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Tag: tapout

Monday Memento: “Hitman” Dan Diaz Lawsuit Against Tapout Going to Trial


(Diaz hanging with the Tapout crew, before it all fell apart. Photo via Dan Diaz/OC Weekly)

By Brian J. D’Souza

Tapout is one of the most prominent apparel brands in MMA, worn mainly by the sport’s in-crowd consisting of loyal, uber-cool and educated fans, many of whom who have either trained or competed in martial arts themselves.

In 2012, news broke of a major scandal involving the Tapout brand and Hitman Gear founder Dan Diaz. Diaz had sold Hitman to Tapout in 2007 in exchange for 1.25 million shares in the new company, a five-year employment contract and the promise of radical expansion of the Hitman brand.

What Diaz ended up getting was a raw deal, with Hitman being sold for zero dollars when Tapout was sold to Authentic Brands Group (ABG) in September 2010, thus making his shares worthless. His employment contract was also terminated with the sale to ABG, leaving him high and dry.

Rather than settling for chump change, Diaz opted to take his case to the courts. He’s not just suing for damages—Diaz wants the moral victory of exposing the corruption that robbed him of the personal pride he put into his company.

The trial between Dan Diaz and Tapout/Authentic Brands Group has been set for July 7 of this year. Beyond the damages Diaz is seeking, there are allegations that many MMA fighters who licensed their names for Tapout signature shirts like Chuck Liddell, Kenny Florian and Keith Jardine, have been defrauded of royalties.

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The Fourteen Ugliest Walkout Shirts in MMA


Yes, it’s ugly, trashy and tasteless to include Arianny on this list. Just like this t-shirt. Props: UFCStore.com

MMA fighters aren’t exactly known for their fashion sense. So it should come as little surprise that most MMA t-shirt companies produce some pretty questionable designs. The rampant abuse of foil print, skulls, chains, tribal designs and nautical stars among most MMA t-shirts is bad enough on its own; even worse when you consider that they sell for thirty bucks a pop.

Which I guess makes it all the worse when a fighter makes his way to the cage covered in an “athletic fit” Old-English mess. Not only is the shirt revolting, but it’s going to sell for an outlandish sum of money, and be worn by every overweight Texas Roadhouse chef, milquetoast tech support geek and muscle-bound frat boy.

Perhaps the reason that we’ve never attempted an “Ugliest Walkout Shirts” post is because ranking these train wrecks is like ranking, well, actual train wrecks. No matter what order you place them in, you’re a total scumbag for attempting to rank a tragedy from most to least depressing. And besides, you’re clearly wrong about which one belongs at number three. For that reason, these will not be ranked, per se, but rather categorized. How you feel these shirts fall into place is up to you.

Let’s start with the most obvious category:

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CagePotato Roundtable #8: What Was Your Lowest Moment as an MMA Fan?


(Props: David T. Cho)

Being an MMA fan ain’t easy sometimes. Hyped-up fights turn out to be snorefests, scandals damage the sport’s legitimacy, incredible parlay bets get wrecked by incompetent judging, forcing us to explain to our kids once again that Santa Claus most have lost our address this year. On today’s CagePotato Roundtable, we’re discussing the fights and moments that made us want to give up on MMA entirely and follow [*shudder*] baseball for a while. Let us know your own lowest fan-moment in the comments section, and if you have a topic for a future Roundtable column, send it it to tips@cagepotato.com.

Seth Falvo

It’s crazy how life goes full circle: When I was ten years old, Doug Flutie was my favorite NFL player. I begged my dad to buy me Flutie Flakes for breakfast, so that I too could grow up and be a successful, albeit undersized quarterback for a small market football team. My dad refused, which explains why I’m now a writer (You’re welcome, Andrew Luck). After all, I was too young to remember the real Doug Flutie, the Heisman Trophy winning Boston College quarterback who helped make the USFL somewhat relevant. Flutie may have still been a talented quarterback — especially for his age — but he had clearly lost a step by the time I started watching football.

Thirteen years later I was on the phone with my dad, talking about one of the most lopsided fights he had ever seen. I spent the entire conversation trying to convince him that the small, pudgy guy he just watched get destroyed by a no-name oddity was at one point the most dangerous fighter on the planet. As you may have guessed, I’m specifically referring to Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva. But really, Fedor’s entire Strikeforce run can be summed up the exact same way. Perhaps Fedor was too old, perhaps the heavyweight division had simply caught up to him, or perhaps it was a combination of the two. But one thing is clear: By the time that Fedor made his way to Strikeforce, he was no longer the untouchable fighter that he had once been.

Even in his lone victory, a second round knockout against Brett Rogers, he was arguably losing the fight before connecting with the fight ending right hand. And Brett Rogers is no Apollo Creed; he’s barely a pimple on the ass of Vodka Drunkenski. He’s a gatekeeper in every sense of the word — just legitimate enough for EliteXC to have kept him away from a “prime” Kimbo Slice, but not legitimate enough to pose any threat of beating a true contender. We had all the warning signs that Fedor was going to be a bust signing after this fight, yet we chose to ignore them because hey, he won, right?

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Authentic Brands Group Lays the Smackdown on Cancer Non-Profit Over ‘Tapout’ Usage


(Pic props: Tapout Cancer via MMAPayout.com)

Apparently Dana White isn’t the only person in the MMA community who keeps a cease and desist in their back pocket, eagerly awaiting to ruin someone’s fun.

