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UnderGround Forums >> Rest in Peace Charles "Mask" Lewis Jr 1964-2009


3/11/10 1:11 AM
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Kirik
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Edited: 03/11/10 7:04 PM
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Mixed Martial Arts LLC, President
 
On 11 March 2009, after midnight, Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis was heading home from the gym when his Ferrari was struck by a drunk driver, sending it into a fatal spin.

Mask began with an idea, a car full of t-shirts, and the greatest friend and partner conceivable, Dan ‘Punkass’ Caldwell. Mask slept on couches and lived on hope, and when he made a little money, he sponsored fighters, with every dollar. I know this as a fact.

Sponsoring fighters exhausted all extra funds, leaving Mask still with an idea, a car full of t-shirts, and with the addition of Skyskrape, two men who shared a vision that eventually came to represent the world’s greatest sport. Like so much else, countless companies followed their lead, and those modest sponsorships eventually grew into a phenomenon that today roughly doubles the fighter’s purse in our sport.

To understand Mask’s inspiration, turn to the master of magical realism, Noble Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who wrote in his breakout novel 100 Years of Solitude:
“At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.”

Mixed Martial Arts too was once as young, so recent that many things lacked names. But in order to recognize them, it was not necessary to point; what was necessary was TapouT. In Mask’s words:

“There was nothing that you could put on in that day that meant what we were feeling like. Mixed Martial Arts and fighting didn’t have any identity. You couldn’t put on a uniform and feel the way we felt in the gym. So, just as a need to identify what I was feeling on the inside of myself, I came up with a T-shirt.”

In 1999 the business grossed $29,000, leaving the pioneer of the entire MMA apparel business an actual hundredaire. By 2008, Punkass and Mask had kindly clawed their way to success only they alone could imagine. The company was a madhouse-hold name with its own raucous television show, could be purchased in over 20,000 retail stores worldwide, and grossed a staggering $100,000,000. Their sights set once again higher than others can see, to not just double revenue, but to reach a billion dollars, or more.

Mask is dead and will be mourned forever and ever.

But when you love this sport, you honor Mask. You honor Mask when you train your heart out in the gym, and understand better than any scholar what Shakespeare meant when he wrote “For he to-day that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother.” When this sport fills you with a feeling like no other, you may not have a word for it, but there is one – TapouT.

Believe is not a word, it was this man’s life. If you have a vision, believe it. Believe in yourself. Believe in the feeling this sport gives us. They say if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. I don’t know about that, but if you believe, believe in your highest hopes, believe in yourself, believe in all that this sport offers, then you will make an angel laugh with you.

Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis 1964-2009
Rest the way you lived, Inyaface
Believe   
3/11/10 1:16 AM
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McLeod
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Amazing that was already one year ago.
I really do think about the man often, and it is good to see that the sport has not forgotten him either.
3/11/10 1:26 AM
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BurnBabyBurn
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The guy was a real inspiration.

He still is...
3/11/10 1:26 AM
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shootfightermike
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 ttt
rip
3/11/10 1:26 AM
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tumn
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Wow. time flies. RIP
3/11/10 1:32 AM
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rharris
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WEC, President
 My friend, my inspiration, my mentor...  Charles was a positive force in everyone he met..  he is dearly missed!

RIP
3/11/10 1:39 AM
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JoeTheWildRover
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wow ... I can't believe it's been a year already. rest in peace c.l
3/11/10 1:41 AM
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JujitsWho
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Edited: 03/11/10 1:43 AM
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Great thread.....Here is a great interview done with Punkass on the subject

RIP Mask.....you are missed

http://www.fiveknuckles.com/mma-news/A-Celebration-of-Life-Charles-Mask-Lewis.html
3/11/10 1:43 AM
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myrites
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Think of you everyday brother, miss you

Bobby Razak
3/11/10 2:00 AM
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Ryan Loco
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Loco Enterprises, Inc, Capitan de Awesome
Truly a class act, and an inspiration. Will never forget where I was when I got the news.

RIP Charles, and thank you
3/11/10 2:17 AM
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knockoutfighter
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MMA is nothe same without Charles. Rest in high spirit Mask!
3/11/10 2:22 AM
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RickyDerouen
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ttt rip
3/11/10 2:35 AM
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MMAPitbull
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RIP Charles. I can't believe it's been a year.
3/11/10 3:25 AM
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I Bake Cake
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Rest In Peace and Paradise.

6Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

7Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
- Ecclesiastes 12:6-7
3/11/10 4:13 AM
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Crooklyn
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TapouT Radio, Redneck Support Team
RIP Charles. You're missed and loved.  Believe.
3/11/10 5:21 AM
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shoman
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Edited: 03/11/10 5:21 AM
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Shomanart.com, Artist. TapouT Radio
Skrape's crash site tribute to Charles. Memories of Charles are everywhere. Gone but never forgotten.

3/11/10 6:07 AM
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BJM
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RIP Charles, you will never be forgotten. Your presence is entwined in the sport of MMA and will forever stay that way. I miss you my friend, more than words can convey.
3/11/10 6:17 AM
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The Swinging Richard
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RIP.
3/11/10 8:04 AM
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crazydave
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3/11/10 8:13 AM
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bongwater7654
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 R.I.P 
3/11/10 8:30 AM
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Train Judo
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best dude we had..RIP
3/11/10 8:35 AM
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Porkchop74
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RIP
3/11/10 8:36 AM
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Ramon Maroni
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RIP
3/11/10 8:56 AM
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Brian Ogle
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Respect.
3/11/10 9:08 AM
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Pernicious
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Great post, Kirik

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