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Need hypebeast therapy? Call Claudette the Brand’s Layan Al-Dabbous

Streetwear is more than fashion, it’s a lifestyle. The comfort and confidence we feel when wearing baggy fits speak more to the soul than anything else. In recent years, we’ve seen a new appreciation for streetwear that transcends into all walks of life.

Whether it’s that favorite oversized hoodie or those fresh pairs of 1’s, streetwear honors and reimagines vintage staples and welcomes new designers from all ends of the globe. Take Kuwaiti-native turned New Yorker and Claudette the Brand founder Layan Al-Dabbous for 100.

The Parsons graduate is using her experiences with mental health and gender dynamics to spread awareness and oh ya know, keep the looking world fly.

Al-Dabbous grew up between Kuwait and London and marks Virgil Abloh’s Pyrex Vision designs as her early inspirations to make her line. Starting in high school, anxiety and other common mental health pains became a struggle and later inspired Al-Dabbous to be a part of the conversation.

Taking a bet on herself, the designer moved to New York where she attended Parsons and doodled Claudette, the face of all things positive and honest.

“I created her to create a platform where I can have a voice. I want to show kids back home it’s not a scary thing. If you want to say you went through anxiety or it’s not, it’s nothing embarrassing, you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. It is what it is. We’re all human. So let’s talk about it.”

Oh, we talking about it. Peep our exclusive sit down with the Hypebeast Therapist herself below and keep an eye out for new gear here.

Dental Health Awareness

How The Passion Project is bringing dental health awareness to the corners of the globe

Let’s be honest, we all kind of cringe at the thought of going to the dentist and in the U.S., having good oral health is engrained in our psyche as more of a chore than a privilege.

Despite this, dental disease is a serious issue that affects millions of children internationally. According to a 2016 Global Burden of Disease Study, over half of the world’s population suffer from oral diseases, that’s over 3.5 billion people fam!

Thankfully enough, there are a number of groups that are trying to combat this issue, one of which is The Passion Project, a blog showcasing global outreach missions that have blossomed through family ties.  

Twins Benjamin and Zachary Golub, 26, and older brother Michael Golub, 28, spearheads the project that aims to inspire, educate and raise oral health awareness. Amid being dental students at Tufts, the brothers fulfill numerous outreach trips each year to communities around the world that have limited infrastructure and resources.

It is a reality that has left said communities quite susceptible to dental disease. The brothers became weary of this disparity while they were youngins, growing up watching mom and dad combat the issue on the front lines while holding practices in northern New Jersey.

Now, if you’re skimming this, it might be easy to think that they got dragged into studying dentistry by their parents. But on the flip-side, it wasn’t until they actually got raw experience helping those in need, a passion was awoken in them individually.

“I think it’s interesting because people always ask us ‘did your parents force you into dentistry?’ Growing up we worked in the offices, we were exposed to what dentistry in America is like but then our parents invited us to come on some outreach trips to Jamacia and Guatemala. Seeing the impact that could have on a person and to a community that really needs it, I think that solidified in all of us that we really wanna go in this field and make a difference,” said Michael.  

While we’re living in an age where you can talk to a doctor on an app, it can be easy to take for granted the vast luxuries we have like having access to food that isn’t harsh on our teeth or being in close proximity to the dentist.

All three brothers went on their first outreach trips at different points in their lives and were touched by how they could help others. Living through these intimate and singular moments of helping the young and old living with preventable pain pushed them to carry on in their parents’ footsteps.

Drs. Jon Golub and Jamie Diament-Golub met while studying at Tufts Dental School in Massachusetts and have been doing humanitarian work around the world for well over a decade.

About 15 years ago, Jamie was volunteering as a Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at Colombia University and was asked to lead an outreach trip to Jamacia. The small island became a site that the family now visits annually and remains as one of their biggest trips. Soon after, she brought her husband and sons on future outreaches and the rest was history.

So what goes into an outreach trip exactly? A lot. Each trip takes months of planning, as every community inhabits different people with different needs. Most importantly, different levels of access.

In addition to Jamacia, the Golub clan has visited Cambodia, South Africa, Guatemala, Cape Verde, Haiti, and Nepal to not only help and educate but also creating sustainable upliftments.

“Community ties are a huge component of this because you can prep for a trip all you want, but the truth is, it’s not a one-size fits all. Different communities need different things depending on the food that they are eating, whether they have dental supplies or a testable dentist in the area. Community ties are everything because you need to be in touch with them all year round to see what they’ll need that particular week,” said Benjamin.

As a part of their process, the brothers look at the social determinants of health for each community and see what plays into their overall health in addition to their oral health.

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📍South Africa 🇿🇦| He says it best! 🥒🥕🥦🥬

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Above everything else, they align all of their efforts to what will help the people for now and the future.  This research on a community’s access plays a big role as sustainability is the primary goal.

Anyone can donate money to a good cause or help out for a short period of time, but for the Golubs, it’s more than that.

“The keyword really is sustainability. The last thing we want to do as an outreach group is go there, pull some teeth, get some people out of pain and leave. Which is why we emphasize oral health education and promotion. We make sure every child we see gets educated and gets a toothbrush, toothpaste, and supplies. We want to make sure we provide preventative care in addition to interceptive care as well,” said Zachary.

They want to make sure that each participant is getting just as much out of the program as what is being put in. Each outreach is registered with the government and the brothers are given temporary dental licenses beforehand.

The community is notified once the aid arrives as they wait in anticipation for The Passion Project to appear. In many cases, it will be the locals’ first visit to the dentist… Ever.

“Oftentimes, we’ll see children who have never been to a dentist before. It’s a challenge because we don’t want to just walk in, do our work and leave. We really want to focus on desensitizing them to a dental experience. We spend a lot of time before we do our actual work, introducing ourselves to every classroom of kids, explaining to them what we’re doing there, why dental health is important, brushing teeth, the foods you should/should not eat,” said Michael.

Imagine being a lil tot with an aching pain in your mouth that you’ve just been living with, day in, day out. Can you imagine not knowing a different reality? This imbalance in global dental health opens a window to more conversations about humanity around the world.

We all exist under the same sun but with very different definitions of “living.” In Zach’s words, The Passion Project extends beyond the pearly whites, it’s truly about the people and the heartbeat of every community.

“We’re treating the whole person, not just the oral cavity.”

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📍Jamaica🇯🇲 | When visiting a new site, it is crucial for us to understand the culture of the people we are treating. Often, this is the first step in understanding the dental history of the patients. As many of us know, sugar and carbohydrates lead to dental decay. In rural Jamaica, bag juice, which is sold in primary schools, is the culprit. Our education programs to every kid includes what foods and habits lead to a healthy mouth. The goal is to cut off the source of the problem before intervention becomes necessary. #sustainability #sweethtooth #volunteer #health #smile #oralhealth #protect #your #teeth #healthyfoods #dentistry #medicine #loveyoursmile #findyourpassion #sugar #candy #junkfood #nocavities

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While they are limited to what they can do from a public health standpoint, the Golubs put a lot of effort into ensuring that the work they do can have a lasting impact on the people they help.

