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Driver That Killed TapouT Co-Founder Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Found Guilty of Vehicular Manslaughter


(Kirby will likely be making license plates for the next 13 years.)

The 53-year-old two-time drunk driver accused of causing the death of TapouT co-founder Charles "Mask" David Lewis Jr. was found guilty by a jury yesterday of one felony count of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence while intoxicated and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury.

Lewis died in the March 2009 crash that split his Ferrari in two.

Jeffrey David Kirby of Costa Mesa faces up to 13 years in state prison when he is sentenced February 4 in Santa Ana, Calif.

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UFC Hall of Fame to Induct Two New Members in July

Charles Mask Lewis Tapout MMA UFCChuck Liddell UFC MMA
(Hint: It’s these guys.)

MMA Fanhouse tips us that two new names will be added to the UFC Hall of Fame during the UFC Fan Expo on July 10th, the day before UFC 100 — meaning there’s only two months left before our t-shirt becomes outdated (at which point we’ll jack up the price and call it a "collector’s item," obviously). As the official announcement goes:

Join us on Friday, July 10, immediately following UFC President Dana White’s keynote address, as two worthy members of the UFC world will join the ranks of Dan Severn, Mark Coleman, Ken Shamrock, Randy Couture, and Royce Gracie when they are inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. You won’t want to miss this historical event happening right on the UFC Fan Expo show floor!

Allow us to speculate wildly…

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Video: Friends & Fans Pay Tribute to TapouT’s Mask

Mike Straka with Fox News Fight Game was at yesterday’s memorial for Tapout’s Charles “Mask” Lewis at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.  Well-known MMA figures like Lorenzo Fertitta, Joe Rogan, and Josh Barnett all spoke about what Mask meant to the sport, and TapouT’s Dan “Punkass” Caldwell urged that he be remembered for helping people. 

Whatever you think of the facepaint (and there’s even a glimpse of a photo of Mask without it, if you’re curious), you know you’ve lived some kind of life when they hold your memorial at a place with “cathedral” in its name.  RIP, buddy.

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“Simply Believe” Memorial Service: Tomorrow in Garden Grove, CA

Charles Lewis Mask TapouT MMA BelieveCrystal Cathedral Garden Grove California

From TapouT.com:

The memorial service, “’Simply Believe’: A Celebration of Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Jr.,” is set for Tuesday, April 14 at 11:00 am at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. The service will be open to the public, and fans and friends alike will gather to pay tribute to the life that taught us that anything is possible if you “Simply Believe.”
 
If you are planning on attending the services please let us know at: memorial@TapouT.com so that we know how many to expect.
 
Public access parking is available thru gate 1&2 on Chapman Ave, Gate 3 on Lewis Street. Cathedral doors open at 10:00 AM. Please no cameras or a video in the cathedral.
 
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you contribute to the Charles "Mask" Lewis, Jr memorial fund. Information on the fund will be available on this site the week of April 19th. Please check back at that time

As TapouT co-founder Dan "Punkass" Caldwell told Sherdog: “I just really felt like the Crystal Cathedral was calling. It’s where Charles would have wanted it. [With] some of the spiritual aspects of Charles, I knew we really wanted it in a church…It almost looks like Superman’s lair with the shards of glass bursting up into the sky. There’s not another place like it, that I could think of, in Southern California. It was just so fitting for Charles.”

Related: ‘Mask’ not on drugs, alcohol in deadly Ferrari crash

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Video: Welcome to Wanderlei Silva’s Gym and Daycare!

(Via RawVegas.tv)

Well, this is far less awkward than Wanderlei Silva’s advertisement/guided tour of his own gym, because this time around we have a native English speaker to help us make sense of what the hell’s happening.  Dave Farra is also crafty enough to use the tour of the facility as a ruse to ask Silva the hard questions, like, does he think GSP cheated?  ("He dominate the fight, he don’t need this, no?")  Does he want another shot at “Rampage” Jackson?  ("Of course.")  ‘Sup with the playground?  ("The kids need to have fun too, you know?")

I’m satisfied with those answers.  Although I am surprised to hear that Silva had a six-month training camp before the Jackson fight.  On one hand, that can’t be a good idea.  On the other hand, if only you could put Silva’s work ethic in B.J. Penn‘s body.

After the jump, Dana White talks more about the death of TapouT’s “Mask” and explains why the news hit Chuck Liddell especially hard.

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Bummer Alert: Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis’s Last Night on Earth

Charles Lewis Mask Tapout tribute shrine MMA
(Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

In a new tribute/report titled "The Man That Was ‘Mask’," Sherdog adds some backstory to the tragic death of TapouT founder Charles Lewis Jr. As it turns out, Lewis was as sober as Jeffrey Kirby was drunk, and the street-racing theory is probably off-base as well. Here’s what we know now:

[Lewis] 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 if 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.

