The cover story in this week's print product, about the not-so-pretty side of the Lingerie Football League, includes an interview with league founder, Mitch Mortaza, who created the first Lingerie Bowl seven years ago.
The slick self-proclaimed millionaire, whose record includes arrests for drunk driving and public intoxication, wasn't new to lowbrow entertainment. In the late '90s, Mortaza appeared on an episode of the show Blind Date.
Video of the episode, after the jump.
The episode aired about 10 years ago.
Notice the neon tan that glares under the high-powered lights and the shirt unbuttoned to his diaphragm. He said his nickname was "Razor" and his biggest turn-on was "toe rings." He called himself "the king of one-night stands" and told the camera, "I'm not out there lookin' for nuns." He showed up for his date wearing a black tank top, a shell necklace, a thumb ring, and a pair of designer sunglasses he didn't remove all night -- even inside the candlelit restaurant.
Mortaza has also been accused of dodgy business practices. Though this year's championship is called Lingerie Bowl VII, there was no Lingerie Bowl VI. Last year's game was canceled when Mortaza and the luxury nudist resort where he hoped to hold the game couldn't agree on a nudity policy for the audience.
More recently, the website the Smoking Gun published an email reportedly from Mortaza to a player who had written to him about disorganized practices. Mortaza replied: "Let me give you a little advice and this goes for any other player creating unnecessary drama. Simply SHUT UP and play football." He added that he wished the player would stop showing up "so we have reason to terminate you and assess the termination fine."
In December, when a group of former players complained that the league should be covering their medical bills, league lawyers sent out a threatening letter saying, "Evidence gathered indicates that you have all participated in the posting of false and defamatory internet posts regarding the Lingerie Football League, its current players, and league staff... These posts give rise to a cause of action for defamation, among other things."
When I spoke to Mortaza in February, he was very professional. I asked him if he thought his league exploits women.
"People who say that, it's a knee-jerk reaction," he told me. "It's completely understandable, but I can assure you, I'd put my very expensive mortgage up in Hollywood that they've never seen a game. If you see a game, you're not going to come to that conclusion. These women come from all walks of life. They're confident. We have an 85 percent college graduate rate. I put that against any men's league."