Convicted Artist Magazine

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Home MMA SERIOUS PIMP GETS SERIOUS with CONVICTED ARTIST MAGAZINE
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SERIOUS PIMP GETS SERIOUS with CONVICTED ARTIST MAGAZINE

serious_pimpSometimes a guy gets tired of getting beaten down. And when that happens, he doesn’t think about talking things over or heading to a civilized boxing ring for a bit of sparring. When that happens, he wants to beat something with his fists – hard.

Mixed Martial Arts is the ultimate man’s sport. Yeah, there are women who fight – women that can do more damage than a lot of guys out there – but at the end of the day, it’s a man’s sport. It’s a sport that has its roots firmly planted in Brazil where real men fight hard using every trick they know … where real men fight to the finish.

In the early part of the 20th century, vale tudo (literally translated as ‘anything goes’) developed in Brazil and other South American countries as an unarmed combat sport with few rules. Rorion Gracie of the world-famous Gracie family brought this style with him when he emigrated to the United States.
“The Gracie family introduced this style of fighting in the United States, and the rest is history,” says Damian Kutzner, MMA sponsor and Serious Pimp CEO. “Kickboxing, MMA and all the variations can all trace their roots to this style of fighting.

Damian has firsthand knowledge of the story behind what we in the States now call MMA. He was there when fighters were forced to fight underground because the sport was illegal here in the States. “I got involved in MMA because of the fighters,” says Damian. “These were guys I knew and hung out with. When they couldn’t pay their rent, or wanted something to eat besides Top Ramen I helped them – because I believed in them.”

Back then, the fighters were fighting two fights: one in the ring and one outside the ring to prove that MMA should be legalized and recognized for the ultimate test that it is. That’s when Damian got the idea for Serious Pimp clothing. Having tasted success as an entrepreneur, he wanted to help the Gracie family and the fighters to bring this sport to the fans. He started the clothing line as a way to do just that.

“When we started, we made clothing for the fighters,” says Damian. “We sponsored them to fight in Japan and in the underground circuit that was growing in popularity State-side. We didn’t even think about putting the clothes into stores for the fans, because it really was all about the fighters.” The underground circuit Damian refers to is the series of venues where fighters would meet for an unofficial fight.
“The sport was illegal here in the States,” says Damian. “But that didn’t stop the fans from wanting to see the fights. Boxing had become too sanitized and rules-driven. People were hungry for a real test of courage. These fights gave them that. In many ways, the MMA symbolizes the fighting spirit of Americans. It was rebels who built this country; rogue individuals who refused to pay taxes to the Queen. Men, and women, with a will to fight for what was right.

“As people got farther away from the day-to-day fight to survive, they wanted something to give them that feeling. Some say that MMA is too brutal. But the truth is life is sometimes brutal. MMA fans understand that sometimes you get bloody when you fight for what you believe in.” So Damian helped where he could. Sponsoring fighters like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Rob McCullough, Tito Ortiz, Ricco Rodriguez, Kimo Leopoldo, Jake Shields and others, Damian was well-respected by fighters and promoters in the community.

“In the late 1990’s there were bans on this type of fighting. In order to get fans to the arenas, we would hire a film crew, pay the fighters as actors, and bring all of the fans in as ‘extras’ in the ‘movie’ we were filming. If anyone asked, it was a movie, not a fight that was being filmed.”

MMA has evolved since then. With the founding of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) in 1993, many states lifted their bans on vale tudo and a virtual explosion of this style of fighting took place around the world. The first official UFC bouts were similar to Toughman tournaments but with liberal rules and padding optional. The winner was considered the baddest man on the planet because he beat Martial Art masters, Kickboxing champions and professional wrestlers.

“The term MMA came later because the fighters had to know multiple fighting disciplines to have a chance,” says Damian. Today, fighters fight for UFC, EliteXC, WEC, StrikeForce and other leagues. It’s been cleaned up a bit since it’s humble beginnings but is still illegal in many states.
Serious Pimp has changed since then, as well. “We made clothes for fighters for over 10 years before we ever thought of making our clothes available to the fans,” says Damian. “In the early days it was all about helping the fighters. Once the sport caught on, we stayed focused on the fighters and didn’t even think about turning Serious Pimp into a serious business.”

Even the name reflects Damian’s pro-fighter mentality. “We called the clothing Serious Pimp because we believed, and still believe, that these guys are serious pimps. They put their bodies on the line. They fight with everything they have. They are why we do what we do.”

The company has taken some flack for its name. When the clothes were introduced to stores in 2008, many distributors wanted them to change their name. “We refused to change because it wasn’t about money, it was about the fighters. Serious Pimp had always been there for fighters and if a store didn’t want to carry our brand because of the name, we were okay with that.”
Kimo Leopoldo has never had an issue with the name. “There are acronyms for everything,” says Kimo. “For me, Serious Pimp reminds me that there is SERIOUS Power In My Prayer.” The name didn’t bother the fans either. “Apparently, fans of the sport had been looking for our clothes for years,” says Damian. “Our first line sold out in record time and demand has been high since.”

Serious Pimp is still focused on the fighters, sponsoring guys like Phil Baroni, Jake Shields, Kimo Leopoldo, Mike Pierce, Rob McCullough and many others. “Phil Baroni and the other fighters we sponsor are a symbol of this country’s fighting spirit,” says Damian. “We stand behind them every step of the way.”
When asked what he thinks of Serious Pimp, Phil Baroni said, “Serious Pimp has been around for a very long time. They were sponsoring fighters back when MMA wasn’t ‘cool.’ They are OG and I always get asked where I get my sunglasses!”

The company expanded its vision adding in a sunglass line that blends the hip-hop style of Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound and Ice-T with the MMA attitude that gave the line its start.

“Just like our clothing, our sunglasses are designed to stand out from the crowd,” says Damian. Serious Pimp recently partnered with several large retail stores across the United States and the UK, including Hot Topic and No Fear. There is a great deal of interest from Japan as well.

What are Damian’s plans for the future of Serious Pimp?
“There’s an obvious synergy between the Hip Hop community and the MMA fighters. They both had to fight to get recognition. They both go against the grain. They are rogue individuals who speak for every one of us.”

“Serious Pimp will continue supporting the fighters, the hip-hop community, and all other extreme sports. We have plans in the works for mega-events that will bring these diverse groups together in a series of explosive concerts that showcase the talents of the fighters, gold medal X Game athletes and hip-hop stars. Be on the lookout for events in your area.”
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