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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 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.


With Shamrock Out, Bobby Lashley Will Face…Jason Guida?

(‘Who me?’)

Our good friend Ariel Helwani over at has the scoop on Ken Shamrock’s replacement against Bobby Lashley for Roy Jones Jr’s “March Badness” event, and it’s Jason Guida, brother of UFC lightweight Clay Guida.  If that name sounds familiar for another reason, it’s probably because Guida was scheduled to be a participant for season eight of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but couldn’t make weight and was ruled ineligible after much pain and suffering and exposure of genitals.  Now the 17-19 Guida will take on Lashley, who’s appearing in just his second pro fight.

As late replacements go, this isn’t a terrible one.  Guida is experienced, though not exactly a stand-out.  The guy’s lost his last three fights and has competed in an array of different weight classes with very mixed (read: unremarkable) results.  But at least he’s not really old and – judging from his physique – doesn’t seem to be on steroids.  He’s also a passionate cornerman, for what that’s worth.

Though Guida lacks the name recognition of Shamrock, he’s the kind of fighter who a hot prospect like Lashley ought to be able to beat if he is indeed a hot prospect.  If he can’t, then he isn’t.  Simple as that.  Now please, don’t anybody go and do something to screw this thing up.


Exclusive: Interview with N.Y. State Assemblyman Bob Reilly, Part One

My column this week on deals with the legislative fight over MMA in New York State.  At the center of this battle, as you probably know, is Assemblyman Bob Reilly, who is a committed opponent of the sport.  Mr. Reilly and I are obviously on different sides of the issue, but he was gracious enough to take the time and explain his position, and for that I thank him.  Part one of our talk is below.  Check back for part two later today, and head on over to SI for UFC VP of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner’s response to Reilly’s arguments against the sport.

You’ve said before that this isn’t your big issue, that you’re really into agriculture.  And yet this is the issue that’s gotten you the most attention.  Do you still feel like you’re reluctant opponent of MMA, because you seem to have embraced it rather eagerly of late.

That’s a tough question to answer.  What happens is, in the state legislature, with the hundreds of laws we vote on and a budget of maybe $120 billion with a $14 billion deficit and a worldwide financial crisis, there are many, many things we look at.  And when I said agriculture is one thing I’m interested in, that’s one thing.  I’m on the sub-committee on agriculture, but I’m also on the Racing and Wagering Committee, I’m on the Corporations Committee, so there are many other things I do besides this. 

But do I think this is an important thing?  Yes.  I think it’s going to be harmful to people.  I think it’s going to be harmful to our society and harmful to our economy.  So it’s one of things I address.  The legalization of MMA in New York State, I would say the only person pushing that or interested in it is Steve Englebright, the sponsor.  There aren’t a lot of other legislators pushing for it.  As I explored it further and became more educated on it, I changed my opinion and become more opposed to it.  

You say it’s going to be harmful to people.  How, specifically, will allowing live events of this sport in your state harm people?


Videos: ‘UFC 2009 Undisputed’ Intros, Junie Prepares for War + More

(Props: MMA Mania)

THQ has released some more preview footage from UFC 2009 Undisputed, showing Da Spyder and Da Troof getting their pre-fight introductions. For more intros, hit up

Below: RawVegas catches up with Junie Browning at Xtreme Couture and discusses his upcoming matchup with Cole Miller and his new training partner, War Machine. On War: "I think he’s a cool dude. That’s the kind of guy I would hang out with outside of here. [Ed. note: God help us all.] You get a lot of computer warriors and people like that, but they don’t really know a person…I think people get the wrong interpretation of him."

After the jump
: NFL linebacker Dhani Jones learns some Muay Thai in a clip from his new show Dhani Tackles the Globe — which premieres March 16th on the Travel Channel — and an epic board-breaking fail.


And So It Begins…

Frank Shamrock Nick Diaz MMA Strikeforce middle finger
(Signaling the arrival of spring, Nick Diaz throws out the first "Stockton Heybuddy" of the year. Photo courtesy of Strikeforce.)

“Someone asked me the other day how my comeback was going so I guess I’ve come back. I love fighting. I love this art. I want to thank Nick Diaz for the opportunity and just warn him that when I punch his head and he lands in the second row he’ll need someone to catch him." — Frank Shamrock

“Frank can talk all he wants, but I’m going to beat him up. Let’s see how much he fights back.’’ — Nick Diaz

The fighters on Strikeforce’s April 11th Showtime card had their first public face-offs yesterday, with Shamrock, Diaz, Josh Thomson, Gilbert Melendez, Robbie Lawler, Jake Shields, Scott Smith, and Benji Radach exchanging words during a press conference. Among the suits in attendance were Ken Hershman — Showtime’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Sports and Event Programming — who announced that the commentary team for their upcoming series of MMA broadcasts would include Gus Johnson (lead play-by-play announcer and host), Mauro Ranallo (play-by-play duties for the "up-and-comers’ series"), Stephen Quadros, Frank Shamrock,  and Pat Miletich. More pics from the press conference are below, and footage of the presser is after the jump, courtesy of Esther Lin via Fightlinker.

