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 Wanderlei Interview, talks about his childhood, and future
Wanderlei Silva on his childhood, his motivations and his future
When Wanderlei Silva was in the UK recently, Fighters Only managed to drop in on his seminar at London Fight Factory and get a few words with him. Often described as one of the nicest people in the MMA game (outside the ring of course!), Wand more than lived up to his reputation. He sat down with us for a long chat and a very revealing interview.
Jon ”Bones” Jones - UFC 100 and Playstation Interview!
Jon ”Bones” Jones - UFC 100 and Playstation Interview!
After a decisive victory over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 94, Jon Jones will make his return to the Octagon in July at UFC 100. Jones talked with PDG about his next fight, training and blasting his way through Call of Duty 4.
PDG: What about the whole Vaseline – Gate situation? Jones: Yeah that's some of what I'm talking about with all the greasing comments. I think that GSP could have won that fight if he had sand paper on his back.
Charges filed in death of Charles "Mask" Lewis
The Orange County District Attorney on Friday morning filed charges against Jeffrey David Kirby in relation to the car accident that killed Charles "Mask" Lewis, the founder of popular mixed martial arts clothing company Tapout.
A statement from the Orange County DA's office stated that Kirby is a second-time drunken driver and accused of killing Lewis and injuring his girlfriend, Lacy Lynn White, when Kirby crashed his Porsche into Lewis' Ferrari, causing it to slam into a light pole and split in half.
Kirby, 51, of Costa Mesa, Calif., is charged with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence while intoxicated, one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury, and sentencing enhancements for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter and causing great bodily injury to multiple victims. He has a prior conviction for driving under the influence in 2002.
The Rebirth of the Monster
The Rebirth of the Monster – Kevin Randleman signs with Strikeforce
Former UFC Champion, former PRIDE standout, former Hammerhouse member, former....just fill in the blank! Kevin "The Monster" Randleman sat down with PDG to discuss his return to fighting in North America with Strikeforce and the details of his return, training and much more including Ken Shamrock, Robert Drysdale and the passing of "Mask" Charles Lewis of Tapout.
Ringstar Announces American Fighter Shoe line
Ringstar, a martial arts shoe maker announced a deal with UFC Star Rich Franklin and American Fighter apparel to produce a complete line of shoes with the American Fighter/Rich Franklin brand. The announcement was made at the American Fighter pre-fight party at club Mynt Ulta Lounge prior to UFC 96. The shoe line will include casual, athletic and summer shoes. The shoe line is scheduled to hit retail stores by mid summer.
Also announced was a partnership between Ringstar and the “Real American Fighters” program. The RAF program is a partnership between the Disabled American Veterans, Rich Franklin and American Fighter. The program donates dollars back to the DAV for apparel and other items sold by American Fighter. Ringstar joins the program and will sell a line of flip flop shoes through retail and give a portion of the proceeds to the Real American Fighters Program.
“We are real excited to work with Ringstar” Stated Rich Franklin at the party. “These guys are nothing but class and we have a great future ahead. The designs are awesome. I am a shoe guy and this is going to be real nice” The Ringtar deal was inked in January.
Torres, Escudero Sign on With Bud Light for Latino Outreach
MMAPayout.com has mentioned previously the efforts to better reach the Latino demos. The UFC is not alone, though, in these efforts, as key sponsors of the UFC are looking for synergies with the UFC”s outreach efforts to better serve Latinos. One of these sponsors is Anheuser-Busch. Bud Light has consistently sought out a better grasp of Latino market share and they have recently boasted of their sponsorship efforts with UFC fighters in their overall spending in the Latino sports segment:
Anheuser-Busch currently sponsors the Mexican National Soccer Team, Chivas de Guadalajara, WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Angel Torres and UFC Lightweight Efrain Escudero. ….. The company has the No. 1 and No. 2 beer brands in the Latino market — Bud Light and Budweiser. To learn more about these efforts, please visit http://www.Latinobud.com.
While Torres has been mentioned in regards to Bud Light before, this is the first mention I have heard of Escudero in connection with a Bud Light deal. Efrain’s win in the TUF Finals gave him a high profile that Anheuser felt they could capitalize on to reach the Latino demographic. Torres and Escudero are proof that if you are young, Latino and have archived a level of accomplishment in the MMA, the world will be your oyster marketing-wise.
Rashad Evans To Create The First Signature Fighter Clothing Collection
Silver Star Casting and “Suga” Rashad Evans are both undefeated, on the rise, and serious contenders. With the union of two industry forces, Silver Star and Evans are creating a full collection of premium tops and accessories inspired by the the line’s signature high-octane look, and Evans’ status as an undefeated MMA champion.
Evans, who holds the Light Heavyweight champion title, is best known for defeating MMA star, Chuck Liddell, and Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Michael Bisping. Most recently, Evans defeated Forrest Griffin, the winner of the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality TV show, and retained his title of Light Heavyweight champion.
Rapidly becoming the clothing choice for MMA fighters and fans, Silver Star Casting Company’s series of premium signature fighter shirts will be expanded to include the first full signature fighter collection, in collaboration with “Suga” Rashad Evans.
By working with Rashad, we’ve brought a champion from the fight world into the apparel industry to bring a whole new vision and feel to the marketplace” says Silver Star owner, Luke Burrett. “Rashad has Silver Star’s full support and together we’re introducing a product line fight fans can wear with pride.”
The “Suga” Rashad Evans signature collection will include the Silver Star’s signature graphics, premium cuts, and envelope-pushing details. The collection will hit stores in May 2009.
Tito Ortiz: I'm Fighting In August
Although he wouldn't reveal too many details, Tito Ortiz said over the weekend he will be back in action in August. Rumors have this fight being at the next Affliction event, with Renato Sobral the most likely opponent.
Pros Pick: Jackson vs. Jardine
The UFC returns to Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday with an intriguing bout between former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and dangerous contender Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine.
Sherdog.com contacted dozens of professional fighters and trainers for their opinions on the UFC 96 main event. Some were reluctant to give a prediction, but plenty were willing to lay their reputations on the line and try to forecast what will transpire in the Octagon.
Tito "Rampage stepped up to murder Jardine"
Tito Ortiz – “This is a fight that didn't need to happen. After Rampage got screwed on a rematch for the title, he KO’ed Silva unconscious! Evans was afraid to fight Rampage, so Rampage stepped up to murder Jardine. This won't be a fight to get excited about. KO after the 2:35 mark of the 1st round for My boy Rampage.”
Ian Freeman Spared Jail for Tax Evasion
A former ultimate fighting champion facing sentencing for tax fraud broke down in tears today when he heard a friend describe in court his charity work helping his terminally ill son.
Ian Freeman - dubbed The Machine by ultimate fighting fans - sobbed as David Scott told how he had helped his son Lewis, who is dying from cancer.
Freeman was before Newcastle Crown Court to be sentenced for a three-year tax fraud.