Tapout profiled by CNN Money

by Michal Lev-Ram | source: cnn.com

It's not every day you meet a chief executive officer named "Punkass." Especially one who runs a $200 million company.

The heavily tattooed, bandana-wearing CEO fits right in at Tapout, a 140-employee clothing company in Grand Terrace, Calif., that caters to athletes and fans of mixed martial arts, a combat sport known for its brutality.

Apart from the name, what makes Punkass and his co-founders unique is the commitment they made more than a decade ago to a sport that was then virtually unknown. They took a gamble on a market that barely existed.

The risk? If the market didn't grow, TapouT would have nowhere to go. The reward? If the market exploded, they would be the first ones in.

Back in 1997, TapouT's three co-founders -- Dan "Punkass" Caldwell, Charles "Mask" Lewis and Tim "Skyskrape" Katz -- had no college degrees and little money. But all three had trained in mixed martial arts and were ardent fans of the sport. They were confident that someday, the sport would be accepted -- even embraced -- by a mainstream audience.

So they took the kind of leap that would make little sense to anyone but their fellow true believers: They maxed out their credit cards to start a small operation selling t-shirts at underground mixed martial arts competitions.

Back then, mixed martial arts was still a fledgling movement, well under the radar of other apparel companies. Today, it's almost as mainstream as boxing -- and TapouT's block-letter logo has become synonymous with the sport.

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tags: Dan Caldwell   Tim Katz   Marc Kreiner   Charles Lewis   Tapout   UFC   

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Haadogei site profile image  

8/19/10 1:44 PM by Haadogei

Bill oreilly and john McCain both think mma should be illegal.

solidsnake site profile image  

8/19/10 1:44 PM by solidsnake

Hair pulling and groin punches at one time = yeseye gouging and biting? Maybe at the Kumite

bsrizpac site profile image  

8/19/10 1:43 PM by bsrizpac

Noob TUF fanboy owned.Exactly.

Cheeseburger Eddie site profile image  

8/19/10 1:37 PM by Cheeseburger Eddie

I got bored and started rambling to him: I would like to first thank you for writing an article about Mixed Martial Arts. It is a great sport and any mainstream stories that can help raise awareness are greatly appreciated. However, there were a few things I took issue with. The article claimed "While mixed martial arts has toned down the violence a bit in recent years -- the rules, for example, no longer permit biting and eye-gouging." This statement makes it seem as though biting and eye-gouging were legal 2-5 years ago, when in fact they were never allowed in the history of the UFC. If the article had said "While football has toned down the violence a bit in recent years -- the rules, for example, no longer permit facemasks and late hits" would you let that make it into the article? While you may blow this point off, I feel that it is important to portray things in an accurate light. While it is a combat sport, it is not some no rules dethmatch that many in the media try to portray it as. While boxing is lovingly referred to as "the sweet science," MMA is vilified as brutal. The long-term injuries that come from boxing, the repetitive shots to the head, simply aren't as dangerous when it comes to MMA. While in boxing, the standing 8 count allows the athlete to get hit in the head as much as possible, MMA bouts are stopped as soon as one fighter is no longer able to defend himself. There is no time given to an athlete once he's been dazed, the match is over. The entirte tone of the article made it seem as though MMA was human cockfighting, a stereotype that MMA has worked hard to prove wrong for many years. While I may seem like a crazy fan who is delusional about this bloodsport, I hope you don't dismiss what I have said. There can be hard hits, and there can be brutal knock outs, but it is no different than any other combat sport. It really is a beautiful sport and I hope that you give it a chance. I am happy to see that the article talked about Charles Lewis, though. He was a great person, not only for the sport, but for all of the lives that he touched while he was here. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Cheeseburger Eddie

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8/19/10 12:50 PM by King Willy


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8/19/10 12:40 PM by Seamus619


Stephen_Carnes site profile image  

8/19/10 8:06 AM by Stephen_Carnes

We will be nice and assume you were channel surfing and happened to click on the Corrupt Non News Channel when they were showing the piece.

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8/19/10 5:28 AM by BJJkilla

CNN should stick to sucking the republicans nuts.

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8/19/10 5:11 AM by jojoblue

I just left a message about the article and and asked them what other disinformation and half truths they have put out

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8/19/10 12:41 AM by ChrisHowie

msg sent