As much as we like to give the guys from TapouT a hard time about their TV show and their plans to make children’s furniture, we have to admit that they know what they’re doing with their off-the-wall personas and recognizable brand. And in an interview with USA Today’s MMA blogger, Sergio Non, they open up about their business (they expect to do “upwards of $100 million this year”), their history, and most interestingly, their role in Diego Sanchez‘s victory on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter”:
There could be a fighter, like in (TUF season-one winner) Diego Sanchez’s case — he was already primed and ready, but there was just that nobody that knew about him. Whereas we knew about him because we’re scouring all those up-and-coming, lower shows.
So when Dana White came to me and was like, “Hey, this is who we’ve got going on there, is there anybody we missed…” I was like, “There’s this kid, Diego Sanchez out of New Mexico, he’s crazy and he’s insane.” And actually, this story is a true story, he ended up bumping one guy off The Ultimate Fighter that was slated to go on there, plugged Diego Sanchez in, Diego ends up winning it at the 185-pound mark, further cementing us as talent scouts.
Wow. I guess that guy who was bumped knows who to be pissed off at now. Also in this interview we learn (two of) their real names — Charles Lewis Jr. (Mask) and Dan Caldwell (Punkass), while Skyskrape is apparently a mystery man who hails from parts unknown, much like The Ultimate Warrior — and they also comment on the nature of their relationship with the UFC.
There are people who allege that Zuffa or UFC owns a piece of your company. What’s your relationship with Zuffa at this point? Do they have an equity stake in your company?
Lewis: As of right now, we have — Punkass puts that into better words than me, he has those business words a little better off his tongue with me — but we’ve had talks about a bunch of different companies that want to invest or buy a part. As of right now, we have, how you say it, one…?
Caldwell: We have one equity partner right now and they’re a minority shareholder.
Lewis: The real story about (our relationship) with Dana White — we do work with (Zuffa). They really have a lot of respect for our ability to find up and coming fighters. We signed on through 2012 to be exclusive clothing sponsor of The Ultimate Fighter. … and we have a 2-year contract to be the exclusive clothing sponsor of the WEC, so in that respect we work (together). We have a lot of financial…
Caldwell: We have the same producer.
Lewis: Yeah and the same producer that produces The Ultimate Fighter for the UFC is the same producer — Pilgrim Films’ Craig Piligian — that produces our show for our channel, Versus. So there’s some ties in there and that’s where a lot of times where people are getting confused and thinking that they own Tapout or something.
So there you have it. The UFC doesn’t own TapouT. They are just very closely affiliated on a couple different levels. Glad that’s cleared up.