This is why they tap into local networks of dental therapists and students. Along with the government, The Passion Project provides locals with a direct dental source in the community that can communicate the needs of the people to them prior to their arrival. Additionally, it spreads a wealth of health directly with the community in-between trips.

During each outreach, the brothers literally transform classrooms into clinics. While some sites are more difficult to improvise than others, they section off and make areas where patients can wait, be screened and receive preventative or surgical interventions.

In addition to locals, the Golubs are usually joined by fellow Tufts students, some faculty, and practicing dentists. The outreaches are personable and while they try their best, sometimes the demand is too high and they don’t get to see everyone in one day. This shows how much of a need there is for such care.

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Waiting for the docs 😷

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Michael recalled a heartbreaking scene from last year’s Jamacia trip,

“I was treating a 70-year old woman last year who walked for four hours uphill just to wait in line and see us.”

Doesn’t that make you appreciate the unused floss in the medicine cabinet? Beyond dental health, the Golubs wanted to share their journeys with the world via The Passion Project blog to show people the bigger picture and what it truly means to help others.

More than just a charity, The Passion Project isn’t set out to just raise money, they genuinely want to get in communities and help build sustainable practices from the inside-out.

A concept, that we can all apply to a multitude of causes.

“We really want to work on inspiring others to use their education and skills in a positive manner. Dentistry is just a small example of something we’ve found our niche in, but I feel like anybody that does anything could really get out there for the greater good,” said Zachary.    

There’s more to life and there are many ways to get involved and help communities that suffer from such issues than what may first come to mind. You don’t have to be an aspiring dentist to help out on an outreach trip. There are tons of volunteer opportunities in organizing, instruction, education and helping post-op patients.

Even if dental care may not trigger your emphatical part of being, at the end of the day, the Golubs hope that everyone can tap into a passion of theirs and bring it to life in any way that they can.

While the Golub brothers have certainly accomplished a lot through their humanitarian acts, the need for dental intervention and prevention is still present and so will the passion, behind The Passion Project.

Roots of Fight Pres. Jesse Katz talks brand origins and new Muay Thai line

Fighting is relatable, it connects victory, loss, and triumph in a way that everyone can understand, but the history behind these fights is what oftentimes gets clouded, just ask Jesse Katz, the CEO of Roots of Fight.

Whether it’s watching an old Bruce Lee flick, playing Mike Tyson’s punch out or smelling what “The Rock” is cookin’ at Wrestlemania, fighting in some way has always captivated us as a culture.


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With support from the respected fight community, the who’s who of Hollywood, and the everyday swag star, Roots of Fight has grown into not just a popular fight brand, but a lifestyle brand for all.

Katz caught up with the Kulture Hub squad about how he helped develop the brand to get to where it is now. Additionally, we discussed Roots of Fight’s latest drop, RO x Ilaria Urbinati x Johnny Hunt, Muay Thai.

“MMA was being marketed as this vicious thing and to me, there was this beauty in it and nobody was able to capture that.”

New York-born and Vancouver-bred, Katz was a fight fan since he was a kid. Growing up he watched the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Lennard, Lennox Lewis and more during the glory years of boxing.

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#OTD in 1974 – The Rumble In The Jungle, The Greatest Sporting Event Of The 20th century. @MuhammadAli regained the heavyweight title and showed why he was, and always will be, the #PeoplesChamp. . …And as he’d done with Frazier, Ali began to taunt George. “Can’t you fight harder?” Ali asked, right in the line of fire and controlling the battlefield. All the while his eyes were crazed, in the way his eyes always were. The crowd was alive. Ali, boma ye! Ali, boma ye! The rounds began to go by, with Ali stretched out at angles on the ropes. He was consciously taking what Foreman could dish. He was transferring the brunt of the blows through the ropes themselves, sending the shockwaves through his middle down through the ropes, down to the turnbuckles, and into the annals of history. Ali was a conductor. He was redirecting currents of force. When Foreman hesitated, Ali pounced with his graceful right, once, twice — fast enough to ratchet Foreman’s animal instinct to kill up another notch. Contrary to reason, all of Ali’s offense was within the space of a closet, yet one that had an infinite back, a vortex that Ali reclined into like it were an expanse of the sorcerer’s golden fields. Against it, George Foreman lost his bearings. Ali was authoring his greatest moment in a career full of great moments. In the fifth, after it felt like the fight had settled into a rhythm — the famously dubbed “rope-a-dope” tactic — the fight suddenly burst out into another direction. Ali came off the ropes like a tyrant who’d been in wait, slamming rights home, reminding everyone that his game went fathoms deep. He unleashed a preview of the hell he had yet in store for George. They exchanged, and Ali landed big with the right hand. Again, and again. All the doubts about Ali now went into his wonder, as he landed another right. As the bell sounded, Ali, constantly aware of everything around him, winked at Jim Brown, the football great, who was ringside on the call with Frazier and David Frost. Ali seizing the moment. Ali at his most indomitable. Ali at his most poetic. Words by the esteemed Chuck Mindenhall, continue reading on our blog. Shop the full collection now. Link in bio

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When the sport began to decline, he got drawn to the buzzing Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). Combined with the increased popularity of reality TV, UFC honed in on boxing’s audience and replaced it as the mainstream combat sport with shows like The Ultimate Fighter.

Believe it or not, Katz didn’t set out to be in the business of fighting,

“I wanted to be pilot or a lawyer”

Growing up in a house full of entrepreneurs, Katz bounced around jobs. He would work at his mom’s restaurant, make his way over to his dad’s U.S. tax consulting firm, and help his brother screenprint t-shirts in the garage.

After graduating from college, he chose to work for his brother’s clothing company, which quickly became the creative agency that birthed Roots of Fight.

“We started as a custom clothing company and pretty quickly realized we were offering something different, there was a value add because we were thoughtful of the brands that we were working with, who their consumers were and what the actual needs were…”

Katz continued,

“We weren’t just trying to sell a product, we weren’t a widget company.”

Hands-on-experience helped Katz learn what not to do when it came to business, leading them to reposition the t-shirt company as a creative agency, Copasetic Creative.

The agency had a client roster of most sports and beer brands that grew from being local and regional to internationally after getting acquired by bigger companies. As the agency grew, so did the value of good relationships.

“I realized that that was the key for me, that everything is based off of relationships. So I took a different approach didn’t hire salespeople, I just did it all myself and tried to grow and nurture relationships in all fields.”

At the same time, the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC skyrocketed. Fandom behind fighters like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz got them roles on the big screen and the Ultimate Fighter became one of the most popular shows on TV.

Combat sports awareness continued to increase, but the imagery and perceived values of the sport wasn’t properly defined in mainstream media.

