Jaco president Ron Wilson chuckles at the idea that his shorts are responsible for fighters’ victories. After the brief moment of hilarity dies down, he says, “I’d like to think that what we do is make sure their potential comes through.”
This past August, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based action sports fashion line sponsored light heavyweight contender Brandon Vera and former heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogeuira for their bouts at UFC 102. Both won their respective fights and both were sporting Jaco’s patented Resurgence Fighter Short, a stylish board short that allows combatants to move around freely without fear of it tearing, falling off or restricting movement.
Wilson originally launched Jaco in 2004 with primary emphasis on the surf industry. But for “a lot of different reasons,” as he puts it, the company laid dormant and his design went on the shelf.
But in 2008, parent company Gathering Storm LLC helped Jaco rise from the ashes. “Late last year, we were part of a bigger company that does a lot of different sports, but we’re fascinated by MMA,” Wilson says. We started looking at how we can get involved because we view MMA as going to be the next polar sport, so we wanted to be apart of it, frankly.”
Then Wilson did his research. He started talking to various managers, trainers and fighters to see what was lacking in the fight industry, and realized there wasn’t a multi-purpose short on the market. “I love the idea that the fighter wears the fight short the entire time and it’s the one thing that is visible that they’re wearing,” he explains. “So I got together every possible competitor product and when I got it, it reminded me of board shorts from the 1990’s. I saw an opportunity dust off my old technical board short knowledge and put it to use to try to create a better fight short.”
That would become the Resurgence Fighter Short. It’s made from an ultra durable STR-X fabric Wilson developed that wicks perspiration and can stretch in all directions, which makes it suitable for training in any discipline of the game. There is also an adjustable waistband that prevents them from being pulled down.
These shorts are so good, they can even hide Roy Nelson’s love handles – not that “Big Country” would wanna hide them. “Obviously a lot of guys are in great shape,” Wilson starts, “but if you’re not, then when you cinch [the waistband] down, you don’t have the love handles coming over the side of the short. It even happens when you’re in great shape in some shorts, so it gives you a nice kind of security.”
The fight wear brand made its illustrious premiere this past April by sponsoring practically half of Bellator Fighting Championships’ roster. Three of their sponsored fighters – Yahir Reyes, Omar De La Cruz and Jared Hess, all underdogs – made it to the tournament finals wearing the Resurgence Fighter Short.
In addition to the success of its shorts, Jaco has built buzz by using bamboo in its fabrics. “The more facts I read about bamboo, the more I recognize it’s a real opportunity to have bamboo superior cotton because it would be cheaper essentially,” Wilson said. “[There are] no pesticides and it grows everywhere – it grows fast. It’s one of those few plants that grows somewhere and improves the environment it’s in, and then across the world.”
Bamboo also releases 35% more oxygen into the air than an equivalent stand of trees, dries twice as fast as cotton does and has the ability to grow as much as one meter a day. And panda bears are addicted to it. Those happy animals can eat up to forty pounds of bamboo a day.
But don’t worry. A wild panda won’t attack any civilians if they’re wearing one of Jaco’s bamboo shirts. Wilson guarantees it, but pick up those fight shorts just in case. You never know.