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PPE in the Ring: How O2 Industries Partnered With UFC

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Many industries are looking at a very changed and continually shifting landscape as they continue to navigate the impact of the coronavirus. In the sports world, many leagues and athletes have had to implement new protocols, and sports retailers have had to pivot to stay in the game, innovating in ways relating to personal protective equipment or PPE for athletes.

As investors try and assess who has the edge and who will successfully, outmaneuver the competition, some experts weighed in at a recent webinar on PPE at TheStreet, with O2 Industries' CEO, Peter Whitby, chief medical officer Dr. Peter Maric, and TheStreet's Katherine Ross.

O2 industries, a leading manufacturer of reusable respirators, is an example of a company at the forefront of forging new opportunities between manufacturers of PPE and sports leagues. This fall UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and O2 Industries, announced a multi-year global partnership in which O2 Industries will provide UFC athletes with respiratory products for every UFC event.

“We've just signed a partnership deal with the UFC, which was one of the first sports organizations to open up in terms of trying to get athletes back,” Whitby said. “And so we're now in collaboration with them to exactly do that, trying to find appropriate respirators and masks for their athletes.”

Whitby went on to explain that O2 Industries was able to help an entire sports league that might otherwise be sidelined indefinitely during the pandemic, to get back in the ring. “MMA is hand-to-hand combat and these athletes are some of the toughest on earth and they really can't go to the gym right now…they can't train, they can't work together, and essentially, that's a major issue. So we're working with them to provide them with protection when they're traveling. And then we're also collaborating with them to engineer a new respirator that would help them get back to the gym," Whitby said. 

For More on PPE and MMA, visit

Other sports related companies are also finding new opportunities in this new reality of COVID-19 . Under Armor  (UAA) - Get Under Armour, Inc. Class A Report, which had been losing market share in North America prior to the pandemic now says the company may get a lift as more customers focus on health and wellness at home. Dicks’s Sporting Goods  (DKS) - Get Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. Report, Under Armour’s biggest wholesale partner has also indicated that they might see a boost as well.

In addition to a focus on wellness, these companies have been able to capitalize on a new line of revenue through retailing PPE masks to customers. “Right now, you saw both Nike  (NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. Class B Report and Under Armour release their own line of sports masks,” The Street’s Katherine Ross explained during the webinar. “And when you're looking at the broad range of items that they sell, that could be considered a win right then and there, because you're offering people something that they need while also, for example, I can hop on Nike's website. I can get that new yoga outfit that I wanted and the mask to pair with it, so I can go safely exercise outside. “

Ross added that what these companies have and what investors should look out for when assessing investing in the retailers of PPE, is diversification.

“3M  (MMM) - Get 3M Company Report, which is an obvious one that we've been talking about..because of the N95 and KN95 masks, and of course, Honeywell. You’re going to want to look for companies that are not solely invested in PPE production, just because this industry may not be there five to 10 years down the line, but you're going to want to look at companies that have focused on this industry while also offering a wide variety of different items.”

Agility, innovation and diversity of product, just might be one winning combination that allows these and other companies to emerge victorious from this uncertain time of COVID-19.

For more on the ever-changing world of PPE, visit O2 Industries or watchTheStreet's FREE webinar: PPE and Your Portfolio: Inside a Disruptive IndustryO2 Industries was the sponsor.

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