Highlight reel knockouts and bloody wars put new fans in a trance and became synonymous with MMA. Additionally, the heavily branded, foiled, and bedazzled t-shirts fighters wore post-fight did too.

“I started this when I was 40 years old and I was a huge fight fan, but I wasn’t a fan of the marketing. It was really kind of backyard brawler, very low brow. I thought that the imaging and branding all around it were very much the same, I felt like the world was changing away from the big goddy bedazzling, skulls and crossbones, all the foiling. That really was just an awful period in sports and fashion…”

Katz laughed and continued,

“I thought the sport needed to market to a bigger audience.”

Floyd Mayweather talking trash about Muhammad Ali in an interview was the catalyst that inspired Katz to shut the doors down on the agency in 2012.

That moment would allow Katz to create something that would help tell the history of fighting to today’s audience in a way they could easily digest it.

The brutality of fighting can easily overshadow the humanism of it and scare people away. Those new to the sport shouldn’t think that MMA is just brawling and bloodsport. There is truly so much more to it.

“Fighting is something that just appeals to us, it taps into something in our brains and people who can capture that eloquently and explain it I think that’s what was missing from today. I thought you need to anchor this to the history of the fight, you need to anchor MMA as the pinnacle of thousands of years of combat sport from around the world…”

He continued,

“Every region has its own martial art, every region has its own form of combat. Whether they use weapons or not its always a hand to hand component to it. In Israel is Krav Maga, in China is Kung Fu, in Japan its Judo, Brazil Jiu-Jitsu, France-Savate. For me, that’s what was captivating and interesting and to be able to bring out that history and tap into those meaningful stories.”

Roots of Fight soft-launched in 2012 with t-shirt collections built around some of the most popular names in combat like Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali, and the Gracie Family. Through relationships old and new, Katz crossed paths with families members who trusted and believed in his vision.

These relationships represent trust and they are what give him the go-ahead to use fighters’ likeness on the shirts. Additionally, these combatant companionships allow him to tell the stories behind the world’s most loved fighters.

Roots of Fight emerged as an anti-brand, using no branding and heavily researched real-life inspired imagery to help recreate moments through apparel.

The brand started to catch the eye of major combat sports figures, like Dwayne Johnson in 2013, who Katz cites as an important part of their growth as a company.

Aesthetically, Roots of Fight appeals to everyone and it is hard to categorize it as “fight gear” alone. Instead of fists and cages, Roots shows the origins of arts, the fighters, and the communities that helped them grow.


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Expanding the colorways and imagery helped expand the concept of lifestyle gear for the industry, peeling back the curtains for casual fans to learn what fighting was really all about.

“The previous incarnations of all of the fight brands that were out there was always focusing on the toughness and you could almost see someone put on one of those shirts to try and look “tough” or give off a certain vibe. What we were trying to do is take a different approach and make this stuff softer and actually just make stuff that looks pretty.”

Katz continued,

“First and foremost we just want it to look good, for you to feel happy in it and for it to fit well. Stuff that in particular everyone would want to wear. Something that crosses over and is acceptable by a greater audience and then, people who are really into combat sports, now theres gonna be layers of detail they can dive into and understand the meaning behind why we’re doing them.”

Famed fashionista Ilaria Urbinati who styles celebs like “The Rock” and Childish Gambino became a Roots of Fight fan after scooping up a Bruce Lee jacket at a shop in L.A.

Weeks after, she kept bumping into clients who swore by the brand. Hell, Bradley Cooper even said he keeps a jacket in the trunk of his car, “just in case.” Urbinati is also a lover of the arts and partakes in Muay Thai training daily.

So, it was no surprise that her team and Katz’s team hit it off and decided to collab. Along with the expertise of Muay Thai Champion and Fortune Gym trainer, Johnny Hunt, they decided to create a capsule to tell the special story of “Boxing Day” in Muay Thai’s history.

The limited edition collection, RO x Ilaria Urbinati x Johnny Hunt, Muay Thai includes a stadium jacket, tee, sweatpants, and hoody all showcasing regalia of Thailand.

Each color, pattern, and image throughout the collection is intentional and speaks to the greater culture that birthed this particular art of fighting.

Boxing Day is celebrated every March 17 in Thailand and originated in 1774 after Burmese fighter, Nai Khanom Tom defeated nine other prisoned fighters earning a pardon from then King Mangra as well as the release of thousands of other prisoners who were being held away from their home of Siam.

What then was known as Siamese-style boxing became what we now know as Muay Thai, a history that the collection tells through each piece.

“This has been quite a success, we got a lot of energy and enthusiasm for it right off the bat. I actually just hand delivered one to Wiz Khalifa. I’m hoping we can do something maybe even something new with these guys because Ilaria just has ideas forever and nobody knows fashion like her.”

The drop connects modern combat sports and fashion lovers alike with the community that started Muay Thai, a connection that Katz feels can be replicated between any passion and group of people that shares a love for it.

“You gotta be doing something that’s authentic and meaningful. It can’t just be meaningful to you, you have to channel your passion into something that’s accessible and translatable to other people.”

Roots of Fight redefined lifestyle gear for combat sports and continues to bridge the gap between communities past and present.

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Proud to announce this new Muay Thai collab with two amazing people who we have become friends with and created this capsule with. Ilaria Urbinati is a fashion stylist whose clients include Rami Malek, Donald Glover, Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, Ben & Casey Affleck, Chris Evans and many more. She also trains Muay Thai and boxing with Johnny Hunt – who is a former world ranked Muay Thai champ who fought & trained for many years in Thailand, Japan, and China. He now trains a long list of top celebrities out of Fortune Gym, Hollywood. – Ilaria first discovered ROF when she purchased one a Bruce Lee jackets, then wore it to a set she was working with Dwayne Johnson. She didn’t know Dwayne’s history with us but, he instantly recognized it and offered to make an introduction. That same week, coincidentally another client of hers, Bradley Cooper showed up to a styling wearing an RO Ali Jacket. At that point, Ilaria and RO were connected by a mutual friend (Thank you Slater) and started talking about potential ways to get creative together. Johnny and his love of Muay Thai and knowledge of the history felt like “Boxer’s Day” – which is celebrated every year in Thailand on March 17th would be an ideal subject to dive into. – According to legend, in 1774 Nai Khanom Tom was one of thousands of Siamese prisoners being held by the Burmese King Mangra after the Burmese invasion in the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The king selected Nai Khanom Tom to fight against a Burmese fighter. Nai Khanom Tom won by Knock Out. The referee claimed the win not valid due to possible sorcery. – The King then sent in 9 other fighters, one by one without time breaks. They were all put on the ground by the hands of Nai Khanom Tom. – Impressed by these abilities, King Mangra claimed Nai Khanom Tom to be “blessed with venom”. – He was pardoned, along with the other Siamese prisoners, and allowed to return to Siam. He was acknowledged as a hero and his fighting style became known as Siamese-Style boxing, later to be known as Muay Thai and would be recognized as the national sport. – Shop our Limited Edition RO x @ilariaurbinati x @therealjohnnyhunt Muay Thai Collab now. Link in bio #RootsofFight

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WBO Champ Michael Bentt tells all in new Netflix doc, Losers

Michael Bentt, now 55, thought he would never live to see 30. In the new Netflix docu-series, Losers, Bentt recalls his experiences as a top amateur boxer, WBO champion, and actor.

