A series of tshirt designs for a local fighter and community hero.
Dexter Brothers aka ‘Dex’ is an MMA fighter, father, friend, wrestling coach, mentor, role model, and local hero. It is my honor to be his t-shirt designer for every mixed martial fight he headlines. The t-shirt examples shown are from the Dexter Brothers Signature Series. Dex’s current record is 12 wins and 5 losses at 5′ 11′, 185lb weight class. All of the shown t-shirts were for his headline matches for an MMA fight promotion called HOOKnSHOOT held at the Evansville Coliseum.
Before there was a UFC, a Strikeforce, an EliteXC, or Bodog—there was HOOKnSHOOT—pioneered by Jeff Osborne. The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) debuted in late-October of 1993. In 1995, Jeff held the first HOOKnSHOOT event in a local gym—where he wanted to fight too. It’s not that well-known but pro wrestling was a huge contributor to the rise of MMA. A ‘hook’ used in pro wrestling is a submission move; while a ‘shoot’ is used in a real wrestling match. So HOOKnSHOOT refers to the combination of a real match with real submissions. Many household-name fighters first fought/pro-debuted at HOOKnSHOOT: Little Nog, Dave Menne, Frank Mir, Chris Lytle, Jeremy Horn, Travis Lutter, Ian Freeman, Ivan Salaverry to name a few.
Dexter Brothers belongs to this legacy. I wanted his signature shirts to reflect the rich but short history of MMA graphics—giving a graphic nod to pro wrestling and real wrestling. Proudly, every print run of the shirts sold out being supported by such a wonderful community of local MMA fans.
Notably, when I started an edgy t-shirt brand called Evolution Stops Here, I set up my first vending booth at HOOKnSHOOT because it aligned with my values. It was the first to promote women’s MMA including all-female tournaments. “I think Jeff Osborne is the reason women’s MMA exists in America,” says Julie Kedzie, a former HOOKnSHOOT champion, current executive of the all-female Invicta FC, and one of the early winners of Osborne’s legendary women’s tournaments. “There could have been this fight and that fight before HOOKnSHOOT, but I know that’s what kept it going. He was the one giving women a home and a place to fight. He’s the reason that there is female MMA in America. Of course, things have progressed and I’m biased towards Invicta being the home for women always, but I don’t think there would be an Invicta if there wasn’t a Jeff Osborne. I don’t think there would be women in Strikeforce if it wasn’t for Jeff Osborne, and thus women in the UFC. Because there had to be a launching point. Granted it’s not the first generation of women out there fighting now, but they built off of the people below them. Every generation is kind of like a layer, and he was the one who allowed for it to flourish in the way that it did.” (mmafighting.com)
Entering into the 2020s MMA has changed, no longer can local mix martial arts events compete with the weekly fights of the UFC. Jeff has closed HnS to focus on his arcade bars, but Indiana still has local MMA promotions. Dex continues to do grappling tournaments and is preparing to come out of retirement for his next MMA fight. I’m very grateful to be a part of this unique bit of sports history.