in the combat arts.  I'm not alone in this boycott, either.

I encourage you to read my blog post on the issue, as well as several articles covering this on the internet, as well as our comments on facebook walls, including Manto's... and you are welcome to respond with your own commentary.  Sorry to put you on the spot like this, but I plan on making this correspondence between you and I public-- because I think it's important for consumers to know how leaders in the community like MMAOutlet.com feel about this issue.

Thanks again for your continued support, and I look forward to hearing your response.

For your information:


Georgette Oden
I encourage you to do the same (or the same sort of thing) if you feel so moved. 


"From: Mike Ripberger
To: Georgette Oden
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:02 PM
Subject: Re: Limited Edition Manto Deadly Tigers - Only at MMA Outlet!

Hi Georgette,
I did not go over all of those threads with a fine tooth comb, but I think I have a fairly good what the controversy is about. I understand why some people are upset. I would encourage everyone to vote with their dollars (pounds, euros, etc.) when it comes to backing the products they believe in.

If we observe Manto or any other brand routinely disrespecting women or perhaps just not representing our sport in a positive way then we will cease to carry them.

That being said, we think Manto is a quality brand that has consistently represented our sport with class and dignity for several years. Their approach to fight wear has really been a breath of fresh air. When everyone else seemed to be promoting sex, violence and skulls with barbed wire, they charted their own course producing fight wear that captured the essence of BJJ and MMA in a truly original and artistic way. We expect more great things from them in the future.

While MMA Outlet is becoming a bigger player in this industry, in the grand scheme of things we are still an *extremely* small business. To date MMA Outlet has only paid cash to one BJJ athlete to compete wearing our logo. That athlete was Penny Thomas at the No Gi Mundials. We take women in the sport seriously and as such we keep our elbows in and our hands up when sparring with them :)

Being a small company, it’s important for us to try and keep everyone happy. That includes our customers, our friends, sponsored athletes and our partners. Our goal is to help spread the growth of our sport and the brands that help connect us with the spirit of martial arts on and off the mat.

We definitely take this feedback into consideration and will continue to align ourselves in the future with companies and athletes that we feel cast our sport in a positive light.


Well said. I appreciate your perspective and your support. If more businesses would be willing to take a stand as you have, it would go a long way towards encouraging more professionalism and respect in the community. Thank you Mike :)

Georgette's Jiu Jitsu World


Marie said...

I responded to the mmaoutlet post on Sherdog in a similar manner -

"This looks like an awesome rashguard, and if it was anyone other than Manto I'd be very interested - their "advertising" (and, honestly their response to concerns about said "advertising") has put me off them for life.

Therefore, more Honey Badger!"

I may get flamed out the wazoo, but that campaign makes me and other female M.A. go bazoo.

Georgette said...

Good for you!! You're not alone. I will go find the post you mentioned and pipe up, too.

A.D. McClish said...

Get it, girl!!

Ashley said...

Good stuff, Georgette. I too will never be a customer of Manto (or I Love BJJ) based on the ad and related comments.

I'm curious though - if any, what reaction/actions are you hoping to get out of your sponsor/friend?

Georgette said...

I suppose I hope to hear other mainstream voices in the combat arts community expressing their agreement. I don't like that Manto and the peanut gallery paint anyone who disagrees with their "Great Architect" philosophy as a panty-twisted closet lesbian who doesn't want guys to have some good clean fun. Manto might ignore me and other individuals but I would hope they wouldn't ignore a major retailer like MMAOutlet.

Tree Frog said...

I'm not a fan of that particular advertisement that caused the uproar, as it didn't do a damn thing to make me want to buy anything and irked women grapplers.

However, I do like several Manto products and have bought two rashguards from them in the past. The designs and the colors of the ones I have really appealed to me and did so in an understated, good design way that many, many other combat sports companies fundamentally do not get.

Furthermore, I consider them better rashguards than the Rupture one I bought in between the others.

With that out and in the open, I think this voting with the wallets tactic is a good idea. However, if I had the spare cash, I'd probably be tempted to pick up that particular rashguard mentioned. It's pretty fly.

Hard to strike the balance in voting with the wallet when you want to buy something truly fly and/or want to not support the angering of the Two X Chromonoid grappling population.

slideyfoot said...

Sherdog thread is here.