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Roma Pawelek looks to help Nike tap into MMA market

During the Feb. 3 episode of ProWMMA Now!, hard-hitting Oregon fighter Roma Pawelek told show host Gina Begley that she recently met with Nike officials in an attempt to convince the company to design, develop and distribute apparel for mixed martial arts fighters.

"I went to Nike on Friday and the connection was one of my dad's friends is a big-time corporate lawyer in the Portland area and he happens to know the CFO of Nike," Pawelek said at the 39-minute mark of the show. "So I was talking to him about careers and I just told him 'Look I really don't want to be a lawyer. Can you please help me with anything that's not law-related?

"So he kind of brain-stormed for me and called me back and said 'Have you ever thought of trying to convince Nike to try to take on MMA? I think that would be a great fit for you.'"

Pawelek's friend then talked to a Nike official who handles the company's marketing efforts, and set up a meeting for her.

"So I went up and had lunch with him on Friday, kind of gave him my whole spiel about how I think MMA is a rising sport and there's a whole lot of demand for gear that's not TapOut gear, something that's a little bit nicer," Pawelek said.

"And the general jist I got was that they aren't interested, unfortunately. At least not right now. They would rather invest more in football than try to invest in MMA. I think part of that is some of the discussion they've been having with the UFC just isn't going super well. So it was a little bit unfortunate, but I guess I could always intern with them."

Nike currently sponsors UFC fighters Jon "Bones" Jones, Anderson Silva and Junior dos Santos, but the athletic apparel giant could get more involved in MMA by developing apparel specifically designed for combat sports athletes.

At present time, Nike's involvement with MMA revolves around signature t-shirts featuring phrases such as "Bones Knows" and "Anderson Knows," in honor of UFC stars.

Those shirts are designed more for the fans and not specifically for athletes to wear during training.

Should Nike tap into the MMA market by developing a clothing line for MMA fighters to wear during training, or would that be a massive mistake? Let us know in the comments or tweet the author, @EricHolden.

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