Clothing company Hoelzer Reich got into MMA headlines in late 2009 when they were sponsoring UFC fighters with shirts that contained Nazi imagery. While HR tried to deny any sort of neo-Nazi involvement, they had ties to white power bands and plenty of other details that seemed to suggest otherwise.
Bloody Elbow, along with other sites, dug deep into the story and the UFC put them on the "banned sponsor" list. The company seemed to fade away after saying they were done with MMA, but it looks like that is no longer the case, judging by this video which went up recently on their website touting how fighters "still represent Hoelzer Reich"
The video was removed. It was a video of Markus Grosse talking about training at Finney's HIT Gym while wearing a Hoelzer Reich t-shirt.
That video, plus plenty of photos on their social media sites and personal website would suggest that they are still quite involved with the MMA scene, even if not at the highest level. Even if they're not actively sponsoring fighters, they are still a part of an ugly stain on the sport.
While they have attempted, and still attempt, to distance themselves from any Neo-Nazi ties there are some very hard truths coming to light once again.
In the wake of the tragic shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, it has become public knowledge that the shooter, Wade Michael Page, was a member of the white-power band End Apathy.
The Southern Poverty Law Center discussed an interview with End Apathy done on a "white supremacist website" called Label 56. From the SPLC website:
Page told the website that he had been a part of the white power music scene since 2000, when he left his native Colorado on a motorcycle. He attended white power concerts in Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Colorado. At various times, he said, he also played in the hate rock bands Youngland (2001-2003), Celtic Warrior, Radikahl, Max Resist, Intimidation One, Aggressive Force and Blue Eyed Devils.
When attempting to go read the interview out of a morbid desire to understand such a hateful individual I saw it had been pulled down by Label 56. A look at their Facebook page reveals this:
...We have worked hard over the years to promote a positive image and have posted many articles encouraging people to take a positive path in life, to abstain from drugs, alcohol, and just general behavior that can affect ones life negatively. Likewise we have never sought attention by using "shock value"/ symbols and ideology that are generally labeled as such. With that being said, all images and products related to End Apathy have been removed from our site. We do not wish to profit from this tragedy financially or with publicity.
In closing please do not take what Wade did as honorable or respectable and please do not think we are all like that.
Yes, they're the NICE kinds of white supremacists!
The website also had End Apathy on their "Indie Music Sampler" along with a host of other white power and Neo-Nazi bands. They make no secret of their white supremacy views.
And they are also Hoelzer Reich's east coast distributor:
Hoelzer Reich Clothing Back In Business: Label 56 To Be Official East Coast Distributor :) wp.me/ps0zh-tc— Independent Minded (@Label56) July 21, 2011
This should put to bed any questions about if Bloody Elbow or any other site which extensively covered the situation in 2009 was in the right. HR would not have a white power, Neo-Nazi website serve as their Official East Coast distributor unless they shared the same views.
It's important now for fighters like Markus Grosse (the 1-4 fighter seen in the video from the start of the article) to understand the message and meaning of wearing a shirt in the style that they did. And it also re-enforces the need for bigger name fighters such as Donald Cerrone and Mac Danzig, who are two of the Zuffa fighters HR sponsored in the past, to fully look into the companies that want you to advertise their product. And the need for promotions like the UFC to really look in to who is sponsoring your show and the fighters on your show.
Or else you could end up as a billboard for the next t-shirt company which also happens to be a part of a hate movement. And the tragedy in Wisconsin underscores the true danger in such a movement.
Update by Brent Brookhouse: As pointed out in the comments by BloodyElbow community member "nick_yuji" the video at the top of the page is also in the HIT Squad gym, formerly owned by Matt Hughes. It's extra emphasis on the earlier point. A video is now promoted on a white power t-shirt company website talking about fighters supporting their brand with your gym's name right in the title. That's not exactly the kind of advertising Jesse Finney (the new HIT Squad owner) should want and is even more reason for people to have some common sense about what they put on their body, or even what you let someone walk into your gym wearing.