Charles “Mask” Lewis. Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle.com
Charles Lewis Jr, better known to mixed martial arts fans as “Mask”, was reportedly killed in a car accident early this morning in Newport Beach, California. Lewis founded the popular “Tapout” clothing line in 1997 and eventually turned it into a multi-million dollar company.
From MMA Weekly:
At 12:57 a.m., a Newport Beach Police cruiser spotted Lewis’ red Ferrari and a white Porsche driving out of control on the southbound side of Jamboree Road, according to Lt. Jim Amormino, a public information officer with the Orange County Sherrif’s Department.
The Ferrari then struck the curb and hit a utility pole, tearing the car in half. After coming to a brief stop, the Porsche fled the scene. An unnamed female passenger was ejected from Lewis’ car in the crash. Newport Beach paramedics pronounced Lewis dead at the scene.
Newport Beach officers later spotted the Porsche and stopped its passengers, a male and female, who were seen walking away from the vehicle. Upon further investigation officers determined that the male, Jeffrey David Kirby, a 51-year-old resident of Costa Mesa, Calif., was the driver of the vehicle.
Kirby was arrested for gross vehicular manslaughter and taken to the Newport Beach Police Department. The female passenger, Lynn Marie Nabozny, a 32-year-old resident of Newport Beach, was arrested for public intoxication and released Wednesday morning. Kirby’s bail is set at $1 million dollars. The results of a blood alcohol test administered at the jail are forthcoming. No further motive for the accident is known at this time, according to Amormino.
This is absolutely horrible news. Mask’s contributions to the sport are endless. He sponsored fighters with money out of his own pocket at times when the big-time shows were taking place on dirt-floor arenas and it seemed like things would never change. It’s hard to think of another person that gave as much of their life to the sport as he did.
Bottom line: Mask gave a shit about the sport at a time when very few others did. Love him or hate him for his lifestyle, personality, or the way he dressed, he is one of the reasons why MMA is still around and flourishing today. I hope that he will be honored as such.
Our condolences go out to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.
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