Diving into acting and the arts from the fight world seemed to be a pivot Bentt was destined for.

He’s a natural writer and student of film since he was a youngin. I had the chance to chop it up with Bentt about his experiences as both a fighter and now a creative, something Bentt believes we all are. 

“We’re all born creatives.”

Bentt’s Jamaican-born father admired famed-Muhammed Ali and wanted his son would grow to be a boxer of the same magnitude. Unfortunately, for pops, Bentt wasn’t a fan of the sweet science at all.

“I never wanted to be a professional [boxer] in the first place,” Bentt said in the first episode of the series while describing his mindset after beating Tommy Morrison for the WBO Championship in 93’.

Bentt was born in the UK and moved to the Cambria-Heights section of Queens in 1974. His father who insisted Bentt to become a top boxer forced him to start training at an early age.

Four-time Golden Glove Champion, three-time United States Amateur Boxing Champion, and Bronze World Amateur are just a few of the crowns he held.

Bentt flexed so hard as an amateur, it’s hard to believe his head wasn’t in the game, but it really wasn’t. When he tried to voice his dislike for boxing to his father as a kid, his father responded by way of force, which told him one thing. He didn’t have a choice. 

Bentt went pro partially to escape his father’s scrutiny.

He recalled moments growing up where his family and friends would talk about success and what it meant to be worthy as a man, “if I don’t have a thousand dollars in my pocket, I’m worthless,” said Bentt.

He continued,

“Do you know how many times I’ve been in boxing camps or had estrangements with managers and I was flat broke? I didn’t have a thousand dollars in my pocket, I didn’t have two cents in my pocket. How many times I felt dejected and down in the dirt because those things that my father was saying was echoing in my brain? How difficult it was navigating that nonsense? Or how difficult it was to start unbelieving that nonsense?”

As an amateur stud, Bentt faced heavy heat when he got knocked out in his first professional bout against Jerry Jones in 89. In the Netflix doc, he paints a vivid picture of how he was tormented and blacklisted from getting another fight.

Losers artwork by Mickey-Duzyj

Someone even left a nasty note on a parking ticket on his car. From the lack of support and self-hate he acquired, he almost committed suicide, but something told him it wasn’t his time. 

With a build-up of emotions and determination to prove the haters wrong, he was able to get a manager and climb back up the ranks. After 10 straight wins, Bentt was offered what came to be the highlight reel fight of his career against “The White Mike Tyson”.

Bentt was looked at as a good warm-up fight for Morrison who was gearing up for a $8 million dollar payday. Bentt came in as the underdog but ended up dropping Morrison three times in the first round, winning the championship via TKO.

It was after his next fight, to Herbie Hide, where he received such severe brain damage, that doctors told him boxing was out of the question for him. “I knew, somewhere deep down, that I didn’t have what it takes to be a heavyweight champion,” Bentt recalled while walking into the Hide fight.

Losers artwork by Mickey-Duzyj

Months after he left the hospital, he enrolled in a local community college, picked up radio and TV majors, and took an acting class as an elective. He was in pursuit of work as a commentator overseas and wanted to learn the essential skills. After his first acting class, he knew he found his new steez. He said,

“I am never doing anything other than this, if I have to starve, if I have to rob a bank or two or three, I’m gonna do this thing for the rest of my life.”

Fighters get a bad rap and are stigmatized as aggressive and unrelatable, but in Bentt’s eyes, they’re honestly some of the kindest people on the planet. Fighting is an emotional rollercoaster, filled with love, hate, doubt and vulnerability that is often only seen by those behind the scenes. 

“I come from the fight world, I’m a sensitive human being. Boxers are some of the most sensitive creatures on the planet but we don’t see that. The violence-it’s primal…

Bentt continued,

“But behind the whole primal venire are the most sensitive, sweet people. Of course, we have these triggers, and when they’re pushed we respond to those triggers. When you’re conditioned to be one thing and one thing only, you only know one thing and one thing only. You respond with one thing and one thing only.”

Bentt found solace in the arts as a kid, after his middle school teacher was amazed by his style of writing. He found himself writing screenplay-esque scenes in a composition notebook amidst the rigorous training schedule forced upon him by his father. He had to constantly dubb what he was passionate about to do something that wasn’t even his dream. If he didn’t, his dad would hurt him.

His life became a twisted cycle Bentt had to unlearn.

“I don’t like the struggles that I experienced, but I appreciate them. Not that I’m giving my father a pat on the back, I’m not. I think my father is damaged, but I survived his damages and I’m able to use his damages in a positive way.”

Being told that he couldn’t box again was immediate relief and tapped into his mindset as a creator and life long student of the arts.

“Honestly, if Michael Bentt doesn’t find the world of acting and the arts, the person who you saw on the Netflix documentary, that’s a completely different person. That person would definitely be a person trying to hide and explain and be appropriate. The person you saw on Netflix, he doesn’t care about being appropriate, he cares about being authentic, and expressing what others can’t express.”

Contrary to what you might think, Bentt sees a lot of parallels with boxing and acting, qualities that have helped him flourish to be the person is his today.

“To me, boxing and acting, they’re kissing cousins essentially, only with acting, you have to be naked and vulnerable and a boxer can’t afford to be naked and vulnerable.”  

Bentt went on to write for Bert Sugar’s, Fight Game after the two met at an HBO Press Conference. Writing for the magazine gave Bentt a platform to express what he saw and experienced as an elite amateur and a pro that’s had his elite moments.

The job opened up the conversation about Bentt bringing his creative and combative backgrounds together to act, direct and consult on several major-motion films and theatrical shows, many relative to boxing.

Starring as the famed-Sonny Liston opposite Will Smith in Ali, Bentt also starred in other Hollywood boxing flicks like Girlfight and Million Dollar Baby with Clint Eastwood.

Being both on camera and behind-the-scenes, helped him fused both a mixture of his talents in a way that finally allowed him to be honest and unbothered, something he couldn’t do as a fighter. Fighters are bred to ooze machismo, be the best at their craft while deflecting any sense of insecurity.

In mass media, combat sports athletes are so closely depicted as being neanderthal-like characters with primal mentalities, but they are so so much more.

“Your opinion of me is not my reality.”

Bentt made acting his priority, putting it at the center of everything he did which naturally led him to learn under mentors like Ron Shelton, Fred Burner, and others. He gives props to his mentors for helping him take experiences from his boxing life to show the many dimensions fighters possess through acting.

