TapouT Theater Is a Mixed Martial Arts Knockout
Custom electronics pro enlists TruAudio to build custom speakers for MMA company’s Gladiator-themed Charles "Mask" Lewis memorial theater.
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March 16, 2010 by Tom LeBlanc

Punkass is how Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fans know him.

He’s also known as Dan Caldwell, co-founder and CEO of TapouT, a company embedded in the MMA industry.

The fighter/executive set out to have an elaborate theater built at TapouT’s Grand Terrace, Calif., headquarters and enlisted San Bernardino, Calif.-based Audio Video Evolution (AVE) to install the electronics. (Click here to view additional photos.)

Why does a corporation need an elaborate theater? Well, TapouT — which says it manufactures a “countercultural” clothing line and produces a “raucous” reality show — isn’t a typical corporation.

A Little Background

Caldwell and a fighter called SkySkrape are both TapouT-sponsored MMA fighters.

A third TapouT-sponsored-fighter, Mask, a.k.a. TapouT co-founder Charles Lewis Jr., died after a car accident in March 2009.

“Movies have always played a big influence in Charles’ and my lives,” Caldwell says. “Movies can be escapism and have helped influence creativity. When everyone else was out partying and hanging out, me, Charles and Skrape would be watching the newest flicks at the theaters.”

When Marc Kreiner came on board as TapouT’s president, Caldwell says he and Lewis marveled at his home theater. “After seeing that, we said we were going to build a movie theater in our office one day.

“TapouT has always been on the forefront of Mixed Martial Arts and with that comes the responsibility of educating the consumer. Visual media is a big part of what TapouT does.

“We produce commercials, short documentaries and films — all used to help promote the sport. So building a movie theater seemed like a good fit.”

The project began just before Lewis passed away on March 11, 2009. “I know he would have loved to have seen how it came out,” Caldwell says. “When I sit in the theater it definitely makes me think about him and how he inspired people. We want to use the movie theater to continue to inspire everyone.”

As such, it’s called the Charles Lewis Jr. “Mask” Theater.

Tough Technology

The 93-seat theater allows TapouT to easily get its 150-plus employees in there in two shifts and keep them up to date. “It is a great place to show our new commercials and films, also to conduct meetings to keep our employees excited about what we do here,” Caldwell says.

Much of what the TapouT team watches in the theater relates to fighting, which influenced the audio and video choices. “I wanted the person to feel like they were actually there at the fight,” Caldwell says. “Because we needed so many seats in the theater, I wanted every seat to have the same experience. So the speakers needed to be clear and able to perform at high levels.

In terms of technology, AVE and TapouT chose:

  • TruAudio speakers, most of which had to be custom-created
  • A 197-inch masking Stewart Filmscreen (76.5-by-180-inch for 2.35; 76.5-by-136-inch for 16:9 aspect ratio)
  • projectiondesign Avielo Optix projector
  • B&K Reference 70 receiver
  • B&K Reference 200.7 and 200.5 amps
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