Josh Thomson Gilbert Melendez MMA Strikeforce Robbie Lawler Jake Shields MMA Strikeforce Frank Shamrock Nick Diaz MMA Strikeforce Strikeforce MMA Shamrock Diaz fighters


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:


Video: Satoshi Ishii Works Out with Lyoto Machida

(Props: MMA Videos)

Is there such thing as elusive judo?  We may get to find out if this video is any indication of where Japanese judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii is learning the MMA game from.  He even pulls a nice little fireman’s carry on Lyoto Machida at 2:53 in.  You know it’s slick when Machida is smiling even as he hits the mat.

Say this for Ishii, he’s taking his entrance into MMA very seriously and is getting some of the best training he can find.  First he worked out with Randy Couture, and now Machida.  Next maybe he goes to Greg Jackson’s and starts flipping people on their heads.  Better soak it up while everyone still thinks of you as that harmless, nice Japanese guy from the Olympics.  

After the jump, a study in how YouTube’s “Related Videos” feature gets weird in a hurry.


UPDATED: Shields/Riggs Bout Bumped From Shamrock vs. Diaz Lineup, Shields/Lawler in May

Jake Shields Gilbert Melendez MMA Strikeforce
(Jake Shields, pictured here with his son Gilbert Melendez.)

Multiple sources have informed FiveOuncesofPain that a welterweight matchup between Jake Shields and Joe Riggs, which was slated to go down at Strikeforce’s "Shamrock vs. Diaz" event on April 11th, has been scrapped. Writes 5oz:

Neither Riggs or Shields is injured and one source indicated that Shields is being saved for a possible headlining slot against Robbie Lawler during a tentative Strikeforce event scheduled for May in Seattle. Additional sources have confirmed that the possible Lawler vs. Shields matchup could be officially announced by Strikeforce officials during a Thursday press conference in Los Angeles as early as today.

While he was the 170-pound champ of EliteXC, Shields had entertained the notion of going up in weight to challenge Robbie Lawler, due to the lack of challenges at welterweight. We thought the new bodies at Strikeforce would keep Shields entertained at 170 for a while longer, but it sounds like he’s more interested in big fights than welterweight tune-ups, and we respect that. Besides, weight classes are more of a suggestion than a rule at Strikeforce anyway.

Update, 5:30 p.m. ET: Shields vs. Lawler has officially been announced for Strikeforce’s May event, which will take place somewhere in Washington state. It will be a non-title fight, contested at middleweight.

In other Strikeforce news, former UFC heavyweight champ and PRIDE vet Kevin Randleman has reportedly signed a deal to return to MMA competition under the Strikeforce banner. Randleman last competed at Sengoku II last May, where he won a unanimous decision over Ryo Kawamura. Though "The Monster" was terrifying in hs prime, he has lost seven of his last ten fights. The date of his next match and his opponent have yet to be announced.


UFC Fight-Booking News: Coleman vs. Bonnar, Tibau Replaces Escudero + More

Mark Coleman UFC MMA ass grab
(Mark Coleman — master of kino escalation. Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)

— An oddly appropriate light-heavyweight matchup may be in the works for UFC 100 (July 11th, Las Vegas). According to MMA Mania, bout agreements have been offered for Mark Coleman to face Stephan Bonnar at the milestone event. That’s right: The UFC’s first official heavyweight champion and early star of the SEG era will likely be taking on the man who helped take the UFC mainstream in the Zuffa era with his epic TUF 1 finale battle against Forrest Griffin.

Kind of an interesting way to pay tribute to the Octagon’s history. But for the fighters themselves, the matchup will be all business. Coleman most recently put in a shambling wreck of a performance against Mauricio Rua at UFC 93, eventually losing by TKO in the third round, while Stephan Bonnar was out-hustled by Jon Jones at UFC 94, losing by unanimous decision. Both men need a win here to remain relevant. UFC 100 will also reportedly feature fights between Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar (for the unified heavyweight title), Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves (for the welterweight title), and Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson (for the right to get their ass kicked by Anderson Silva at some point in the future).

TUF 8 lightweight winner Efrain Escudero has fallen prey to the Amir Sadollah curse. Due to a rib injury suffered in training, he has been forced to pull out of his first post-TUF fight, which was scheduled to be against Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 18 (April 1st, Nashville). Taking Escudero’s place will be Gleison Tibau, the American Top Team fighter who snapped a two-fight losing streak at last month’s UFC Fight Night 17 card with his first-round submission of Rich Clementi. Unfortunately for Stephens, his bout may now be relegated to the undercard in favor of the Tyson Griffin/Rafael Dos Anjos match.


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."