“Who can’t relate to being betrayed? That takes place in boxing, in life. Who can’t relate to being overcome by fear, who can’t relate to failure? Those things that I experienced in boxing, I get a chance to express and experiment with as an actor with wonderful directors and actors who believe in me.”

Being a member of the acting community and working alongside names he only dreamed of, proves Bentt’s sentiment that if you really put in the work and commit to what you love, destined opportunities will find their way to you.

“I’m a firm believer that if you put in the energy to commit to studying what you love, at some point on your path, you will meet a mentor who will further augment your experiences and your craft.”

Fighter. Actor. Writer. It’s an understatement to say that Michael Bentt’s journey as a creative is one that we all can take notes from. No matter what your passion is, it’s never too late or too wild to do what you love.

So what are you waiting for?

How Billionaire Girls Club is redefining women in streetwear

For decades, women in streetwear have been consistently misinterpreted and muted in mainstream media.

Changing the perspective, on “International Women’s Day,” Billionaire Girls Club (BGC) held a panel event, aimed to broaden the way we view women in the industry and dive into their responsibility for much of today’s culture.

“A Conversation about Women in Streetwear,” welcomed young women from the Lower East Side Girls Club and members from local women empowerment groups; Through our Lens Inc. and Applauding Power for a night of discussion and growth.

Taking a seat on the panel stage was a lineup representing the many different lanes in streetwear; Va$htie Kole (DJ/Director), Karizza Sanchez (Complex), Joy Yoon (Adidas), Olivia Anthony (LIV Streetwear),  and Angela Chavez (OVO).

Moderating the boss group was none other than Miss Info, who in many ways has a staple in hip hop culture and media for almost two decades.

It was interesting to hear each panelist’s definition of what it means to be a “woman in streetwear” and what drew them into the industry individually. As a collective, they all seem to have fallen in love with streetwear in a very natural, creative way.

Anthony recalled watching her older sister mirror her boyfriend’s swagful clothes during the 90s and models her fashion line, LIV Streetwear after those moments.

“As a designer, all of my clothes are unisex. I’ve been inspired by just my sister matching her boyfriend going to the mall. I’ve always been inspired by women wearing men’s clothes.”

Photo Cred: @chiefivey

Similar to Anthony, Sanchez found herself drawn to streetwear by admiring women who have grown within and navigated the industry from different verticals aside from actual design.

The panel was a great example of how one can truly take something they are passionate about and make it a permanent part of their lifestyle. Streetwear is often just looked at as brands and clothes that are usually associated with a household name or perhaps a model, but it’s so much more.

Everyone from the photographer that shoots the campaigns, to the editors that discuss the culture around in which those clothes are flexed in, are all apart of streetwear. Sanchez expressed, 

”Growing up, there were women who I saw in these positions not just as designers but behind the scenes. There are a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ women that people don’t know about or care to know about. Part of it is on us to do the research…

She continued,

“There are so many brands that people like in streetwear where so many women are actually the ones doing the work. They may not be the founders but they’re the ones shooting the photos or designing the graphics.”

Photo Cred: @chiefivey

Streetwear is a multi-dimensional universe where men and women can shine in several respects. But, now at this point in time, society has reached a pivotal point because women who occupy interest in areas that are most common dominated by men are often looked at as novelties or are ultimately “othered.”

The whole thing pretty much feeds a cycle of women who have to consistently defend and prove their authenticity amidst stigmas fueled by sexism.

Kole has been a cultural creator and producer for over a decade and grew up hanging around mostly boys, and shopping in the “boys section,” but shared a struggle similar to many women, who loved sneakers but had to search high and low to find one in their size or their preferred color.

The cultural expectations for how men and women dress has plagued the sneaker industry for many years, segmenting different styles and colors for kicks with presumed colorways that women should wear. Major turn off.

“They’d used to term ‘shrink it and pink it’ so if there was a cool Jordan sneaker, they would take it and made it smaller and in pink for girls. They would make the assumption that all I want is pink. I think it’s interesting because the market is obviously changing and social media is helping,” said Kole

Photo Cred: Chief Ivey

In 2019, it is much more common to see a girl in baggy pants and oversized tees and not automatically call her sexual preference into question, but it wasn’t always like that. Through apps like Instagram, more images of women wearing different street fits from all different skin tones, shapes, and ages are redefining how we look women in the industry.

Wearing baggy clothes, or sneakers to work isn’t a faux-pas or seen as less professional, but rather an admirable reflection of comfort. High fashion has picked up on this and many designer labels have been incorporating a streetwear-fashion into their collections, especially winter collections for women.

It’s a reality that circles back to Miss Info’s first question to the panel – ‘Is there more inclusion now that women in streetwear are trendy?’

Yoon, Studio Director at Adidas Program Creative Farm took a major pivot to follow her dreams at an early age, where her parents weren’t supportive of her diving into what seemed like unchartered territories for her. “I was planning on being a doctor, or rather, my dad was planning on me being a doctor…” she said. 

“I was enrolled in school and two weeks in I decided I didn’t want to do it anymore-it didn’t make me happy. Happiness was the main driver for me, which at 18 was somewhat of an epiphany because a lot of people don’t realize how important happiness is until they’re a lot older.”

After hearing the news, Yoon’s father cleared her bank account.

There’s more to life, so why spend time doing something that doesn’t fulfill you? Why wear the clothes that society expects you to? The conversation around the panel not only translates to women in streetwear but essentially any male-dominated industry that women have to navigate.

Phot Cred: @chiefIvey

The ladies answered questions from the young, aspiring ladies that filled the audience at SoHo’s BBC flagship store, urging them to both stay true to themselves as creatives and hold themselves accountable.

Let’s be honest, as much as it sucks,  women are quickly scrutinized and scape-goated so consistency is truly key. Despite any shade, someone can throw your way, being a girl trying to do _____, your resume and reputation is factual proof of what you can produce, so uphold it the best you can.

Another strong sentiment the panel touched on was women supporting other women. 

“It’s all about supporting. As women, we need to support each other and keep each other up and if there are more women designers out there, lean towards that because they are making it for us,” said Anthony.

Embracing your fellow ladies will only, in turn, elevate your voice as an individual and make these outdated narratives about gender more obsolete.

The Billionaire Girls Club panel was a refreshing way to celebrate the holiday that in actuality should be celebrated every damn day.  

Giving young women exposure to a safe space that dives into this issue is blessing our young queens with the knowledge that will guide them to further broaden equality in all parts of the kulture. 

Peep the drip from the event below.

Photo Cred: @chiefivey
Photo Cred: @chiefivey
Photo Cred: @chiefivey
Photo Cred: @chiefivey
Photo Cred: @chiefivey
Photo Cred: @chiefivey
Photo Cred: @chiefivey
Photo Cred: @chiefivey
Photo Cred: @chiefivey
Photo Cred: @chiefivey

Diplomatic Ties: A mini-doc that reminds us why Dipset stole culture’s heart

You don’t have to be from New York to know the influential impact The Diplomats aka Dipset have had on music and fashion because the wavy group of kings has overall “stunted on the game” for the last 20 plus years.

