Greetings, folks, Vince Mancini from FilmDrunk here to bring you this story tangentially-related to sweaty man-hugging, which is of course a passion of mine. The story concerns Tapout founder Charles “Mask” Lewis (center), who died in a car crash in March 2009. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Tapout, given that they’ve long helped sponsor fighters who wouldn’t have been able to make a living otherwise (which is great), but also promote the kind of cheesy, bro-y posturing that makes MMA look like pro wrestling, or an energy-drink commercial (not so great). In any case, Mask’s sister Carla recently filed a lawsuit, alleging that Mask’s partners in Tapout, the delightfully-named “Skyscrape” and “Punkass”, sold and/or gave away Mask’s cremated remains. Here’s TMZ‘s first report on the situation:
After Mask’s death, Carla claims she was approached by the co-founders of TapouT — men calling themselves Skyscrape and Punkass — who wanted to “borrow” Mask’s ashes and urn for a public memorial service.
Here’s where things get CRAZY — Carla says when she arrived to the memorial service, she noticed “various booths and tables” set up around the cathedral … one of which contained, “a large shoebox-size box containing several miniature vials that were on display.”
Carla says the vendor informed her, “each of the vials contained a small amount of the cremated remains of Mask, and were reserved for, and to be given to, ‘special people’ whose names were on a printed list.”
Carla believes somewhere between 50 to 100 vials were either “sold, given away, donated or otherwise distributed to several unknown persons.”
“I had no idea a guy in an afro wig and face paint named ‘Skyscrape’ could act so irresponsibly!” she added. Skyscrape and Punkass, meanwhile, deny ever selling the ashes. Meanwhile, the OC Register has a picture of the room in TapouT’s headquarter’s where Mask’s ashes had been stored, and man, get a load of this sh*t:
A little creepy, no?
The executive office of Charles “Mask” Lewis Jr. at TapouT headquarters in Grand Terrace is a cross between superman’s lair and the knights of the round table. “Mask” had just recently moved into his newly completed office just before his death. An urn with his remains sits on the desk in the middle of the room, April 8, 2009. [OCRegister]
In any case, it sounds like the situation has mostly been resolved:
Sources close to the situation tell Fighters Only that Lewis did indeed have a fractious relationship with his sister and that Caldwell [Punkass] and Katz [Skyscrape] did have some ashes placed in vials for themselves, though there was no mass distribution as Lewis’ sister claims and the vials were for personal use and not for sale.
US gossip site TMZ contacted the attorney representing Caldwell and Katz and were told that the pair admitted a “small amount” of Lewis’ ashes had been placed in vials. According to the attorney the pair feel “there is nothing wrong with dividing up a loved one’s ashes.”
The two have agreed to return the ashes to Lewis’ sister. Whether she will now proceed with an attempt to claim financial compensation remains to be seen. [FightersOnlyMagazine]
Oh sure, they all say they just distributed the ashes in small vials for close friends (uh.. perfectly normal… perfectly healthy…), but would anyone be surprised if the ashes eventually showed up in the ink for some limited edition snugtees with a bauble-breathing dragon spewing glitter onto a skeleton clown riding a Harley into the fires of hell? Hypothetically speaking, of course. Because it would go perfectly with my leather wrist cuff and shark-tooth necklace. I’m quite dangerous.