By Jorge L. Valens, Sun Sentinel

Ultimate Fighting heavyweight champ Frank Mir could buy the shorts his company sells from anyone. He chose MMA Textiles in Lantana. “MMA Textiles actually uses vets to make the goods,” Mir wrote in e-mail. “That really is a great boost for our country.” Mir’s Suffer Apparel sells only items made in the United States, making MMA Textiles a perfect supplier.

David Pate, owner of MMA Textiles, counts on customers who are willing to pay just a bit more to buy mixed martial arts fighting apparel that is made by American hands. Products with “Made in the USA” labels dot store shelves. Some manufacturers hope their employment of people in the United States will be a sales advantage.

One Delray Beach company wants to cash in on that selling point by verifying, with an official seal, that products meet the Federal Trade Commission standards for “Made in the USA.” Pate started his company in 2005, importing products from overseas manufacturers like his competitors. In 2009, the company shifted to making its products in Lantana, he said. The company employs seven people, all U.S. military veterans. “We are making American stuff that is still competitive [in price],” Pate said. Pate said the retail price of his shorts is $25, compared with $40 or more for shorts made overseas.

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