The Ifight clothing brand is unlike your typical mma brand. Their motto ’Believe in your fight’ is a message that they strongly stand behind and it is something that will and does separate them from every other brand out there and it is a belief that people can relate to and stand behind it all aspects of life, not just mma. One of the strong supporters of the brand and their message is Danette Pahl. She is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Ifight brand. I was able to catch up with her to get her thoughts on iFight, the message the brand delivers and where she sees mma and the brand going moving forward:
Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself:
DP: I was born and raised in Illinois. I grew up in Libertyville, which is a town northwest of the City of Chicago. As a child I played soccer, softball and swam competitively. I played soccer in high school for four years. I was the starting goalie at the University of Illinois my Freshman and Sophomore years of college. However, surgery to repair a knee injury I sustained when I was 16 ended my soccer career when I was 20. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school and earned a Master’s Degree and Law Degree in 3 1/2 years, one year sooner than normal for the dual programs. This was challenging because I have both dyslexia and ADD. I’m bilingual in Spanish and have lived in Tucson since May of 1997. I was sworn into the Wisconsin Bar by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, William H. Rehnquist, during a private ceremony in February of 1998. I was sworn into the Arizona Bar in May of 1998 and have practiced primarily in Arizona ever since. Prior to establishing my own firm, I was the only female named partner at a medium sized law firm in Tucson. I made partner in 14 months, which is rare. I started my own firm in January of 2008.
How does the Ifight brand connect with you:
DP: I have overcome a lot. There is a history of breast cancer in my family. Both my mother and maternal grandmother are breast cancer survivors. I have a niece with Asperger syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder. There is a history of bipolar disorder, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes in my family. Every family and every person faces adversity. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can’t escape difficult times. Even those individuals fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families or to inherit wealth still have struggles they have to fight to overcome in their daily lives. Everyone can relate to Ifight because it has a universal message. This is not just relevant to MMA athletes. “Believe in your fight” applies to all of the things that we as individuals have to overcome. Life is a challenge, there is nothing easy about it.
What is your role in the company:
DP: I am the Executive Vice President and General Counsel. I will be involved and provide advice to Mr. Stark as the company continues to grow. My job will also include a lot of public interaction, marketing, and product development. There are numerous departments within iFight. I will be assisting the iFight founder in helping our company not only meet, but exceed its goals. There is so much potential with this company. I am honored to be included in making the decisions that will chart the future direction of this company. We really want to make an impact on a individual, national, and global scale. One example of this is we intend to form an anti-bullying, non-profit 501(C)(3) charity. There are so many children, and adults for that matter, who are bullied and do not feel as though they have a voice. Many athletes turn to sports to deal with adversity growing up. At iFight, we are not going to focus on any one sport to the exclusion of others. We intend to market to every field of athletics you can imagine I know about sports and understand the rules, goals and objective in addition to what it takes to be an athlete. I was one. At 42, I still work out three times a week with a personal trainer, in addition to making sure my own children are involved in sports.
What does it mean to you to be associated with Ifight:
DP: Believing in my fight has been something of a mantra in my life. I am the oldest of 5 children and grew up in a 3 bedroom, 1200 square foot home. My parents instilled in me a desire to do well in school, and the belief that I could balance both sports and academics. Ifight encourages people to go after their dreams and that they can achieve anything that they set their mind to. Believe in your fight. Take Veronica Rothenhausler for example, she believed in her fight and she has 2 K.O. victories in a row that took a total of 10 seconds. She is working two jobs to support herself and still spends hours in the gym training so that she can achieve her goal of being a professional athlete. Her sport, MMA, is not even recognized as one of the top professional sports for women. Women do not make anywhere near the same incomes as men in any professional sports, but many are still able to follow their dreams and make a living doing it. Veronica is pursuing her dream as a female MMA fighter and we at Ifight are trying to help her achieve her goal of making a living doing what she loves to do.
What message is Ifight trying to deliver with the ‘Believe in your fight’ motto:
DP: Every person has a fight, and it doesn’t have to relate to a sport. There are many women in domestic violence situations that need to get out. For many years I have said, “you have to see it and believe it to achieve it.” I tell this to my clients who are going through transitions in their lives and uncertain what to do next. I encourage them to set goals and believe that they can achieve them. I encourage them to believe in themselves – in their personal fight. This is why our motto really resonated with me. I will admit, I was not familiar with MMA when I met Mr. Stark. However, not knowing the rules did not preclude me from understanding what the athletes were going through in the cage. When each of them steps into the cage, they have to believe that they can win or that they at least have a shot at winning. It is the same for any athlete, or the research scientist who is looking for a cure for cancer, or the doctor searching for another treatment approach to help their sick patient. It applies universally to everybody and this is something that other brands do not have. Our message is universal and resonates with every person because we all have a fight.
What do you think about their now being an all female fight league:
DP: There hasn’t been an MMA league where women can go and earn a living until recently. Women have overcome so much as athletes and have had to prove that they deserve to be paid to showcase their talents just like men are. The fact of the matter is that women can now make a living playing a professional sport, and this is an amazing progress. That opens up a lot of doors for marketing and public relations. It requires a lot of grit and determination to be successful as a female athlete. It is a lot harder for women to climb that hill than it is for men. They deserve the same level of respect. To showcase the women and their athletic talents and provide an opportunity for them to earn a living at it is wonderful. Just like with our fighter, Veronica Rothenhausler. We are going to do everything we can to help her become successful and we would love to see her become a household name.
Thank you for the time, is their anything you would like to mention in closing:
DP: I didn’t prep for this interview. This is just who I am. I am pretty down to earth. I work really hard, I put in an average of 50-60 hrs a week into my business. I also have a very loving and supportive husband who understands me and my goals. I believe family and family support is very important, and that support alone could be some peoples fight! I am just very thankful it is not mine. I would also like to take a second and thank you DJ, we appreciate the exposure. I know you are very busy with all the things that you have going on, and you taking the time to talk with us really means a lot.
For more information on Dannette and the iFight brand please visit www.ifightsite.com