DVD REVIEW: TapouT - The Complete Series
A no-holds barred look at the world of MMA...
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If you’re a fan of mixed martial arts, you’re familiar with both the term “tap out” as well as the sportswear company TapouT. The first, a term used in reference to someone giving in to an opponent, has been common place as an expression of exhaustion and surrender; the later, a true rags-to-riches story of three friends who created and developed an iconic company within the fastest growing sport in the world. Now, fans of the sportswear company can watch the complete Versus TV show TapouT and follow the daily adventures of three of the most recognizable, non-fighters in all of MMA.
Founded in 1997, TapouT originally sold t-shirts out of the back end of a car at mixed martial arts events. Now, 13 years later, it’s the most well-known and successful mix martial arts clothing line in the world and banking $100+ million a year in sales. Versus, hoping to capitalize on this trend, developed a TV show with TapouT. The show, which originally aired from June 2007 to December 2007 and then again from May 2008 to October 2008, had a seemingly short, 20 episode live span. However, within those 20 episodes, viewers watched as the company’s founders Charles “Mask” Lewis, Jr., Dan “Punkass” Caldwell and Tim "SkySkrape" Katz travelled the country in the customized RV in search of new fighters and sponsors. Each episode follows a new fighter and their training, culminating in a professional fight. Likewise, the show follows Mask, Punkass, and Skyskrape’s own adventures as they struggled to deal with the uncertainties, victories, and defeats which highlight and haunt the mixed martial arts industry.
TapouT: The Complete Series, available now on DVD, captures these two seasons well, documenting the successes, struggles, and failures that go with being a big business (sportswear) attached to a big business (MMA fighting). While it may seem formulaic, the show itself does a solid job of keeping with the attitude of the TapouT company – never quit, never surrender. Funny that…the company’s quest being in complete opposition with the company’s name.
As a fan of MMA in all its forms, I enjoyed TapouT for what it is – a reality show exploring one aspect of the mixed martial arts industry, and the men who dared to challenge the norm well over a decade ago and their amazing success today thanks to a bit of luck, a little skill, a load of commitment, and a lot of hard work.
The episodes themselves each focus on TapouT-sponsored fighters throughout the country – everyone from a female fighter and a momma’s boy to a full-time police officer, a farmer, and a homeless fighter in need of support. Truly a look “behind the scenes” of the modern day MMA, you won’t see much of the flashy, show-stopping UFC here. Instead, viewers gain exposure to the reality of the small-town athlete who dreams of someday making it big and headlining a main event.
Presented in full screen and with Dolby surround sound, the video is low-resolution, clear and easy to watch. Worth noting, the set is spread across 5 discs and come in a massive slipcase-type container. While I’m all for multi-discs sets (when warranted), I don’t think the massive box was a necessity. There are no subtitles or special features of any kind and, while it would have been appreciated, the low cost of the complete series – at $15 – makes the lack of extras understandable.
Though it’s never mentioned, it should be noted Charles “Mask” Lewis, Jr. was killed in an automobile accident in March 2009. While this might not change what is shown in the series, it certainly changes the way in which one watches it. No doubt Mask – the vibrant, hilarious, and energetic core of the TapouT team – lives his life to the fullest in each and every episode, laughing it up with friends and colleagues as well mentoring and guiding young fighters as necessary. Though his life was too short, there’s no doubt he lived a life full of reward, joy, and well-earned success, helping amateur fighters become better – both in and out of the ring.
TapouT: The Complete Series is available now on DVD for around $15. For those fans of MMA who want an better “behind the scenes” look at the world of MMA, check out TapouT. At less than $1 an episode, this 20-episode series is packed full of good fights, great laughs, and an interesting, educational and realistic look at how things in the MMA industry really happen.
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley