Last night, I got a phone call from a friend.
“I just saw a homeless man wearing a Tapout shirt.”
“Really?” I said. “What do you think that means?”
“It means,” he said, “Tapout shirts are the new Yankees caps.”
Now, this was a pretty audacious claim, I’ll admit, but it got me thinking about the importance of apparel to our “sport.”
Many of us, myself included, think of MMA as a movement—like skateboarding, punk rock, pop art, or beat writing—rather than a plain old sport, like football or golf. Every movement needs its own style, its own music, it’s own literature, and mythology, and Tapout shirts have certainly crossed over into the zeitgeist.
In fact, I’ll bet that a good portion of the hipsters in Tapout shirts have less knowledge of MMA than college kids do of Che Guevara, the man whose face sits proudly between their boobs and pecs.
[As an aside, I'd like to refer these kids to Steven Soderbergh's two part epic, "Che," staring Benicio Del Toro, that came out last year in limited release; and I think ALL OF YOU should check out "The Girlfriend Experience," Soderbergh's new film, starring the ridiculously beautiful Sasha Grey, about the life of high end New York call girls. Not exactly Godard, but pretty close.]
Anyway, I’m drifting…
I think it’s a good time to pause and acknowledge the cultural contributions of the late Charles “Mask” Lewis and his business partners, Punkass and SkyScrape, the founders of Tapout clothing, who have certainly done their part in transforming MMA from a piece of pie crust into a legitimate slice of American life.