• Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross Laurence

  • ImpactLPA Logo 300x194 Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross LaurenceThe MMA Review recently got a chance to catch up with Impact LPA front man and founder Ross Laurence. “The Face of UKMMA” is quickly becoming one of the most popular and recognizable MMA brands in the country, so we wanted to find out more about the man behind it all.

    We speak to Ross about the origins of the brand, fighter sponsorship, clothing, gear, plans for the future and much more…

    Check out the interview:

    Jay Cee: ”Hi Ross, I am really glad to have you here on the themmareview.co.uk. First I would like to talk about the origins of the Impact LPA brand. When did you first start the company? and how did you first come up with the concept for the brand?”

    Ross: ”Firstly, thanks for asking me to take part in an interview, feels a bit funny being on this side of the questions!!! Impact LPA was an idea that started nearly two years ago now, however we spent 9 months developing the brand internally before coming to the market in December 2011. Which means we are literally 12 months old this month!!”

    photo 11 300x200 Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross Laurence

    Picture taken by Helen Parish

    “The idea originally was a moment of drunkeness as most ideas are.  One of my very good friends and business partners Neil is a dental technician who in his spare time makes Warhammer characters and miniature skulls. I asked him if he could make me an MMA glove, which he did!  I then showed it and a full sized glove trophy he made as well to my other business partner Wad and Impact was basically born!”

    “The face is something we felt made us stand out from the rest and some people have said it is a great representation and potentially based on me….. Not sure what I think about that!!!  So from there we became the Face of UKMMA.”

    Jay Cee: ”I go to a lot of different MMA events here in the UK and I am noticing more and more fighters being sponsored by Impact LPA. Tell me about some of the fighters you work with? and the relationship you have with them?”

    photo 1 2 e1355168118946 225x300 Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross Laurence

    Jack Marshman

    Ross: “We work with a number of fighters throughout the MMA scene, although believe it or not, some athletes are not sponsored by us but actually like our gear enough to buy it……bizarre for a clothing brand huh! Hahaha! We have to like the fighters we work with. There is no point in working with someone you don’t like. They represent our brand and so we need to be sure they have the same ethos as us – respect and honour the sport we love at all times.”

    “We have some UFC fighters like Brad Pickett and Che Mills who we work with but are limited in terms of what we can do as contractually they are signed to other brands and the UFC has very strict rules on what’s allowed inside the Octagon.”

    “Probably some of the closest guys we have on board are Jack Marshman and Dale Hardiman. We have developed a ritual when it comes to BAMMA these days with Jack, we turn up, give him some new products, look after his brother and short stuff (one of his best mates Martin), weigh in, get flapjacks and brownies, hit Nandos then go Cinema! We have recently started to manage Dale, so myself, Dale and his brother Ben are pretty tight to be honest.  We try and give our fighters every bit of support we can in every area we can. It isn’t just pro fighters we work with though, we have semi pro and amateur guys as well. Again because we like them. We will not stop supporting a fighter if they lose, it’s not what we are about.  Do your best, be respectful of your opponent, leave it all in the cage and most of all have fun.”

    photo 3 3 e1355168310698 205x300 Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross LaurenceJay Cee: ”I have seen that you attend a lot of MMA shows and really get behind the sport and the fighters. Have you always been an MMA fan? Is that what led you to get involved with the sport?”

    Ross: ”I love MMA – Simple As!  I remember being 14 years old watching UFC 1 in 1992 round my mates house on a hooky video tape.  At the time I had been studying Kempo and Jui Jitsu for two years so I was amazed at seeing how techniques worked in a real combat situation. I was in the Army for four years where I boxed and taught CQB (Close Quarter Battle – Hand to Hand combat) which probably reinforces my admiration for real life combat techniques. I have seen every UFC event (except Silva vs. Bonnar due to a God damn Sky box failure!!) and whenever possible I get to about 20-30 shows a year in the UK.”

    Jay Cee: ”Do you feel that being more accessible, having a physical presence at events and meeting fans and fighters helps Impact LPA to grow? opposed to some corporate brands who are more hands off and less personal with fighter/fan relations.”

    Ross: ”I think it really helps being at a show and people knowing who you are, however it can also be a curse as well. I managed to see about an hour of BAMMA 11 despite being there for the whole event due to people saying ‘hello’ and running around for the guys. I wouldn’t change it though as everyone I have worked with, and our fans are brilliant!  And I love seeing our gear on people enjoying it.”

    Jay Cee: ”Many people may know you best for your t-shirts and shorts, but you actually produce a range of different gear and products. Tell me about some of the products you make? and are there any other types of gear that you plan to introduce in the future?”

    photo 2 e1355168465990 226x300 Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross LaurenceRoss: ”Most people will have seen a version of the Face T in the last 12 months.  We have managed to keep evolving it and customised it for fighters based upon what they like or are known for. As Neil is a dentist and a designer we produce custom fitted mouth-guards worn by Che Mills, Jack Marshman, Linton Vassell, Dale Hardiman, Denniston Sutherland and Matt Ewin to name a few!”

    “We launched our Tap Here MMA Shorts at BAMMA 10, as worn by Denniston Sutherland another of the ImpactLPA Team (and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet) and we sold out in a night!  We are really fortunate that every review and piece of feedback has been really positive about the feel the fit and the performance of our MMA Shorts.”

    “We then launched the Tap Here Tudos which Dale wore for BAMMA 11, and at the TMT show run by Team Mayhem (who we work with) I think we had five guys that night in them and again great feedback………and a shout out to James Lutman who I think inspired the “Tap Here” on the shorts.”

    “We have launched our Rash Guards which have been a great success, we know they are good but it’s nice to have feedback from people who buy our gear.

