In the Spotlight: Clothing line goes big

Glendale-based Cage Alliance owner and founder Jerry Hanessian, 34, has always had a passion for mixed martial arts and bodybuilding, and that has served him well when starting his workout apparel business.

Sitting in the lobby of Crescenta Valley World Gym in Tujunga, one of the gyms where his apparel is sold, Hanessian said he wanted to expand to apparel that appeals to mixed martial artists and bodybuilders.

A bodybuilder, mixed-martial-arts fighter and former personal trainer, Hanessian said most clothing companies offer workout gear for only a medium or athletic type of body — the body type of most professional fighters. Professional bodybuilders, on the other hand, may have a more difficult time finding workout gear that will fit them comfortably.

"Do other companies have shirts to fit a 320-pound bodybuilder?" Hanessian asked. "Not a lot. We do."

"Two worlds collide" — those of martial arts and bodybuilding — is how Hanessian describes his line. Cage Alliance also sells cage hoodies and shorts. For women, tees and tanks are available, each emblazoned with similar designs. Cage Alliance offers sizes from triple to quadruple extra large, and the apparel can be worn in or out of the gym.

"My gear, my clothing, is representing those two sports," Hanessian said. "All of my designs that are put together, whether it's by me or by my designers, have something that has to do with both of those sports."

Mixed martial arts has exploded in popularity recently, especially with the legalization of the sport in California and the airing of mixed martial arts shows such as "UFC" on Spike TV and pay-per-view, Hanessian said.

"It's done very well, because so many people here are into that, into the mixed martial arts," said Crescenta Valley World Gym manager Steve Cuevas. "A lot of his stuff is very 'today.' He's bringing in new pieces, keeping things fresh."

In business for a little under a year, Hanessian's cage tee designs sport medieval crosses across the front. In the background, a pair of angel's wings go across the chest. Other designs feature coats of arms, usually with an inspirational message across the front, or other designs that promote a sense of strength, honor and belief, he said.

Cage Alliance apparel is sold at 14 locations throughout Los Angeles, including Main Event Sports Club in Glendale, a fighting club, and Cafe O in Burbank, a hookah club that recently agreed to carry Hanessian's apparel.

"People wear Jerry's stuff because they like it," said Main Event Sports Club owner Roma Kalantaryan. "He should do it for all kinds of sports, boxing, kickboxing, MMA fighters, bodybuilders, wrestlers — might as well be for everything."

Hanessian is looking to expand his clothing line to major department stores. Due to those ongoing negotiations, Hanessian declined to specify which stores he would be tapping into.

"With his apparel and his clientele, it kind of goes together," said Joe George, owner of Cafe O. "It will benefit him and it will benefit me. Maybe people will come to my place that have never come to my place."

To check out Hanessian's line of clothing, visit

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