Recently Instagram exploded with some content creators rallying against Elite Sports with the hashtag #banElite Sports. Influential and well-respected Instagram profiles like @bjj.wiki, @jits_bitch, @matador_bjj, @horseplayjiujitsu, @studentsofbjj and @mcdojolife are accusing Elite Sports of engaging in dishonest business practices.
These events came just as we were putting the final touches on our review about two of their products that they sent us for FREE.
At this time, we don’t have any major issues with Elite Sports and while they might not be the most professional brand we’ve worked with, they’ve followed their agreements with us. This is why we will follow our agreement with them and publish our HONEST review about their products.
However, we want to first shed light on the issue at hand as well as offer our experience working with the company.
What happened and how #banEliteSports came to pass
It all began when Elite Sports contacted some Instagram profiles offering promotional giveaways. (Note: They did not contact the @jiu_jitsu_legacy Instagram)
The problems began once the various accounts selected the winners for the promotion. Elite Sports rejected their selections, demanding that the winners have 1000+ followers (or 750, or 1,500 depending on with whom Elite Sports was messaging!) otherwise they wouldn’t send them the promised prizes. This condition wasn’t mentioned in their initial agreement with the various IG profiles, leaving many of them to cover the cost of the promised prizes from their own pockets.
There has been no official statement from Elite Sports’ representatives so we don’t yet know the whole story behind this PR disaster. However, at Jiu Jitsu Legacy we think that changing the rules after the fact and demanding that the winners be selected for the number of their followers is unacceptable. We support the Instagram community’s outrage and believe that giveaways must be conducted fairly and transparently.
Our relationship with Elite Sports
Like most blogs, we need to earn some money to be able to work and live from our passion – Jiu Jitsu. This is why we participate in various affiliate programs, which means when someone clicks a link and buys the product we might receive a commission. However, as people living and breathing BJJ, we only recommend products that we believe in and we are always taking time and efforts to research these products.
Note: Using affiliate links does not make these products more expensive for you! The prices you see when clicking through are the same as if you visited these sites directly.
We became part of the Elite Sports affiliate program at the end of 2019 and since that time we were contacted a few times by different affiliate managers. Elite Sports are using one of the biggest affiliate management platforms and so far we have been paid once through the platform. We are currently owed some commissions which we will be paid (as per our affiliate agreement) when we reach an agreed upon number of commissions.
In terms of professionalism, Elite Sports aren’t the worst affiliate we worked with, at least they were trying. For a year and a half, we were sent several proposals for free products. However, many times after replying to these proposals we failed to receive a follow-up. Our guessing is that either they are contacting too many creators or they have issues with the staff.
The last message was sent to us in October 2020 when we arranged for a free product to be sent to one of our writers, Jeremy, who is a brown belt and active competitor. We agreed that he would test their products and write an honest review about his experience. After we sent his size and address they didn’t respond, then we followed up after 1 month and still didn’t get the response!
In February 2021 we contacted them again through the Affiliate platform asking about the promised products. This time the reply came fast and the promised products were sent immediately. The review that follows is of these products, and was written prior to the recent Instagram fiasco.
Our review and the opinions about the products below are solely concerning the products, and not Elite Sports’ business practices or their relationship with other content creators. Jeremy received the products for free, but this review is an honest assessment of his experience with them. We are still a member of Elite Sports’ affiliate program and may receive commissions from products purchased when using the links included here and on our site.
Elite Sports Ultra Light BJJ Gi Review
Elite provides a wide array of martial arts equipment. Elite has positioned its brand as one that offers quality equipment at reasonable prices.
Between tournaments, gym fees, and new gear, Jiu Jitsu can become an expensive hobby, so it’s a welcome relief that Elite provides all the essentials at a low cost.
For a gi that is priced well below 100 dollars, you might expect a generic, solid-colored garb that is constructed from the bare minimum of materials. However, in the case of Elite’s Ultra Light Preshrunk BJJ gi, Elite Sports’ standard offering, you can expect much more.
Although the gi is available in 9 color schemes, I chose the standard white gi, which still boasts a sleek, eye catching design. The black trim and lettering on the gi jacket and pants help the white gi to stand out without appearing garish.
What I find to be most pleasant about this particular gi’s design is the contrasting rope drawstring on the pants. While this design isn’t unique to Elite, the tonal contrast and functionality for intense rolls adds to this gi’s appeal.
Aside from the look of the gi, Elite has taken care to make sure it meets many tournament standards. Elite boasts that its gis are IBJJF approved, provided you purchase the correct size and color.
Elite in action
Looking the part is great, but unless the gi holds up under pressure, it is not worth your time. Fortunately, this gi passed that test. The gi itself is 60 percent cotton, which goes a long way in helping you feel some sense of comfort as you are assailed by your opponents.
I was able to bypass that “breaking in” process when buying a new gi, that often makes it feel like sandpaper against your skin. While the outer layer of the jacket has a raised texture which inherently makes it more abrasive, the inside of the jacket is much smoother on the skin.
Even though the pants are extremely lightweight, as advertised, the durable ripstop material is another addition that braces the gi against undue wear and tear.
