Muay Thai Addict (MTA) is a U.S apparel company dedicated to the art of 8 limbs. In addition to delivering high quality Muay Thai shorts, T-shirts, and fight gear to the populace, MTA outfits the whole Lion Fight Promotion and Triumphant Combat Sports roster. The apparel company also sponsors the top fighters in the country. Today we talk with the founder of Muay Thai Addict, Shannon Sagan, to find out what the company is up to and the status of Muay Thai in the USA.
How did you get involved in Muay Thai? I was tired of working out at a traditional gym, mostly by myself and was always interested in martial arts, just never had the courage to go until a friend brought me to a class.
How long has MTA has been in business? Officially since 2010 but I really did not get things going until 2011
Why did it take you a year to get things started? I was trying to get my manufacturers in place, quality control and testing of products, learning about the business and the sport in general, and working my full-time job as a lawyer.
Why did you get into the Muay Thai apparel business? I purchased my first 2 pairs of shorts when I started training and they took forever to get to me, did not fit well (I had to cut the waist band rings to make them fit better), no local stores around that had a decent selection. Did some research online and realized that everyone was accepting that they had to order their shorts overseas and I could not believe there were very few options for people to purchase shorts in North America.
How do you manage your training, your day job and running MTA? For a long time it was hectic. In addition to my full-time job I also became a single father. Sometimes I got burned out from doing so much but every now and then a quick vacation to reboot and refocus helped. For years I would work my day job M-Th, and sometimes spend a majority of my Fridays working MTA. At night I would handle all MTA emails that came in. Since then, we have developed a good team to handle many of those tasks and my partner has been focused on the growth of the company. Just in time too because my other business has been taking off and needing my attention lately.
What’s the best part of your job? Best part of my job is meeting people in this industry who have become some of my closest friends. Hearing compliments from friends, fans, customers about our products, whether it is the nice comfortable non restricting waist bands that we are famously known for, to customer service, to creating innovative products that people in Muay Thai have not seen before. I also enjoyed traveling all over the country for events and visiting cities I would probably have not visited had I not been involved in MTA.
Which fighters do you sponsor? A lot to be honest. Our first fighter ever was Pro fighter Asa Ten Pow, who was with me and MTA team since almost the beginning. We constantly work with Donald Cerrone, the Shevchenko sisters just to name a few. We work with a lot of the top gyms in North America providing custom products and sponsorships. We also make sure to help out amateur athletes around North America. We are not interested in their fight record versus their passion for the sport and for our company.
What do you look for in a fighter in order to sponsor them? That is a hard question. There is not one particular thing that we are looking for, in my opinion. Sometimes we have established long time relationships with fighters and it develops into a sponsorship because they truly love our products and company. If it is an MMA fighter, we do like fighters that have Muay Thai backgrounds (like Cerrone and Shevchenko’s) because they understand the sport and culture of Muay Thai. I also like to know what they are doing to try to grow and promote the sport (it is still small in North America). Obviously being a loyal fan of our company and products helps. We are constantly changing our sponsorship packages and criteria though.
What do you think is the state of MT in America? Growing, although at a slow and steady pace. However, as the UFC expands, I believe all martial arts will grow as well, especially Muay Thai. Many Muay Thai fans are not big UFC/MMA fans but right now that is the company that is taking combat sports to the next level and getting it in front of a larger audience. I cannot tell you how many people I have met that have never seen a single MT fight and when they attend one of the live Pro events or a National amateur tournament, are completely amazed.
Who is an upcoming fighter we should keep our eyes on? There are lots of up and coming fighters in my opinion. Summer Bronco of East Coast Muay Thai is barely a teenager and has an amazing record. Coral Carnicella from Florida Kickboxing Academy has really taken it to the next level ever since losing in an IKF tournament a few years ago. She puts in 6 days a week, 2 times a day ever since. Her mental and physical strength is on another level and it is the reason why she is winning all of the major national tournaments like IKF, TBA, WKA.
How and who decides which design to use on the shorts and t-shirts? Haha, we have no real system for that. There are a few of us on the team so most of the time it’s a vote. We also like to ask our customers, fans, and fighters for their opinions. Sometimes we put a vote out on social media to see what fans think.
There you have it. All great companies were established to solve a problem. Muay Thai Addict is no different. They saw the delays and quality issues related to Muay Thai shorts and decided to do something about it. Today, Muay Thai Addict is the premier Muay Thai apparel company in the US. Not only do they manufacture top quality shirts and shorts, they also support our beloved sport by sponsoring your favorite fighters and by pushing the culture forward.
Whether you’re a fighter, a fan, or a gym, go to http://www.muaythaiaddict.com if you’re looking for the best quality fight gear on the market. Muay Thai Addict can also be found on Facebook, twitter, and instagram.