In rare form, the squad is giving an intimate look into the making of their latest drop, Diplomatic Ties in a mini-documentary of the same name streaming exclusively on Tidal.

It’s been almost 14 years since we’ve last seen Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, and Freekey Zekey drop an official project together and damn did we need it.

It’s hard to believe that it has been so long since as each individual member has built their own cult-like following while still linking up for collabs and hopping on each other’s tracks over the years.

Despite their fair share of ups and downs, the brotherly bond has never died, and it shows. Throughout Diplomatic Ties, the group touches upon coming together to make Diplomatic Ties. At one point Jim Jones said,

“It feels good to be back with my brothers recording and doing new music. It’s been a choppy road for the last umpteen years back and forth trying to get the Diplomat thing together, I mean really get it together as far as making a complete album, making a great effort. Recording is a little bit different now a days, but it’s still a great feeling to be able to complete music with my brothers.”

In the doc, each member recalls the origins of the group and how they truly defined Harlem culture in the late 90s and early 2000s. Dipset was cultivated in the heart of Harlem from a group of kids looking to live out their dreams and set a new standard in hip hop. Just ask frontman, Cam’Ron.

“They seen a group of kids from Harlem that had almost nothing, come up to be platinum-selling artists”

Before the independent artist age, Dipset rose to fame from dropping fire mixtapes that spread through the streets and eventually put them on the map. In Diplomatic Ties, Jones breaks down the difficulty in maintaining steam as an artist during the time where there were large gaps of time between album releases.

This gave room for the group to ‘put pressure on the streets’ by giving hella features and releasing mixtapes to always keep their rhymes in ears. To them, a mixtape was “printed money,” it was guaranteed to be passed around and have exponential value.

While Cam’Ron’s popularity as a solo artist initially helped fuel Dipset’s mainstream success for the clique, you couldn’t help but notice the bars from his posse on tracks like “Oh boy” and “Hey Ma”.

This laid out the blueprint for acts like G-Unit and A$AP Mob to flex both as a group and individual artists. Also featured in the film is the mastermind behind the beats of that classic Dipset sound, Rsonist aka Heatmakerz who speaks on the enigmatic artistry of the crew.

In the doc, the group is compared to Voltron and there couldn’t be a more appropriate analogy. Whether it’s Cam’s smooth and snarky puns or Juelz’s fresh and cocky lines, everyone brings something different yet impactful to the table, which translates in various genuine behind the scenes moments in the film.

From the studio to video shoots, to performing on stage, the synergy of Dipset is still so raw and strong. Watching them back together truly reminds you of how impactful the group was and how in many ways Dipset bridged a gap between old school and new school rap.

“I could see a 1998 hunger that was in our eyes that was completely gone at one point in time,” recalls Zekey.

Hip hop has always been a mirror to the streets. Through Dipset’s swag and fly verses, the world got an authentic taste of young Harlem that differed from other local rappers. Beyond the rhymes, the Diplomats are a pack of the illest trendsetters that pop culture has ever seen, period.

Killa Cam had every dude thinking he could rock a pink mink and matching pink timbs. And who didn’t iron the hell out of their beauty supply bandana to stunt like Juelz and Jimmy? If they wanted to, the group could probably live off of merch sales alone that poke fun at their iconic fashion moments.

Atlanta rapper, YFN Lucci makes an appearance in the doc and chops it up about how his whole hood idolized Dipset and was inspired to rap and put on for their city just like they did.

It’s heartwarming to see that the crew’s steez has stayed the same even though their stomping grounds has. In one of the many hilarious scenes, Jones goes shopping for exclusives while saying hello to the many members of “New Harlem” aka gentrification nation.

Calling Diplomatic Ties a must-see is an understatement. The quick glimpse into the present-day Dipset leaves us craving for more from Harlem’s finest. A craving that can only be fulfilled by diving head first into their latest album while bouncing back to the nostalgic jams that we all know and love.

“We had a chance to do something great in life, which we did.”

Fight Kulture: Why Wall Street is still recovering from FNT Vol. IV

In New York, the first week of Feb. means three things: failed resolutions, REALLY brick ass weather and New York Fashion Week. Last Friday, FNT flipped the script on all of that as the fight party took over 30 Wall Street for the fourth installation of its fight series and probably the most poppin’ party of 2019 thus far.

FNT’s first event of the year also marked a special milestone – 10 whole years since founder/ringmaster, Bekim Trenova decided to throw a boxing match with friends that eventually bloomed into the cultural event, bridging the gap between fight culture and nightlife.

Just steps away from the New York Stock Exchange, hundreds of eager fight fans, creatives, and baddie models lined up to see another night of addictive madness.

The ground-level venue was raw, rustic, and embodied the perfect canvas for the production that goes into fight night. Similar to earlier volumes, this venue had an intimacy that made you feel as if you were a part of the show rather than just a spectator.

The usual suspects collaborated with Trenova to bring the night together; MATTE Projects, Mike Washington, Tom Sconzo and the ISKA sanctioning team. The night was set with a stacked card of MMA and Muay Thai fights along with music performances by Flipp Dinero, Malibu Mitch, Venus X, and M!NT. Sheeesh.

Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | In Photo: Flip Dinero

Trenova set the tone for the night early on the mic during the opener. Now when a ski mask-clad Bekim tells you to turn the fuck up…YOU TURN THE FUCK UP.

Starting off with the fights–they BANGED! When I say they banged, I mean each fight added a different X-factor to the night that drew you in more and more. The momentum of the night increased fight after fight and the slick moves from Team Kitty Koalition during intermissions amplified it.

Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | In Photo: Kitty Koalition

The fight card featured local fighters from Renzo Gracie, Evolution Muay Thai, Team Demolition, Striking 101, Red Kickboxing, and Progressive Martial Arts. It’s fashion week, fighters gotta drip too-both red and blue corners were draped up in Under Armour gear and G&S gloves.

The shocker of the night came by Olympic bronze medalist and wrestler, Hamdy Abdelwahab with a 15-second K.O. on Jamal Pottinger in the first round. Abdelwahab trains under the legendary Daniel Gracie who is set and locked in with FNT for future fights.

The main event was no sleeper either, Diego Jagessar and Will Cavali lit up the ring with Jagessar earning a technical TKO at the bell. The night also included a drumline performance by Brooklyn Express Drumline which was too lit for me for me to put in words.

Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | Diego Jagessar vs. Will Cavali

Where else have you heard of a fight event having a drumline?? It plays not only to Trenova’s Georgia roots but also to the artistic athleticism that is showcased all throughout FNT. This is where FNT bridges the gap between cultures.

During intermissions when people typically check their phones, FNT hits your senses with something you would never expect, something that may be new to you, but will prompt you to chat with the stranger next to you, build a new connection and new experience. New York needs that shit.

Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner

One of the most intriguing elements of FNT is the unique room it draws. There’s something for everyone- fight fans, fashion kids, music heads, you name it.

Fight night saw the likes of combat sports vet and BATS-TOI founder, Mario Mercado, Daniel Gracie, Overtime Larry/a>, Binx, amongst others from the creative and fight communities in the city.

The night certainly set the precedent for FNT’s stacked year. The fight circus heads back to LA, Miami, and Chi-Town to close out the first half of the year.

I still wonder if those brokers have any clue how hot that block was that night…

Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | Joseph Lyles vs Jose Olivaez
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | Joseph Lyles vs Jose Olivaez
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | In Photo: Malibu Mitch
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | In Photo: Kitty Koalition
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | Bekim Trenova
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner
Grayson Gunner | In Photo: Brooklyn Express Drumline
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | Diego Jagessar vs. Will Cavali
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | Diego Jagessar vs. Will Cavali
Photo Cred: Grayson Gunner | Jamal Pottinger vs. Hamdy Abdelwahab

Rachael Ostovich vs Paige VanZant: Why their fight is bigger than MMA

Rachael Ostovich and Paige VanZant are about to make history at UFC Fight Night on Jan. 19, but there’s much more than a title on the line.

The two flyweight fighters will go head to head on the UFC’s debut on ESPN+, just a couple months after Ostovich was severely abused at by her husband, Arnold Berdon.

A few months prior to the incident, VanZant released her book Rise, Surviving the Fight of My Life, which revealed that she was a victim of sexual assault in high school.

While the fight has gained a lot of media attention under the unfortunate circumstances, it’s also giving a much-needed spotlight on abuse victims that couldn’t have come at a better time.

Fighting is much more than a hobby or a workout, it’s a lifestyle. The mental resilience, discipline, and self-awareness that goes into physical training translates into every aspect of life and behind every fighter, there is a story.

While women fighting in combat sports is far from new, the paths that female fighters have taken are still often overlooked for superficial reasons. Ostovich and VanZant are two of the most elite fighters in MMA today who still face the age-old problem of being placed in a box for their looks.

Seeing a “pretty” girl fight is still taboo for some who may only associate the toughness of a fighter with a certain exterior, which undermines the fights that women go through on the daily.

Both of these women have been through hell and back and are throwing down to show women everywhere that being a victim doesn’t define them as VanZant explained the importance of the fight to,

“We’re both trying to win a fight. But afterwards and even throughout the process, we can show how strong women are and use this to stand up for ourselves and stand up for women and women’s rights and everything that goes beyond — domestic violence and sexual abuse. Just use it to speak up. Even not changing anything, but just be a voice. I know we’re not the only ones who have been through it, it’s just ours are highlighted because we are on this platform.”

The bout was originally called off after Ostovich’s alleged incident first occurred back in November 2018 when her management, SuckerPunch Entertainment, released a statement saying she wouldn’t be able to compete after suffering a fractured orbital bone amongst other injuries to her face and body.

Ostovich was hospitalized after the alleged attack by her husband who is also a trained MMA fighter and is heard screaming for her life on recently released audio of the attack, after being told: “I’m going to fucking murder you.”

The unfathomable experience caused a media frenzy and led to Ostovich pulling out of the fight. Many were shocked when just a few weeks later Ostovich proudly told the world that the fight was back on during an interview with KHON2 of Hawaii,

“Although this is a very difficult time for me and my family, I felt that this fight in January was important. I felt that it was extremely important to me to follow through with it and not only for me but for my daughter and other people that might be going through similar situations, I want to take a stand against domestic violence and show others that it’s okay to come out and speak about it and not be quieted.”

Mic. Fucking. Drop. If she wasn’t badass enough, Ostovich’s strength, courage, and poise is a great example for domestic violence victims everywhere.

While she’s still battling with the trauma of what occurred, Ostovich is using her platform to show other victims that they are not alone and that speaking up about it and showing vulnerability is far from a sign of weakness.

VanZant was geeked to hear the fight was back on too.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt has also been outspoken about her past after public speaking about her experience with bullying and sexual abuse as a freshman in high school.

Van Zant was gang-raped which put her on a downward spiral until she found solace in MMA. She told Good Morning America,

“MMA fighting saved my life, it saved who I was as a person, too.”

More controversy surrounding the bout has come by way of another fight on the card, including ex-NFLer, Greg Hardy who was found guilty for assaulting a woman back in 2014.

While many have criticized the decision to put both fighters on the same card, Ostovich isn’t losing focus as she told Ariel Helwani in an interview, “I have nothing to do with Greg Hardy. I’m just grateful to be fighting again.”

Seeing such fearlessness makes it hard to believe that just a few years ago, UFC President, Dana White was adamant when telling TMZ that “women will never fight in the UFC.”

More respect for women in sports entertainment is being seen across the board. Take the WWE for instance.

Although they are VERY different, the WWE and the UFC share a similar demographic, and while I love Trish Stratus, her barking like a dog to Vince McMahon’s command didn’t start the century off on the best foot.

2018 saw the WWE hold their first all-women PPV headlined by former UFC champ, Ronda Rousey, showing how marketable women can be without fighting in mud.

Ostovich vs VanZant is more than just a fight, it’s a historical moment marking an age where women from all walks of life are standing up and speaking out.

Hell, just the other day, fellow UFC strawweight, Polyana Viana straight up washed a dude who tried to mug her on the streets of Brazil.


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On the left is @polyanaviana, one of our @UFC fighters and on the right is the guy who tried to rob her #badfuckingidea

A post shared by Dana White (@danawhite) on

Year after year, women in combat sports continue to break the ceilings set for them and show the depths of the fighter’s mindset.

Yes, women can fight and yes, they can be baddies while doing so. We run the fucking world, remember?

How the PFL is changing the way we watch MMA in 2019

For many, the end of the year means lots of turn-ups, food and regretful texts. But if you’re a fight fan like me, you know that every late December the MMA gods bless us with some of the year’s sickest fight cards.

So when the Professional Fighters League (PFL) announced their 2018 Championships would be held on New Year’s Eve at Madison Square Garden, it was a no-brainer, I had to pull up!


The PFL (formerly World Series of Fighting) is a mixed martial arts league currently holding seven weight classes and 72+ fighters from all around the world. After rebranding, the league launched their inaugural season this past summer that put a twist how viewers are used to watching MMA.

Instead of having a matchmaker pair fighters for each throwdown, fighters in the PFL compete in a tournament-style regular season, playoffs and championships to win gold.

While this format is typical for any pretty much sport that ends in “ball,” it’s unique for MMA as it lets fighters own their way in the game-nixing the issues that matchmakers, fighters and fans run into when politics influence matchups.


From 7-11 pm on the last night of the year, peeps packed the Hulu Theater at MSG with a card set with six championship bouts where each newly crowned champion would receive $1 million dollars along with their strap. Yup, they gave out the RACKSSS.

