Ask Punkass

Dan “Punkass” Caldwell is one of the founding members of the MMA giant TapouT. He, along with Tim “Skyscrape” Katz and the late Charles “Mask” Lewis, went from selling t-shirts out of the trunk of their car to running a multi-million dollar mixed martial arts empire. As part of their expansion, they partnered with Champion Nutrition to launch TapouT Sports Nutrition – a high quality supplement line available at major retailers such as Punkass took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of your readersubmitted questions. Then it was back on the road to the next show. Ahh, the life of a rock star. If you forgot to submit a question this month, don’t worry. Mike Brown will join us next month to tackle your inquiries. Submit your question now to AskChampion@ or visit fightmagazine. com/ask.

Hey Punkass. I’m having some trouble with my girlfriend not appreciating my love of MMA. How did you deal with people telling you that MMA was dumb and giving you grief about the sport you love? Juneau Waterloo, ON

It’s probably a little different in my situation. When people gave me shit, I just didn’t pay any attention to them because I was gonna do what I was gonna do no matter what. I made sure to keep all those voices out of my head. That said, since it is your girlfriend, I’d recommend trying to get her involved. Take her to a fight. You’d be surprised how much females enjoy the sport once they are exposed to it. Every girl that I’ve ever taken to a show has become a huge fan of mixed martial arts. MMA is so amazing live that it’s not hard to convert someone into a fan.

I know you’ve been training for a while. Have you ever thought about competing in a pro MMA fight? Armando Marshville, NC

I did think about it. But, anything that I decide to do, I do it 150%. I just don’t have it in me to do anything half-ass. So when we started TapouT, I just didn’t have the time to put in the training that I would have needed to compete at a high level. I’ve continued to train for the love of the sport, but I had to focus on the business and keep my eye on making TapouT what it is today.

When you guys hit the road in the TapouT bus, what is it like? You guys partying like rock stars or is it more low key and relaxing? Jasan Fremont, CA

We certainly have out moments, you know. I certainly can’t speak about everything that goes down on the bus, that’s for sure! There are some dead times where we’re just relaxing and enjoying hanging out, but there are some times that get out of control. You can imagine how boring it can get being on the road for a couple of months straight. So, we like to have fun and mix it up a bit.

With MMA and TapouT really starting to break into the mainstream, what big plans do you guys have in store for 2010? Andrew Gatesvill, NC

We’re really excited about this TapouT Nutrition thing we’ve got going. We’ve got great partners in the venture and we’re really looking to expand our categories. We’re branching out abroad as well. We’re going to continue to spread the word about mixed martial arts in any way we can. We’re showing the world that there are top-notch, organized companies in MMA with broad infrastructures. We feel we can go out there and hang with the best.

What advice would you give an aspiring mixed martial artist? Don Denver, CO

Some of the best fighters are still undiscovered. So you’ve gotta get out there and get noticed. Get good management. You have no business negotiating your own contracts and sponsorship deals. Network. Make sure to train at a good camp. Treat yourself like a business. And of course, win your fights.

Running a multi-million dollar business has got to be stressful. What do you do to relax and forget about it all? Tyler New York, NY

I’ve got a punching bag that I like to take some frustration out on every now and then. I work out and train which helps a ton. I also like to take drives up the coast, go to the beach. Something about driving for a hour or two and letting my mind roam free, it really calms me down and gets me level.

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