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Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Died Two Years Ago Today


(Props: Red-33)

Time flies, brother. It’s already been two years since the MMA world was blindsided by the tragic news that Charles “Mask” Lewis — founder of the ubiquitous TapouT brand, provider of financial support and encouragement to untold numbers of MMA fighters — died in a car wreck. Since then, Lewis has been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, his beloved company has been sold (not the smoothest transition, apparently), his estate was screwed with by Orange County, and the drunk driver who caused his death was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Of all the Mask tributes floating around the Internet today, we have to give it up to Jonathan Snowden’s BloodyElbow interview with Lewis’s former TapouT business partners, Dan “Punkass” Caldwell and Timothy “SkySkrape” Katz.” Some highlights are after the jump.

*****

“Charles was living in a friend’s house in the back room on a mattress on the floor,” SkySkrape said. “But on his wall, printed on a piece of white computer paper, he’d have all these sayings. ‘To quit doesn’t exist.’ He’d have ‘I cleared $2000 this month.’ Then ‘I cleared $10,000 this month.’ Meaning the company made that much money. Just little things that pushed him. They weren’t always numbers he had achieved. They were things he was one day going to achieve. And it wasn’t about money. It was about being able to go back out, to support more fighters. It was about giving back. There were times we were sleeping on Josh Barnett‘s floor at a UFC when we didn’t have enough money for a room because we were paying the fighters.”

*****

“We did a show in Arizona and we had two fighters. The choice was whether we were going to pay the fighters or get home that night. It was only about $200 or $300 bucks each, but after paying the venue for being there and each fighter, we didn’t have enough for a hotel room. We were going to have to drive straight back. I can remember telling Charles ‘Bro, don’t worry about it. I can drive. I’ve got it.’ We had driven there that day and were looking at another six hours on the road with no sleep after the show. I can remember him breaking down and crying. He was apologizing because he felt like he had failed,” Punkass said. “Because we hadn’t made enough money that night. He took that as a personal failure. I remember telling him it was cool, that it was going to be okay. Usually he was the anchor. He’s the guy that everybody looks to when sh*t’s going sideways. But we all had to support each other. It meant the world to us. As bad as things were, and I’m telling you things were bad, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. We believed we were going to make this shit happen. It was like that Eminem song. You only have one chance to make it. And we preached it, promised ourselves. We are not going to fail.

There is no Plan B. That was Charles’s saying. It’s the story of Cortez. I don’t know if it is a true story, but the way Mask told it these guys land in the new world and were outnumbered by the natives five to one. The captain had his men burn all the ships. His first mate said ‘What will we do if we have to retreat?’ And Cortez said ‘There is no Plan B. We have to win.’ There is no escape. Burn these ships and we’re going to go win this f*cking war. That was our mentality. That’s how we thought.”

*****

“There’s not 10 minutes that go by in a day without thinking about Charles. Our life is surrounded and entrenched in TapouT. It’s impossible to not think about him,” Skrape said. “For six, eight, ten months I was kind of just numb. When I met Dan and Charles I was only 18 years old. I was just out of high school, just a kid. He was like a big brother, like a father figure. He was my best friend. I looked at him for everything in my life. And suddenly I couldn’t go to him anymore. When we got into a city we would just walk, the three of us walking, talking, dreaming, all that nonsense. We’d end up on a bus bench or something. Memories like that are kind of cool to think about. There’s still so much more to accomplish. We haven’t come close to making it, to fulfilling Charles’s dream of being the biggest brand in the world. Charles always talked about TapouT being his dream. I hope he inspires people to go out and live their dream. If other people can’t see it, that’s because it’s not their dream. Do what is in your heart and don’t worry about what anybody else tells you.”

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sevvi- March 14, 2011 at 2:13 am
Great article, great read. Inspiring stuff. Rest in peace.
mDino- March 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm
lol @ the "bozo" comment. but i agree with Walrus on this and so should yall!!
Walrus- March 12, 2011 at 11:10 am
Whether you're a fan of his persona or not, he was an admirable guy who did a lot of positive things for the sport and its fighters.
the glza- March 12, 2011 at 8:16 am
Yeah and frank "bozo" avruch died 2 years and 17 days ago.
Viva Hate- March 12, 2011 at 6:55 am
RIP Mask and for those calling him a douche, you should go learn more about the sport and what it has gone through.
FaH Q NL15- March 12, 2011 at 5:14 am
Boss Rutten, Chael is the biggest "Douche" of all. There is nothing else to say other than you are a very close second. When he speaks, IQs drop.
Squirrelnuts- March 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm
L O fucking L @ "driver who caused his death"

Mask was fucking SPEEDING in a porsche. He rolled the dice and he fucking lost, people need to stop acting like he was murdered.
DesolationUSA- March 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm
^ Its true, though if you actually do MMA I think its okay to wear it, though your still gonna get laughed at.
Boss Rutten- March 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm
@MThomas

I believe it was the great Chael Sonnen who said it best, "I don't talk about "respect." That term is for street thugs, not me."

The guy made t-shirts. The only acceptable time to wear a TapOut shirt is when you're getting paid to. I take it you don't.

Keep wearing your t-shirt, just know that everyone is laughing at you and mocking that fist pose you make in every picture. Douche.
dranokills- March 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm
El Guapo Says:

Fri, 03/11/11 - 01:50

WAS going to tell Drano to bite his tongue, maybe sit this one out… But alas, BossMan already had to go there. Lay in Peace
----------------------------
No need , it's been 2 years....I am over this.
I do feel sorry for the guys who are left.
CaptnJonesy- March 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm
Some of y'all need to grow the fuck up. Just because you don't like the guys persona that doesn't give you the right to insult the dead. Believe me, the guy did way more for the sport than your mothers and their sloppy $5 blowjobs ever could. RIP
Kimbos Bread- March 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm
All that mystique & magic, and yet you still couldn't avoid that drunken idiot on the road.

R.I.P. Mask.
Anhonestmoose- March 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm
Wow, two years already. It feels like it was just yesterday. RIP Mask.
the chef- March 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm
That was only two years ago? I feel like it was like 5
Turd Furgeson- March 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm
When I first heard about his death I didn't really care. After reading this I have a lot of respect for the guy now. He may have acted like a douche some of the time, but he put his heart and soul into what he was doin, and helped a lot of fighters and the sport to grow. You can't not like him for that. Now I might even buy a few TapouT items.
cecils_pupils- March 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm
Rest In Peace, Mask.
Fried Taco- March 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm
TapouT is not for douches. That doesn't mean douches don't buy it and wear it. And who cares, let the douches give their money to support the fighters we love to watch. Fine by me! Thanks Mask!!
El Guapo- March 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm
WAS going to tell Drano to bite his tongue, maybe sit this one out... But alas, BossMan already had to go there. Lay in Peace
mthomas- March 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm
@ Boss Rutten: Yeah. Supporting this sport in it's darkest time and giving back to/sponsoring struggling fighters before there was any money in this is so lame. Fucking douchbag. STFU and show some respect. Or go back to jerking it to your Hentai collection. Whatever....
Tai-Pan- March 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm
I think we need Frank Mir here to tell these guys who real heros are.
Boss Rutten- March 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm
This guy was a lame. Facepaint is for children. Tapout is for douchebags.
LOKI- March 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm
"now whadaya say we go slaughter us some fuckin' savages!"-Cortez
WuTangClan- March 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm
oh
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