The “don’t blink” moment of the night happened in the first 33 seconds when middleweight Louis Taylor knocked out Abus Magomedov to win the very first PFL title, setting a crazy pace for the night without even breaking a sweat. The win was a full-circle moment for the seasoned vet as Taylor, 39 reflected in his post-fight interview:

“Regardless of the million dollars, I’ve been in this game for 11 years, I felt I owed it to myself to be a world champion.”


The fight card also included a special women’s lightweight bout between undefeated 2x Olympian Kayla Harrison and Moriel Charneski who was far from a sleeper.

Harrison, who is equipped with some serious mastery in Judo, dominated the first and only round winning via TKO. The fight set up PFL’s inaugural women’s lightweight season for 2019 and showed that Harrison meant it when she said the “baddest woman on the planet is right here.”

“I’m honored PFL is started a 155-pound division and putting their trust in me, but I’ve got strong shoulders. I’m going to be a millionaire next year.”


A lightweight women’s tournament on the platform that PFL has on NBCSN is a pretty big deal and giving equal pay to both male and female fighters is even a bigger deal.

The PFL has made a point to distinguish themselves as innovators in the space by not only their format but also for the opportunities they give to fighters and fans which is why this night was so impactful for MMA. Just ask PFL’s new heavyweight champ, Philipe Lins who said,

“With the family I have and this accomplishment, I am the happiest man on earth. I still can’t believe this has happened to me. I was close to retiring before this opportunity. I’m so happy.”


Or Sean O’Connell who did retire….as a millionaire.

“I want to thank PFL for giving me a second chance. For everyone that believes in something, keep pushing, you can do it. It’s all in your head. If I want to do it, you can.”

O’Connell squared up against Vinny Magalhães, the No. 1 seed in the light heavyweight division and laid some pretty nasty hands on him until his corner threw in towel in the third round.

In his post-fight interview with Carolyn Pierce O’Connell, he announced his retirement, walking away with a title, a milli, and one last W for his career.


View this post on Instagram


Thank you all. Especially @carlossilvajr38 @sugarraysefo and @pflmma for letting me go out with a bang.

A post shared by Sean O’Connell (@realocsports) on

Beyond having a dope ass event on NYE, the PFL is truly changing the way fans absorb MMA and adding to the culture of fighting. This isn’t that surprising, considering team behind the movement.

The league’s President of Fighter Operations is combat sports legend and mogul, Ray Sefo, who said, “it’s been an amazing year for PFL and the best has yet to come,” at the pre-fight press conference for the championships.

The league is gearing up to produce a reality TV show following hopefuls as they compete for a spot in the playoffs in 2019. This year will also see the debut of the first-ever “SmartCage” that uses biometric and positional data for real-time fighter stats, elevating the experience for fans to a braze level.


Fighting is a lifestyle, a mindset, and a true form of community for everyone it impacts. I have yet to meet a fighter who started training just to secure a bag but I have met dozens who have balanced multiple hustles just so they can hit a bag, roll on the mat and secure another fight while paying the bills.

Fighters comp has been a touchy topic in the industry and the PFL is making a statement by paying their championship winners $1 million and losers upwards of $200K.

More so than the money, every fighter on NYE thanked the PFL for the unmatched opportunity they are providing today’s MMA athletes. You don’t have to be a fan of the sport to catch the vibe of the PFL. It’s exciting, easy to follow and innovating fighting in more ways than one.

Peep more pics from the event by our homie Adisa Sobers aka @kidzarevil below:

How The Rock’s ‘Titan Games’ is the most insane athletic competition ever

Let’s face it, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is high key one of the biggest motivational figures ever. The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment was once a guy with just seven bucks in his pocket and he attributes sports for helping him to become the mogul he is today.

Over the past year, Johnson has been cooking up a new athletic competition series for NBC set to debut in early 2019 called The Titan Games. The series will challenge everyday folks to defy the odds and compete in an insane obstacle course inspired by The Rock’s brolic workouts. You smell that?

Johnson told Jimmy Fallon in a recent interview on The Tonight Show,

“I wanted to create a platform that gave everyday people the opportunity to change their lives and do something extraordinary.”

Which isn’t a shocker-Johnson is all about tapping into the athlete in all of us and holds no punches when telling everyone on the ‘gram to get off their candy asses and put in that work. He continued telling Fallon,

“Every challenge these competitors will face is inspired by the workouts that have fueled me, the struggles I’ve experienced and the disciplines I believe in.”

Truck drivers, firefighters and trauma nurses are just a few of the jobs the current crop of contestants hold. For The Titan Games, Johnson didn’t just want to reach the average jock, he called out the world’s “badass women” and extended the deadline for applications while encouraging people from all backgrounds to join in.


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This brutal obstacle will challenge all 8 muscle groups in your upper body. 🔨 This is Hammering Ram. #TitanGames

A post shared by The Titan Games (@nbctitangames) on

For him, The Titan Games is far from any athletic competition show you’ve seen thus far. DJ says,

“It’s a melting pot of a show. Where my people of color at? Where my black people at? Where my hispanic people at? Where my asian people at? If I look like I could be your cousin, then you need to sign up for this show. You don’t have to be an amazing athlete, you just have to have the meddle. The mana.”

In the official trailer, DJ talks about redefining the standards for athletic competitions. Now you already know The Rock is all about hard work, so becoming a titan ain’t gonna be easy.

Each contestant must surpass their opponent in a series of challenges on an obstacle course called “The Mountain” to earn the title of Titan. The mountain is filled with grueling challenges forcing contestants to unleash their physical and mental strength all the while scaring their opponents.

“We’ll be testing more than their strength, we’ll test every fiber of their being, mind, body and soul. We’ll give everyday people the chance to become titans”

Johnson produced the show alongside his Seven Bucks Productions co-founder and ex-wife, Dany Garcia who together have been KILLIN the game and were both named two of the most influential business leaders in entertainment by Variety.

Garcia and Johnson grinded tooth and nail to get to where they are now and used the lessons they’ve learned along to way to shape their success. They’ve become titans and want everyday people to see that challenges in life shouldn’t scare us, they should entice us to push past our limits and become stronger as individuals.

“We’ve found extraordinary athletes with great stories behind them, because titans aren’t born, they’re made.”

Oftentimes, defying physical challenges can aid in building mental and emotional strength. DJ himself has been pretty open about the hard times he faced throughout his career from being a football player at the University of Miami to getting rejected from the NFL and cut from the CFL.

In the midst of his career highs and lows, the one thing that has remained constant has been athletics. That constant discipline and work ethic in the gym, on the field, and hell even in the ring, has transcended to other areas of his life.

“When I was an athlete, I feel like sports really helped me through the best of times, the worst of times, got me off the streets when I was getting arrested, got me through depression.”

The Titan Games takes off on NBC on January 3, 2019 and for sure will be the waviest competition on TV. We’ll def be tuning in and hitting the kettlebells to apply for this year’s games.