The Man That Was ‘Mask’
Charles “Mask” Lewis Jr. had all the faith in the world.
It takes nothing less to be the first of your kind, to see opportunity and potential in places where others simply do not. It takes even more to act upon that vision, to put yourself out on a limb in the face of ridicule and failure.
Lewis had faith in the sport of mixed martial arts. Through his Tapout clothing line, he championed it without a hint of hesitation to every stranger, friend, and foe alike.
Charles Lewis was one of the good guys. And that’s why his death in a horrific car crash during the early morning hours of March 11 hit the fight community so hard.
As is the case with those we cherish most, Lewis was gone too suddenly. He was on his way home from the gym with his girlfriend Lacey at 1 a.m., the only time he could fit working out into a hectic schedule. Lewis took pride in his deceiving physique, and many questioned he was really 45 years old, even after officials confirmed it.
That night, Lewis and Lacey had decided to drive by a condominium apartment they had been looking into purchasing over the next few days. It is believed Lewis’ fire-engine red Ferrari occupied the middle lane when Jeffery Kirby and his companion came up along the left side in a white 1977 Porsche. At the scene, black skid marks snake up onto the median’s curb right as the road bends slightly, then drag for 500 or more feet across the three lanes. They indicate Kirby’s car bounced off the road’s island divider before t-boning into Lewis’ vehicle’s backend, sending the Ferrari into a 180-degree spin. The car traveled backwards before the driver’s side wailed directly into a cement light pole, slicing it into two parts.
It was the first time in a few months that Lewis had had the opportunity to enjoy the luxury ride he’d purchased over a year ago. The car had slept at a friend’s showroom until Lewis had been asked to bring it to a photo shoot that day for Dub magazine. High speeds didn’t seem unfathomable under the circumstances, though friends said they couldn’t see Lewis engaging in a dangerous street race for superiority. Lewis didn’t know Kirby, nor was Lewis believed to be drinking at the time. Lewis never touched alcohol, as many will attest, including his best friend and business partner Dan “Punk Ass” Caldwell.
Lewis and Caldwell met in 1992 as sheriffs for San Bernardino County in southern Calif. Both trained in boxing and kickboxing, but soon found a mutual love in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and the early UFC events.
The name Tapout was born from the license plate on Lewis’ car. It was a way for Lewis to demonstrate his unadulterated love for the art and he displayed it around town like his badge of honor.
“Especially then, when you would ride down the freeway with ‘Tapout’ on your license plate, people would come up to you and look inside and give you a thumb’s up. That’s how you knew another jiu-jitsu guy,” said Caldwell.
When a license plate wasn’t enough, Lewis went to Caldwell with an idea for a T-shirt
New Interview With WEC VP Peter Dropick
With WEC 40 right around the corner, Ariel Helwani of Versus.com recently interviewed WEC VP Peter Dropick on a variety of WEC-related topics, which notably include PPV plans for June likely back on with the Urijah Faber-Mike Thomas Brown rematch for the WEC Featherweight Title likely to headline the event.
NSAC To Take Tougher Stance On Future Positive Drug Tests
The fallout from the Karo Parisyan drug test hearing yesterday continues. A new motion presented and unanimously approved by the NSAC will result in a fighter forfeiting his entire win bonus from a fight should he then have a positive post-fight drug test. Had this been in place before Parisyan's fine yesterday, the fighter could've been fined up to $52,000 including forfeiting his $40K UFC 94 win bonus.
Penn's mother urges NSAC to punish St. Pierre "to fullest extent of authority"
At Tuesday's Nevada State Athletic Commission review of the bout, yet another unique story was brought to "Greasegate."
Lorraine Shin, the mother of UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn, addressed the commission and charged them with failing to properly protect her son in the course of the Jan. 31 contest.
The contents of Shin's address to the NSAC are included below:
"My name is Lorraine Shin, and I am the mother of Jay Dee Penn, also known as B.J. Penn. I have been involved in the MMA arena as a producer for years.
"I have and continue to support my four sons who have earned their black belt status in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I have also had the opportunity of attending many Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments as well as MMA fight events in Hawaii, Guam, Japan, England and the U.S. Mainland. I am no stranger to the MMA fight world.
"During the past 12 years my sons operate and are instructors in the Penn Fitness and Training Center in Hawaii, which I have been very instrumental in its daily operations. My son, Jay Dee Penn, has also produced MMA events under the name of Rumble on the Rock in Hawaii and Guam, and later merged with EliteXC. As the financial adviser for the family, it was imperative for me to understand the rules and regulations governing MMA events.
