This is not going to appear on any MMA-related link dump, nor am I going to be nominated for an award for my witty and insightful perspective. That's not what this is about.
It's about the influence one man had on another and the journey he embarked on.
When Tapout founder Mask entered a room, everyone's spirit got brighter, or so I am told. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet Charles Lewis Jr., although I've seen just about every video interview he's done.
If you're reading this, then I need not tell you how or why Mask was special because you already know. I don't need to explain the impact this man had on the sport of mixed martial arts or the lives he's changed over the years. The work he started so many years ago is still going on today and is the source of many fighters' joy.
Mask's life mantra was "Simply Believe." He told anyone that would listen that if they could dream it, they could achieve it. You know what? I believed him. I took him at his word, and I chased my dream.
It started off as a silly notion that I could make a profit covering the sport I love. I had the passion, drive and skill to do it but had no plan. What I lacked in direction I more than made up for in belief that one day I could make it. After plugging along and writing for a little-known blog, the opportunities started to line up. I was even asked to contribute to the next issue of Tapout Magazine.
In a very short span of time, I went from sitting on the couch just wishing I could be an MMA writer to actually doing it. I've overcome self-doubt and criticism since chasing my dream, and in the end Charles' words always remained true. I attribute a lot of my success to my willingness to take chances and risking falling on my face. But as he said, "At least I tried."
Thank you, Charles. Thanks for believing in MMA, Tapout, the fighters, the UFC and everyone with a dream.