    “We make Jewellery including MMA Cufflinks – a great christmas present for anyone into MMA that wears a shirt!!!”

    “We can make custom phone covers – iPhone4/4s/5, Samsung Galaxy S2/S3 and a few more.”

    photo 5 3 e1355168598316 300x187 Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross Laurence“We make banners for fighters and gyms in a variety of sizes.”

    “We make ring girl outfits – check out our FB page for pictures of some of the best ladies in MMA today!”

    “We have also produced several custom pieces and I believe we have something amazing planned with Bret ‘Hollywood’ Freeman in the near future.”

    Jay Cee: ”Something I would really like to know is what existing MMA brand/s on the market are you personally a fan of? and what is it about their brand that you like?”

    Ross: ”I love PunchTown, personally I think their MMA Gloves are amazing!  The designs are so detailed and Darren just blows me away every time with something totally unique with every new release of theirs.  In terms of clothing I do like Ecko, although they are stepping away from MMA these days, it still really appeals to me.”

    photo 5 292x300 Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross LaurenceJay Cee: ”I am aware that Impact LPA doesn’t only work with fighters. you also work alongside various promotions, gyms, clubs and more. Tell me a bit about this? and how the relationships were formed?”

    Ross: ”We do so much more than just own own gear.  When we launched we did what most companies do – Outsource.  However after being let down by six suppliers I decided that we would invest and buy our own print house.  So that’s what we did!  It meant that we could also sell our services to the MMA world and know that we would produce and deliver the quality of product we would want as consumers ourselves.”

    “This year we have designed and produced T’s for BAMMA,UCMMA, Addicted MMA, Love2Fight, TyphoonMMA, Team Mayhem, TMT, Spiked, Fight Scene, Knuckle Up, Battle Arena MMA, Nak Soo, Bret ‘Hollywood’ Freeman, Shock N’ Awe, Eddie Kone, Adidas, CIMAC, MMA Mount, Strike, Team Force….. Wow I never realised how many people we have worked with!!”

    “I think one of the reasons people want to work with us is that we deliver a product that is good, on time and right!  I am a bit of an insomniac so working all hours to deliver is not an issue, unless you ask the Mrs as she threatens to leave me every time Fight week comes around!”

    “We can produce most things MMA on behalf of clients including Rash Guards, Shorts, T’s and soon compression trousers and Gi’s, and can even re-badge them to pass as your own brand.”

    photo 1 3 e1355168895207 166x300 Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross LaurenceJay Cee: ”What are your future goals for the Impact LPA brand? where do you hope the company will be in the next 2-3 years?”

    Ross: ”Goals for us in the next 12 months are to keep developing the brand in a positive manner and try to get a retailer on board as well.  We haven’t really pushed this yet as we have been trying to get product offering right first, but I think we are there now!  So if any retail stores or online retailers want to discuss this, then please get in contact! We want to get more of a presence in the North, and I am hoping that in the not to distant future we will have one of the North’s greatest UKMMA stars on board. More likes on our Facebook page always wanted!!!…and Twitter followers of course. If we don’t get in the UKMMA Awards in 2013 I might be disappointed…… But then I haven’t ever really been out for awards to be honest.”

    Jay Cee: ”It has been great talking with you Ross. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, I appreciate it. I will definitely be talking to you about getting an Impact LPA t-shirt done for themmareview.co.uk! Please feel free to give any shout-outs etc…”

    Ross: ”Thanks very much Jay, hopefully I didn’t bore you!!  Look forward to making an MMA Review T soon!!!”

    photo 31 300x280 Interview: A talk with Impact LPA founder Ross Laurence“Shout outs could be a massive list, so in no particular order – my Mrs Leanne Niles, Wad Alameddine, Jack Marshman, Denniston Sutherland, Dale Hardiman, Ben Hardiman, Linton Vassell, Little Red, Wayne McCullough, Bret ‘Hollywood’ Freeman, Jude Samuel, Dan Richards, Matt Ewin, Sam Mensah, Paul Sutherland, Trojan Freefighters, Mark Jarvis, Charlie Gosden, Matt Flower, James Lutman, Bradley Burnell, Paul Hopkinson, Team Mayhem, Phil Hearn, Ben Farrelly, Steve Wickett, Abbos Azad, Yassin Mediouni, Chris Emmanuel, James Capper, Laura Redhead, Dean Amasinger, Brutal Goldfish, Matt Walton at Spiked, Robbie ‘ADHD’ Lewis, Maria Countessa, Shakey, Sonny Dholakia, Helen Parish, Ste Passey, Colin Nwadike, Alex Montagnani, Eddie Kone, Jason Radcliffe, Lisa McCallam, Tony Hennesy, Sally Wager, Claire Weller, George McCann, Mike Hodgkinson, Jon Graham, Timmy ‘TNT’ Thomas, Simon Cronin, Jus Cage, Bradley Wharton, Ben Barlow, Raymond Leigh, Andy Cona, Emma Bramford, Nathan Greyson, Nathan Power, Icon Nutrition, www.TheMMAShop.co.uk, Martyn Alsop, Lee Edwards, Sledge, Team Force, Blueberry Nutrition, Sam James, Ricki Lee…..If I missed anyone I am sorry but It’s still amazing we have worked with and been supported by you all this year!!! Thank you so much guys!! 2013 here we come!!!”

    You can find out more about Impact LPA and also purchase their products by visiting the following websites:

    Please visit their website: www.impactlpa.com

    Follow them on Twitter: @ImpactLPA

    And…Like their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ImpactLPA

    Thanks to Ross Laurence for the interview, I appreciate the time.

    Also, make sure you follow The MMA Review on Twitter: @TheMMAReview

    You can also follow me on Twitter: @JayCeeMMA

    Interview by: Jay Cee  (The MMA Review)