MMAPayout.com is reporting that Authentic Brands Group, owner of MMA brands Sinister, Silverstar and Tapout, has officially served notice to the non-profit cancer awareness company Tap Out Cancer over the use of a federally trademarked word ‘tapout’.

All I can think about is Mask rolling over in his grave right now. First the “bro deals” went out the window and now this. I understand the business logic behind the decision. However, I feel it’s a missed opportunity for the most recognizable MMA apparel company to have a positive impact in the lives of others while gaining the hearts of media everywhere. What do you guys think?

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Members of Tapout Crew Admit Distributing Mask’s Ashes, Say Sister’s Lawsuit is Just a Cash Grab

(Call us crazy, but we have a hunch two grown men who call themselves “Punkass” and “SkySkrape” may not always weigh the legal consequences of their actions. Pic: CombatLifestyle)

Here come the admissions (and the counter-arguments) in one of the weirdest MMA-related stories we’ve ever heard: The co-founders of MMA’s best known apparel company confirmed through their lawyer on Thursday that they handed out their deceased business partner’s ashes at a memorial service following his 2009 death, but said the amounts were far less than originally reported and that there was “nothing wrong with dividing up a loved one’s ashes” among his close friends. These acknowledgements from Tapout front men Dan “Punkass” Caldwell and Tim “SkySkrape” Katz came after the sister of Charles “Mask” Lewis filed a lawsuit in California this week seeking unspecified damages for the “overwhelming and severe emotional distress” caused by the treatment of her brother’s remains.

Caldwell and Katz fired back that Lewis and his sister were estranged at the time of his death and dismiss her lawsuit as a cash grab. Damn. We’re beginning to think this is one of those situations where everyone is right … and wrong, at the same time. Public responses from both Punkass and ’Skrape are after the jump.

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No, We’re Not Making This Up: Mask Lewis’ Sister Says Partners Stole His Ashes, Gave Them Away at Memorial

(He’ll be with them, always.)

You know you’re dealing with a messed up situation when even the hardened gossip mavens at TMZ deploy the phrase, “Here’s where things get CRAZY.” Frankly, we’re not even sure how to adequately put this into words, but here goes: The sister of deceased Tapout founder Charles “Mask” Lewis has filed a lawsuit in California accusing his partners in the MMA apparel company of stealing and illegally distributing her brother’s ashes as party favors during his 2009 memorial service. She further charges that the partners – Dan “Punkass” Caldwell and Tim “SkySkrape” Katz – still have the urn containing Lewis’ ashes and refuse to give it back, according to the report from TMZ.

Lewis was killed by a drunk driver during a street race in Newport Beach, Calif., in March, 2009. A month after his death Caldwell and Katz – who reportedly co-founded the company with Lewis in 1997 – organized a large memorial for him at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., which was attended by a host of MMA luminaries. It is unclear from the TMZ report if this is the service referenced in the lawsuit. More of the macabre details after the jump.

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Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Died Two Years Ago Today

Charles Mask Lewis TapouT drawing art
(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.

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Wednesday Morning MMA Link Club


(Midwest snow storm, you just got served. Props: twitter.com/hypeordie)

Some selected highlights from our friends around the MMA blogosphere. E-mail feedback@cagepotato.com for details on how your site can join the MMA Link Club…

– Unorthodox Ways Front and Center for Jon Jones (Versus MMA Beat)

- After Losing $3.2 Million Lawsuit, Another Former Employee Sues TapouT (MMA Convert)

– Why Vitor Belfort is Fighting Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Title this Weekend (LowKick)

– Four Fight Main Card Official for Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Hendo (FightMagazine)

– The Japanese Comic Book Version of Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez Is Far Cooler Than the Real Thing (MiddleEasy)

– Bellator Finalizes Featherweight Tournament Field With Addition of 19-0 Newcomer Malegariet (Five Ounces of Pain)

– Sengoku 17 Postponed in Response to Media Negativity (MMA Fighting)

– Outside the Ring: Fedor Emelianenko (MMA-Scraps)

– Boredom Overcomes American Kickboxing Academy (5thRound)

– Strikeforce Champion Nick Diaz Talks Contenders Daley, Woodley (SBNation.com/MMA)

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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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TapouT, Silver Star Sold to Authentic Brands Group; Original Owners to Remain Involved

TapouT crew ring girl MMA Mask punkass skyscrape
(The best part about being filthy rich? You don’t have to share ring girls anymore. / Props: amam-magazine.com / R.I.P.: Charles Lewis)

After a 13-year run that saw TapouT go from a two-man operation — with founders Charles "Mask" Lewis and Dan "Punkass" Caldwell selling shirts out of the trunk of a car — to becoming the most powerful apparel and lifestyle brand in mixed martial arts, and then pressing on after Lewis’s tragic death, TapouT has finally reached the mythical "cash-out" stage of its existence. As first announced via press release yesterday, Authentic Brands Group has purchased TapouT, as well as its rival label Silver Star Casting Company, along with their subsidiary brands.

With offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto, ABG was founded earlier this year by chairman/CEO Jamie Salter, who previously managed such big-name brands as Polaroid, the Sharper Image, and Linens ‘N Things while at Hilco Consumer Capital. Now, he’s betting big on MMA. In a Bloomberg.com article published today, Salter wouldn’t talk numbers, but he did talk about how excited he was about his new company’s first major acquisitions:

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