Elite’s gis are even treated with antimicrobial and anti-odor processes to keep the gi fresher longer. Those scientific claims in athletic clothing always feel like a marketing ploy to make a product sound more cutting edge. However, after leaving the gi soaked in sweat after several intense training sessions (washing it between sessions, because I’m not a heathen!), the Elite gi seems to live up to its odor-resistant promise.
The fit of the gi
Any discussion of whether the gi is good or bad is a nonstarter if it doesn’t fit your body right. I am 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weigh 205 pounds (180 cm / 93 kg). I am a big guy. Buying clothing, especially for Jiu Jitsu, can sometimes be tricky.
In the case of gi purchasing, often you have to choose between gi that is better for your height versus one that accommodates your width. For me, rarely do those measurements intersect properly.
I ordered a size A3L, as my typical A3 size was out of stock. Elite does its best to group together like body types in their sizing charts, at the upper end of the scale the sizes seem to skew toward the much bigger measurements.
For example, the A3L I ordered is listed for those with a height of 6’2” to 6’4” and a weight of 170 to 200 pounds. However, even at 205 pounds, the gi still fit as if it was meant for a much larger, in this case wider, person. I felt like a kid wearing his dad’s gi.
I’d hoped the “preshrunk” claim was just a marketing line, so I could run the gi through a high heat laundry cycle to shrink it to a more appropriate size. Fortunately for me, I was able to shrink the gi slightly. Although it was still a bit long on me, the fit was much more appropriate overall.
That said, my efforts disproved Elite’s preshrunk claims. While it may not have shrunk drastically, be aware that shrinkage is still possible if you do not follow proper laundering instructions. Obviously, this is only a problem if your gi fits perfectly upon delivery.
Gi Review Summary
Elite has crafted a competent and (more than) fairly priced piece of equipment with their Ultra Light Preshrunk BJJ gi.
Fortunately, there is no need to choose style or substance, as this gi happens to have both to a degree. However, you will want to be cautious in your sizing when purchasing.
While this is important in all online clothes shopping, remember that a gis functionality is often directly related to how well it fits. Be aware that although shrink is reduced, preshrunk does not mean “will not shrink more,” so launder accordingly.
Despite some minor flaws, this Elite gi still manages to be an affordable and hopefully long-lasting piece of equipment for any Jiu Jitsu player.
Elite Sports Standard Long Sleeve Rash Guard Review
Thanks to the success of no gi BJJ athletes such as Gordon Ryan, a new focus has been placed on no gi BJJ training.
While no gi simply means wearing anything other than a gi to train in (a t-shirt and basketball shorts would be considered no gi), it is generally understood that the proper attire includes a rash guard and a pair of MMA or Vale Tudo shorts.
The idea of the Jiu Jitsu uniform has evolved for no gi. Many grapplers opt for colorful, heroic, or meme style designs for their rash guards and MMA shorts to showcase their own personalities.
Much like with its gi selection, Elite’s rash guards stick to an understated and sleek design for all of its tops. They offer ranked rash guards as well as several neutral color designs.
All designs and logos on the rash guard are sublimated, meaning that the colors are a part of the material, and not just applied post production. This means that even after multiple washes the designs should look just as fresh as when you got the rash guard in the mail.
The long sleeve version I received has a two tone color scheme which is black with gray accents, including the sleeves and chest logo. This particular two tone design casts the sleeves in a dark gray that is great for highlighting arm musculature.
Although that might seem like a silly thing to note, it does create a flattering look if you happen to be photographed in your next tournament!
Tight where its right
Speaking of flattering, sometimes rash guards can be the exact opposite if you aren’t sporting six-pack abs. While that is more of a personal issue, Elite’s rash guards don’t hug your waist as tightly as a typical rash guard would.
In fact, the rash guard has an elastic band that encircles its bottom designed to essentially hold the bottom against your hips or just below your stomach. This is a welcome addition.
For me, I feel that half of my intense no gi rolls are spent pulling my rash guard back down after it rides up, exposing my stomach or lower back. This rash guard avoided that fate, and the elastic band helped it feel more secure and ultimately more flattering.
Elite’s long sleeve rash guard is fairly true to size, or as true as a garment that is designed to be skin tight can be. Your ideal fit may come down to preference.
If you like a traditional rash guard fit, snug against your body, then Elite’s size chart is reliable. If you like some room between you and the rash guard, or are unsure of how your body type will fare, going one size up is a safe bet.
Rashguard Review Summary
Elite has created a sleek and very affordable rash guard that is a great first time buy for beginners in BJJ. Elite’s minimal design may turn off those who are seeking more flamboyant rash guards, but there are plenty of color and style varieties available.
This rash guard creates a flattering look that will help you feel more confident in your gear. The size chart, at least for the rash guards, is reliable and will help you get a good fit.
Final thoughts on Elite Sports
There is no doubt that Elite Sports was dishonest with their recent Instagram Giveaways and the Jiu Jitsu community is small enough that this sort of behavior has consequences! On the other hand, Elite Sports products offer a good balance between price and quality.
Every story has two sides and the big question that remains to be answered is how the Elite Sports will respond and what their official statement will be. If we receive a statement from Elite Sports we will update this article to reflect that.