"On Jan. 31, 2009, I was present at the UFC 94 event held at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The fighters in the main event were B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title.
"I was sitting in the front row, near the entrance to the octagon cage, and clearly understood the seriousness of this fight that had been successfully marketed on prime time television.
I don't know if this has been posted already, sorry if it has.
Shogun training with Demian Maia for Liddell
Demian Maia submitted all five opponents he faced in the UFC, and now is helping Maurício “Shogun” Rua in his trainings for his next fight, against the former champion Chuck Liddell. Opening the doors of his gym in São Paulo for the Pride GP champion, Demian commented Ru’s training and is confident in another Brazilian victory in the octagon
Rookie promotion Shine Fights features UFC vets during May 9 debut in Ohio
After watching the sport of mixed martial arts explode, seeing his brother excel on "The Ultimate Fighter 6," and feeling the need for an organization that puts good matchmaking before record padding, MMA fan Devin Price launched Shine Fights.
The rookie organization will make its debut on May 9 with a fight card headlined and co-headlined by former UFC vets Roan Carneiro vs. Ron Jhun and Antwain Britt vs. Antonio Mendes.
The event takes place May 9 at the Celeste Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Breaking-Parisyan Suspended 9 Months, Fined $32K
The NSAC today has suspended Karo Parisyan 9 months and fined him $32,000 for a positive drug test arising from his fight with Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 94. The fine is 40% of his total purse from the fight. Additionally, the fight result is changed from a split decision win to No Contest and Karo must submit to random drug testing.
UFC: Junie transformed from 'The Lunatic' to 'The Buddhist' Browning
Any journalist worth his salt writes Junie Browning off at his own demise. The writer's demise, that is. Just put the phone down to the 23-year-old UFC 'tearaway', media-styled bad boy of the last TUF series, and Browning puts stories on a plate for you. It's what every decent writer should be looking for. Fine, the odd sentence he comes out with is utter madness, but the guy has opinions, and he LISTENS. In fact, he's a great listener.
Strikeforce All But Finalizes April Card
With the announcement of what will be the 6 prelim fights today, Strikeforce has now virtually finalized it's April 11 card. Raul Castillo vs. Brandon Michaels completes the prelim portion of the card, and now the only thing left to be determined is an opponent for Brett Rogers with Joe Riggs vs. Phil Baroni likely not happening.
Rosi Sexton To Bellator FC
It now appears that Bellator Fighting Championshps will also feature some women's fights in addition to it's scheduled tournaments. The promotion has signed Cage Warriors Female World Champion Rosi Sexton to a 4-fight contract. Sexton will debut April 3 against Jessica Aguilar in a fight at 120 pounds, and the fight may air the following day on ESPN Deportes.
Dean Lister Invited To ADCC, Wants Fedor
Not in MMA though, but in combat grappling. Former UFC Middleweight Dean Lister, released by UFC earlier upon request, has been invited to compete in the Abu Dhabi grappling tournament once again this year. Lister won the tournament in 2003. He's also considering moving up to the weight class that Fedor Emelianenko, also expected to participate this year, will be competing in for a potential match against the MMA Heavyweight king.
Thiago Tavares Vs Melvin Guillard @ UFC 101
With UFC 101 still several months away the promotion has already started to put together some of the match-ups on the card. On Monday, MMAWeekly.com confirmed that a lightweight bout between Thiago Tavares and Melvin Guillard would be added to the show.
The bout was confirmed by sources close to the fight who indicated the fight has been agreed to on the date of Aug 8 with bout agreements to follow shortly.
Why Catch Weight? Dana Explains Franklin-Silva
The UFC 99 main event of Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva is scheduled to be contested at a catchweight of 195 instead of at Middleweight, which Silva is dropping to, or Light Heavyweight, which Franklin now fights at. In explaining the reasons why, Dana White says he "met Rich in the middle".
Forrest Griffin returns to face Thiago Silva at UFC 101 in August
A light heavyweight contest between two fighters looking to rebound from high-profile losses has been added to the as-yet-unannounced UFC 101 card.
Former UFC champion Forrest Griffin (16-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) will face Brazilian slugger Thiago Silva (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC).
MMAjunkie.com (www,mmajunkie.com) today learned from sources close to the bout that the two fighters have verbally agreed to the contest and that bout agreements are scheduled to be signed over the next several days.
Those sources also indicated that UFC 101 is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 8 in Portland, Ore.