RenegadeMMA is one of a growing trend of smaller MMA companies who bring truly unique products designed by fighters with experience to the table. In our first interview we bring you the president of RenegadeMMA - Mark Beagle. KaosX.net How long have you been training in martial arts? Mark Beagle: I started in 1983 while in the Army at Ft. Bragg NC. Had a great teacher, one of those guys who could jump, break about 15 boards, before landing. Did you start out in a traditional martial art or has it always been MMA? Taekwondo was my first style and since having Martial Arts schools I have studied Kenpo Karate, pressure points, hapkido, submissions, boxing, muay thai, the list goes no... Which lead to MMA at my school. How long after you started training did you come up with the idea of RenegadeMMA? I started Renegade after being in Martial Arts supply for a couple of years- which is a very competitive market. A lot of established, well respected companies. MMA is something that I like very much, both from the Training and also Fan side. Something I saw lacking was a place where people who train in MMA could find more than a 1x1 inch photo of a piece of equipment and a price tag. I have found that fighters really appreciate a place with in-depth product information, especially now days when an average purchase is about $50, $50 is a lot of cash! Was the X-trainer the first product you designed? Yes. One day my daughter, who also is a martial artist, was fighting to get a pair of grappling shins guards off. My other daughter was yanking and pulling, like a couple of monkeys with a football... That's where the easy-off zipper came from. From there I thought it would be great to also offer fighters a guard that meets both striking and grappling. I figured they weren't offered by other companies because they could squeeze people for 2 purchases. Was there a reason you designed that particular piece of gear first? Well, after years of busted up feet and shins, that seemed to be a priority item, for me. I think the Easy-off zipper idea and the Hybrid-ness seemed like the best need to fulfill. How long did it take to go from conception through design, prototype and finally manufacture? It takes some time and expense to get patents, designs and then actual production and delivery- maybe 6 months. It's sad to say that it is virtually impossible to get anything made is the United States. During the 1990's the NAFTA and other trade agreements that where made wiped out the country’s ability to produce physical products. Something I hope we can get back to one day, that may even help correct our failing economy! Were there any unexpected challenges along the way? Again, finding a producer. I once searched for a US maker of hand wraps. Could not find one! Do you use all the product you sell? If so, do you have a favorite? Yes. I use my equipment and lots of equipment from all of the suppliers I work with. Don’t get me wrong- I have my own stuff, but all the equipment I carry is great! The suppliers I work with are also very good. If it is junk- I don’t sell it. People email and text me all the time with detailed questions and there's only one way you can provide advise- experience with the equipment! I also donate equipment to my MMA guys and local fight leagues, a training camp in Alabama, Marines in North Carolina, some guys in the 509th Airborne in Afghanistan. What’s next on the roadmap for RenegadeMMA? I just received my new MMA "Trainer" Gloves. After studying Fairtex, Hayabusa, UFC fight gloves and a few others, I developed a pair of gloves that incorporate all of the worthwhile features. All with the current economic climate in mind- Value and Durability, at about half the price. Also, growth. The economy is kicking everyone’s butt right now, but we will keep swinging. Before I ordered my own pair of X-trainers I had heard of your excellent customer service and I experienced it as well, what makes you so driven to make sure the customer is taken care of? That's what it is all about. Offering “good” customer service is nowhere near enough- I believe in “over-the-top” customer service. In my many-many years, I have experienced the worst and learned that you have to treat people right. Things happen and when they do you have to be all over it to make things right. I oversee EVERYTHING and take personal responsibility for everything. I receive emails everyday from customer, yourself included, that really appreciate a personal touch. That makes it all worth it. How many people make up RenegadeMMA? We are lean and mean. I have 3 people and another that helps me with other side projects. Plus, I work fulltime for a huge company in Boca. Sometimes I feel like a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest. It's all good, though! RenegadeMMA seems to be part of a growing group of smaller gear companies that are focused on providing gear right from what fighters are looking for, why do you think that smaller companies are filling this role and larger companies seem to be missing the opportunity, so to speak? I think providing exactly what you promise, delivering as fast as possible and then backing-up what you do. I would say 99% of the times things go off perfect, when things happen, that's what separates the smaller companies from the larger, complacent, companies. Do you sponsor any fighters? I donate to many people and gyms with no strings attached. It’s a great feeling to be able to give back. One of my guys in Afghanistan once wrote on his facebook page, “made it back again. Going to train with the guys.” That puts things in perspective... If you could let the people reading this interview know anything about RenegadeMMA, what would it be? That sums it up. I think the Martial Arts are a great lifestyle and character builder. We’re here to help people stay protected and to support the arts. You can check out more of what RenegadeMMA has to offer on MMA Gear | MMA Gloves | Kickboxing Gloves | VIDEO Reviews --- I can't wait to see what the upcoming training gloves look like - what would you guys want in a glove if you could design your own? You can check out this interview and others on my review and interview site in my signature. Thanks!