MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma -- Perhaps you've heard the expression "Roll with the punches." An Oklahoma company has become recognized worldwide for doing just that, and dishing out some "kicks" of its own along the way.
Mike Dillard is the founder and CEO of Century Martial Arts, but as a nationally ranked black belt competing in the late 1970s, he was forced to buy his martial arts uniforms overseas.
However, the uniforms that he had shipped in didn't quite fit right. Dillard though, saw the problem as a business opportunity.
Ashley Perkins, Vice-President of Marketing at Century, related what happened next.
"Being the average American man, he was a little bit taller than the uniforms coming from overseas," said Perkins. "He got two sewing machines and began making the traditional white "gi" that we sell by the thousands today."
Over the next 30 or more years, Century added items to its product line and now boasts more than 12,000. They're now the largest supplier of martial arts gear in the entire world.
Century recently became not only an official licensee of UFC products, but of TAPOUT as well.
"TAPOUT has become the lifestyle brand associated with mixed martial arts fans and mixed martial arts participants," said Sarah Fields, Vice-President of Sporting Goods at Century. "We are a natural partner for them, because that is what we do."
In addition to the UFC line, Century is rolling out a new line of TAPOUT fight gear in a matter of weeks. But while interest in mixed martial arts grows, the company also remains committed to its original mission.
"There are students every day that are interested in doing different types of martial arts so that they can become the next UFC star," said Perkins. "That's really where our roots are, we really want to provide products that help people train better."
7401 N. Kelley Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
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