After $2.6 million dollar loss, new CEO taking RYU out of the MMA business

by Jason Genet |

Respect Your Universe (“RYU”) is no longer a Mixed Martial Arts (“MMA”) brand, what they are is still yet to be defined.  Lets take a look at the rise and fall of RYU in MMA.

The new CEO of RYU said “That direct association with the sport and the UFC has ended. Endorsement deals with individual fighters and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) expired in December and will not be renewed.”  He continued  “The MMA community is a small market, even when I ran Sports Authority I didn't want anything to do with MMA brands.  There's not enough opportunity."

RYU started off as a concept with an amazing management team.  In April of 2010 RYU became a publicly traded company under the stock symbol “RYUN”.  RYU was listed on the Pinksheets, which means they were still a development stage company and did not meet the assets or market cap to be on the OTCBB or an even more prominent stock exchanges like AMEX, NASDAQ or the NYSE.

The company began to form around executives with solid backgrounds.  We are talking about former Nike, Armani and Lululemon executives.  The team looked poised to take over the MMA apparel market.

I never had the chance to work with RYU but what I saw on their mission statement made a lot of sense.  They were not just another MMA Lifestyle brand, they were planning on launching functional, organic and sustainable clothing.  There is no question that MMA is a great proving ground for this type of concept.  Countless numbers of top name professional Martial Artist have suffered from viruses that live in most MMA gyms.  For some these are life threatening or career ending diseases.

What did not make sense is they seemed to focus on athletes that did not promote this aspect and to my knowledge none of their signed athletes were affected by any health issues.  A perfect candidate for a brand like this would be a guy like Cole Escovedo.  Well known, hard working and his plight with infections from training almost cost him his life and surely altered his career path.  His blessing would carry more weight than a Jon Fitch, who likely is better known than Cole but is not going to move more products.

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tags: Ingrained Media   Jon Fitch (detail)  RYU   

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Recent Comments »

TopGrinder site profile image  

1/3/15 7:24 PM by TopGrinder

It was set up to lose. I know two guys who invested early with them. This was certainly a designed pump and dump. As soon as stock restrictions were lifted they dumped their shares. Right from the get go. It was set up like a pyramid scheme where the first batch of guys cashed out at rich evaluations as soon as it went public. The guys I know have moved on long ago and are into the next scheme. Dirty unethical business.

john joe site profile image  

1/2/15 8:59 PM by john joe

wow these guys lost a fortune. I dont know why this brand suddenly came to mind but i looked them up and they lost well over ten million trying to break RYU as an mma brand. At one point they had 16 full time staff split between Vegas and Portland, retained an expensive PR company, expensive design company... crazy

MMAAdvertising site profile image  

4/2/13 6:48 PM by MMAAdvertising

They must know we are talking about them. No RYU, we still can't afford your $137.99 hoodie.

MMAAdvertising site profile image  

4/2/13 5:35 PM by MMAAdvertising

Says they are no longer targeting the MMA business, yet continue to target MMA websites in their digital advertising. Screenshot from today. Lots of brains behind those bucks.  

DiscipleDojo site profile image  

4/2/13 3:28 PM by DiscipleDojo

^ That's like 12 hoodies and pair of fight shorts.

smoogy site profile image  

4/1/13 6:17 PM by smoogy

Hopefully nobody will misconstrue this as a failing of the MMA apparel business in general. There's plenty of room for people to make money in this space. Just not for the laughably incompetent like the fine folks over at RYU

SidRon site profile image  

3/31/13 1:36 PM by SidRon

This really sucks. There are already so few MMA related clothing lines to begin with. This is going to make it that much harder for me to represent my fighter life to others.

CindyO site profile image  

3/31/13 11:58 AM by CindyO

LMAO!   Cindy

john joe site profile image  

3/31/13 11:52 AM by john joe

the pinnacle of overpriced cheapshit clothes is Great China Wall, which appears to be a Christian Audigier project or ripoff they charge like $1000 for one of those Ed Hardy style hoodies which looks like someone put a bag of diamonds and a dead tiger in a blender then poured it over a shirt made from parrot feathers