Triumph*United: Not Too Ridiculous

Triumph*United: Not Too Ridiculous

('Page and Hans reppin' the brand. Submitted photo.)
('Page and Hans reppin' the brand. Submitted photo.)

Cotton T-shirts splattered with blood, skulls, reapers, and baroque designs have become synonymous with mixed martial arts fashion but Hans Molenkamp isn’t feeling it.

“You can literally pick up a handful of brands that look almost identical to Affliction. These printed shirts have grinded edges and foil,” said Molenkamp. “That’s Affliction’s template. They started it and everyone bit off of it.”

Molenkamp’s company, Triumph*United, appeared to come out of nowhere in September 2007, but in truth he had been involved in the industry for some time. Molenkamp left his position as vice president of marketing at Throwdown Industries in early 2007 and wanted to launch a line rooted in Southern California’s skateboarding culture.

“I don’t wear the super tight, foiled out, ring buds looks with skulls on my shirt,” Molenkamp said. “T*U is 100 percent skateboard influenced: doesn’t have too many things going on; not too ridiculous.” In another nod to skate culture, T*U shirts retail for approximately $24, a lower price point than some brands in the market.

(Kimbo does a chin check on Hans. Submitted photo.)
(Kimbo does a chin check on Hans. Submitted photo.)

Having worked at Throwdown and trained and competed in muay Thai and Brazilian jiu jitsu, Molenkamp was able to establish a team of MMA influencers including veteran fighters Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Tiki Ghosn, and hype man/FIGHT! Magazine contributor Ryan Loco. “I have pretty good relationships with many MMA stars, so it allows me access that maybe most can’t get,” said Loco, who is no longer with the company.

While T*U sponsors fighters ranging from Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson to Kendall Grove to Jason “Mayhem” Miller and even signed Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White as a spokesman, Molenkamp wanted to promote the company differently than the standard industry model. “Yeah, [MMA apparel companies] put shirts on fighters and trick the end user in buying their shirts. I don’t know if that’s the best thing to do because I don’t know the longevity of that,” he said.

T*U decided to focus more on the personality of the brand instead of trying to get products seen at retail expos or at fights. Loco said, “We wanted to have people check out our ads, videos and pictures and just blow their mind with how much fun we were having and how we were a family.”

Interviews and videos on feature the lighter side of the company’s select group of sponsored fighters. “It’s not often where you will see fighters goofing off at Best Buy, having fun,” Molenkamp said, referring to an unscripted video of Ghosn and “Rampage” at the store.

That family atmosphere includes athlete involvement in just about every aspect of the business from marketing campaign and design ideas to recommendations for new fighter sponsorships and it has earned the new company loyalty from the fighters it works with.

“I’m down with Hans because he’ll tell you like it is. He doesn’t care how famous you think you are,” Jackson said. “That’s the type of guy I like to do business with.”

(Molenkamp hangin' with Dean Lister. Submitted photo.)
(Molenkamp hangin' with Dean Lister. Submitted photo.)


  1. Why I don’t own any TU stuff I don’t know. However, of the popular MMA brands out there right now I like these guys. There’s stuff’s not obnoxious. That’s it, I’m going down to OTM with $100 in hand today! The brand that I miss is Stagr. They had some very cool shit. I have some of there shirts and the artwork was awesome. Not to busy, cool, and made a point. Stagr relaunched as Dethrone, which has got to be battling with Affliction for 1st in the D-Bag department.

  2. These guys aren’t the only ones looking to “change the game” I have some friends at that are working on some really cool designs. Not so much skater influenced but just moving away from the “same ole” shit that everyone else is doing. I dig TU’s stuff though. I like that they hate all that overly done shit like affliction and dethrone.

  3. is trying to keeping it simple too… it’s a brand new company…only a few products right now… but seem to have more coming out soon.

  4. We run the #1 MMA Gear related blog on the web and we see a lot of Affliction wannabees come through. We have been supporting T*U since the beginning of our website and recently co-sponsored a Dana White X Mayhem Miller T*U t-shirt giveaway courtesy of Ryan Loco (good guy). Triumph U does a “Death Dealer” tee and the Chris Yvon tee that has skeleton prints, but it doesn’t even come close to douche bag. I wear them both in honor of my bones brigade skater days. Glad to see Fight Mag is giving credit where credit is overdue. Congrats T*U. Keep cranking out the awesome shit.

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