Cincinnati Bengal Chad Ochocinco should be somewhat familiar to UFC fans for his history of challenging MMA fighters to bouts, including middleweight champ Anderson Silva. Now he's been signed by the pioneering MMA apparel company Tapout.
...TapouT is a multi-million dollar company, one quickly expanding outside the boundaries of mixed martial arts. Since being acquired by Authentic Brand Groups last year, an already aggressive diversification plan has been ramped up to warp speed. Everyone in the company stresses that MMA will always be the foundation. They see this less as moving on to other sports and more bringing MMA culture to the mainstream. Today you'll see the distinct TapouT aesthetic in Nascar, in the movie theater, and with the recent signing of football star Chad Ochocinco, on the gridiron as well.
"It freaks people out a little because it isn't MMA," TapouT founder Tim "SkySkrape" Katz said. "It goes all the way back to the start with Charles ("Mask" Lewis), Dan ("PunkAss" Caldwell), and myself. We always talked about at one point being big enough to branch out and start sponsoring other sports. Ochocinco, he's a character as well as a great athlete. That's what we're going after. The kind of characters who can grab people's attention. I like it. I always talked about how I wanted to change my name from Tim Katz to SkySkrape. Like Prince. Like Madonna. Like Ochocinco. Dude changed his name to Ochocinco. He's got to be a character. We love that. I'm glad he's part of the team. He's a perfect fit."
It will be very interesting to see how TapouT's efforts to diversify fare.