From music to sponsorships, Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta is all about MMA.
Mixed martial arts has been a longtime passion for Hatebreed lead vocalist Jamey Jasta, but now the sport is intertwining with his business in more ways than one. In addition to sponsoring bands and fighters through his rock-themed clothing line Hatewear, the 35-year-old hardcore metal vocalist recently recorded Hatebreed’s sixth studio album Divinity of Purpose—with MMA in mind. The album’s current single “Honor Never Dies” captures the big fight atmosphere and lyrically embodies the warrior’s spirit, making it more than suitable as an entrance theme.
“That is something I thought about when I wrote the music for ‘Honor Never Dies,’” Jasta says, “When it gets heavy in the intro, you can see a guy walking out to it, and when it gets real heavy in the middle, you can see him getting in and circling the ring…it would be a good song to get the crowd going.”
Jasta isn’t a stranger to writing and performing records for the MMA world. The Connecticut-based front man, who watched the sport in the early ‘90s and re-connected with it slightly before the TUF-era began in 2005, placed two tracks—“Live For This” by Hatebreed and “Born To Crush You” by his hardcore punk side-project Icepick—on the UFC’s 2004 compilation Ultimate Beatdowns: Volume 1.
An MMA and Jasta collaboration happened again in 2005 when he, along with Icepick, created a custom theme (upon request) for then-UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski entitled “Onward to Victory,” which featured barks from pit bulls to play off of the Belarusian’s infamous moniker.
That same year in October, Jasta drove to the nearby Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, to attend his first Zuffa event—UFC 55—where he got to watch Arlovski walk out to “Onward to Victory” at full blast and then knockout heavyweight title challenger Paul Buentello in 15 seconds.
Jasta got into the habit of attending MMA events, and he noticed crossover potential between the sport and heavy music. “Any time I went to a fight, I would see a lot of metal and hardcore fans at the fights” Jasta says. Upon recognizing the synergy between MMA and his brand of music, he decided to give out some free shirts and other apparel from his rock-themed fashion line Hatewear. The apparel company expanded to sponsoring fighters on both the amateur and professional levels.
Currently, the company’s stable of fighters include UFC veterans Shane Carwin, Shane Nelson, and Chris Camozzi; Bellator prospects Emanuel Newton and Matt Uhde; MFC Middleweight Champ Elvis Mutapcic; the World Series of Fighting’s Brian Cobb; and reality star Matt “Danger” Schnell of MTV’s Caged.
For Jasta, this is an opportunity to bridge two demographics. “There are so many eyes on MMA, and MMA fans are some of the most diehard fans out there,” he says. “I just figured if we could convert some MMA fans into metal and hardcore fans, that’d be great. And it worked.”
Jasta’s sponsorship endeavors and deep love of the sport have led him to more and more MMA events—a highlight being the heavyweight championship showdown between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez at UFC 155, which he calls “the closest our generation will get to witnessing real gladiator-type shit.” But for the time being, Jasta has to take a short hiatus from the sport, as he has a “divine” album to promote.
Born and Bred
Formed in 1994, Hatebreed branded their hardcore metal music in the Northeast and dropped a couple of EPs before releasing their debut studio album Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire three years later through indie juggernaut Victory Records.
The Connecticut troupe strengthened their iron grip among the masses with 2002’s Perseverance and 2003’s The Rise Of Brutality, a pair of albums released through Universal that featured forward-thinking and empowering breakthrough anthems, including the title track “Perseverance,” “This Is Now,” and “I Will Be Heard.” Also in 2003, Jasta raised the band’s profile as he hosted the revival of MTV’s Headbangers Ball.
Although Hatebreed has flip-flopped between labels and experimented with their sound over the years, their sixth studio LP The Divinity Of Purpose sees the Connecticut group return to their roots. The 12-track collection is a fierce display of hardcore music with heart-pounding melodicism, self-empowering messages, and scream-a-long hooks, which are marvelously displayed on “Nothing Scars Me,” “Own Your World,” and “The Language.”
“We honed the Hatebreed recipe back to two-minute, fast, and heavy-type songs, but there is still growth there and it’s still a very different record for us,” Jasta says. “The whole ‘All Pit, No Shit’ thing really resonated with people and I think it really sums up the whole album. It’s really just hard, heavy, and to the point.”
There is no doubt the music packs a punch, but don’t expect Jasta to strut to the Octagon and throw fists. He’s already attempted some training, and although he knows a few moves, it’s not for him.
One specific memory reminds him of that. “This guy, Cesar Cabrera, came out with us on tour, and I would roll with him. He is big into BJJ, and there is nothing worse than getting choked out by a five-foot dude who weighs 110 pounds and having my neck cranked,” the singer says with a chuckle. “Being sore on the road and getting beaten up by guys who are half the size of me is never fun, so luckily, I get paid to scream and jump around on stage, and I want to keep it that way.”
1. Emanuel Newton (20-7-1): A former MFC Light Heavyweight Champion, “The Hardcore Kid” reached the Bellator Season 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament Final by knocking out King Mo with a spinning back fist.
2. Matt “Danger” Schnell (2-0): The most well-rounded fighter to come out of MTV’s Caged, the undefeated Louisiana flyweight goes for his third victory as he battles Elias Garcia at Legacy Fights 20 on May 31.
3. Chris Camozzi (18-5): A TUF alum, the middleweight is riding a four-fight win streak after defeating Nick Ring at UFC 158.