A criminal trial for Kirby is tentatively scheduled for next month.

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Driver Charged With Manslaughter Following Death of Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis

TapouT Mask Charles Lewis MMA memorial
(A TapouT employee tends to a small memorial set up for "Mask" on the sidewalk outside company headquarters in Grand Terrace yesterday. Photo courtesy of the OC Register)

Yesterday we learned that Jeffrey David Kirby — the drunk driver who struck Charles Lewis’s car late Tuesday night, leading to the accident that killed him — had been cited for at least eight traffic violations since 2001, including a previous DUI bust. (Damn, where’s Dexter when you need him?) Well, Kirby’s just been formally charged. As Sherdog reports:

Jeffrey D. Kirby, 51, of Costa Mesa, Calif., has been 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,” according to a press release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Kirby…faces a maximum sentence of 19 years and eight months if convicted. Kirby is being held on $2 million bail and will be arraigned on Friday afternoon at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, Calif.
 
Kirby was later apprehended with a female companion a few blocks from the crash by officers, who observed the couple walking away from Kirby’s vehicle. Kirby was described as “emitting an odor of alcohol, slurring his speech, and having bloodshot and watery eyes,” according to the release.
 
Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. His girlfriend, Lacy Lynn White was ejected from the vehicle in the crash and landed on a nearby dirt embankment. White, 23, was transported to Western Medical Center – Santa Ana where she was treated for a fractured elbow, lacerations, and abrasions. Investigating officials told Sherdog.com on Thursday that White is in critical, but stable condition and is expected to survive.

The prospect of Kirby pleading down to a lighter sentence, then having time shaved off for "good behavior" is not sitting well with us right now, to say the least. Let’s hope the criminal justice system can do its job on this one.

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New Details on Crash That Killed TapouT’s “Mask”

The L.A. Times provides some new information about the car accident that left TapouT’s Charles “Mask” Lewis dead, his fiancée in the hospital, and the other driver in police custody, and at the moment all signs point to street racing as the cause of the accident:

Police said the two cars appeared to have been traveling side by side at a high rate of speed at 12:57 a.m. on Jamboree Road near the Upper Newport Bay when they collided. Officers said they are investigating whether the drivers were racing.
The Porsche driver, identified as Jeffrey David Kirby, 51, of Costa Mesa, was arrested after allegedly abandoning his car on a side street near the collision and taking off on foot with his female passenger. Kirby is being held on suspicion of felony drunk driving and driving under the influence. Bail is set at $2 million.

It’s still too early to say if it was really an ill-advised street race that killed the TapouT co-founder, but when two high-performing sports cars traveling side-by-side on a long, straight road at 1 a.m. ends with a high-speed fatal accident, that’s often the cause.  That, or maybe some type of road rage incident, which isn’t any better.  From the sounds of things the driver of the Porsche, Jeffrey David Kirby, has had his share of vehicular problems:

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Videos: Top Five Pound-For-Pound, Logan’s Dorky Laugh, + More


(Props: KingAtRock1)

Okay, this is pretty sweet.  Video highlight-maker KingAtRock1 has put together a look at the five best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA.  Sure, you could say he whitewashes Urijah Faber’s recent history in the cage, but overall it’s a solid list and I had a good time watching it.  Just good, clean fun.

I was just flipping through this month’s copy of Fight! Magazine, which features a photo spread on the UFC’s newest Octagon girl, Logan Stanton, and then lo and behold here’s Yahoo’s Steve Cofield doing a video interview with her at the Arnold Classic.  You have to admit Logan’s pretty damn adorable, and her dorky, "Revenge of the Nerds" laugh somehow only makes her more so.  Leave it to that classy son of a bitch Cofield to ask her if she’s going to get a boob job.  Nice, Steve.

After the jump, Frank Trigg remembers TapouT’s "Mask."

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Videos: “Bully Beatdown” Trailer, Mask’s Final Interview

What better way to introduce MMA to the tweenage MTV generation than by having Jason Miller‘s crazy ass host a show where bullies get their asses kicked by professional fighters? Premiering Sunday, March 22nd, at 9:30 p.m., MTV’s Bully Beatdown is being produced by Mark Burnett Productions (Survivor, The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?). Basically, pencil-necked geeks come crying to Miller about the people who have been picking on them, and Mayhem gives the bullies a chance to "pick on someone their own size." If the bullies win, they get to pocket $10,000, though it’s very unlikely that any of them will actually be able to collect. If they lose, their victims get the ten grand — which will most likely be bullied away from them as soon as the Bully Beatdown crew leaves town.

Below: One day before he was killed in a car accident, TapouT’s Charles "Mask" Lewis did an interview and photo shoot for DUB Magazine. The footage is below. Above everything else, let’s remember Lewis for the endless passion he had for the sport of mixed martial arts.


(Props: CageWriter)

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