WASHINGTON, D.C. — Citing concerns over operational security, the Department of Defense has implemented a policy prohibiting all military personnel from wearing Tapout clothing, including t-shirts, hats, and accessories, when out of uniform.
The new policy went into effect Thursday on the recommendation of a council led by Dr. James Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
"Even though Tapout gear is incredibly tacky, that's not what this is about," Miller said in a press conference. "Admittedly, as a mixed martial arts enthusiast, I take personal issue with fat soldiers walking around with 'Tapout' on their chest, when they can't skip rope for five minutes, let alone step in a locked cage against a trained fighter. And to me, whether you're fat or fit, if you don't know the difference between an omoplata and a gogoplata, then you just look like a jerk in a Tapout shirt. But at the end of the day, we're primarily looking at our troops' safety."
Miller stressed that the ban stems from concerns about Tapout gear and operational security, or OPSEC. According to a DoD press release, OPSEC is defined as “seemingly harmless information that adversaries can use to develop intelligence against our forces.”
Miller said that officials were concerned that Tapout clothing “could give the enemy a big-picture idea of how many military personnel are in an area, where they go in their off time, and what kind of asinine garbage they spend on their money on. Basically, if I go to a movie theater and see a bunch of Tapout shirts, I know two things: one, there must be a base nearby, and two, with all these posers around, I'm probably the best fighter there, pound for pound.”
Miller said that a defense working group was sent to San Diego, California, Fayetteville, North Carolina, Jacksonville, North Carolina, and San Antonio, Texas to observe people in Tapout gear. The group went to shopping centers, bars, and Dave & Busters, and asked people wearing Tapout clothing whether they were in the military. The working group’s data indicates that 1 percent of the people interviewed were civilian mixed martial artists, 15 percent were local douchebags, and 84 percent were active duty military.
“84 percent is a big deal,” Miller said. “Even though this wasn’t a formal study, we can’t sit by and do nothing. Not too long ago, I went to a mall outside of Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a Friday night and thought I was in the middle of a UFC Fan Expo. And I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that not one of those guys could throw a switch kick, or counter a basic double leg, or maintain an appropriate range against a fighter with a reach advantage. Also, don't forget the OPSEC."
Many military personnel are not pleased. Spc. Frank Alvarado, who is assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, said, “This is bullshit. I wear Tapout because it’s an expression of who I am. I’m a soldier, but I also train UFC.”
Miller said that the working group will be sent out to identify other possible OPSEC concerns, such as skin-tight Under Armour workout shirts worn at bars and restaurants, high-and-tight haircuts, and civilian wives so overweight they make the passenger side of the couple's Honda Civic dip when they get in.