Back in the 1980’s and 90’s Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal were masters of the action flicks. They competed for the dollars of teenage boys who thought they were quite possibly the baddest men on the planet. Their well choreographed fights were enough to convince the unknowing that there were few, if any, who could take them in a real fight.
Of course they should be forgiven since those were the days before the UFC rose to fame and the internet came along to expose the truth. The only thing to cast doubt on their dominance were a few martial arts magazines, and those were unlikely to expose the truth since they were looking to make a buck from their images just like the movie studios.
Times have changed and no longer do young men wait anxiously for the next ‘Bloodsport’ or ‘Above the Law’ to hit the screen. Instead, grown men may watch these old films for the nostalgia factor and laugh at the current ‘B’ movies both have starred in over the past decade, remembering there was a time when they took them seriously.
While most of America no longer considers them to be the ultimate tough guys, it’s clear they both still take themselves very seriously. Over the past few years Steven Seagal has been linked with such standout fighters as Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Jon Jones, even taking credit for much of their success. Surprisingly, none of the fighters mentioned have come out and denied his influence, even if they don’t necessarily give him the credit he gives himself.
This has perplexed many in MMA who wonder what Seagal’s real role is in the sport. King Mo and Robert Drysdale have both been vocal in wondering if it is all some joke being played on the MMA community. Drysdale commented “I don’t get all that. It must be some kind of joke, right? Surely they don’t take him serious.”
While the truth of Seagal’s influence over the best fighters in the world may or may not be a joke, one man who apparently doesn’t think it’s funny is Jean Claude Van Damme. Besides some incredibly painful to watch, awkward embrace of Fedor in a PRIDE ring years ago, Van Damme has mostly been reduced to a spectator role until now.
Once again ready to take on Seagal, Van Damme recently put up a video on his Facebook page of himself training with MMA superstar Georges St. Pierre, setting up the debate of which washed up action star has the most clout in the UFC. On the one hand we have Steven Seagal, who apparently taught Anderson Silva the front kick that knocked out Vitor Belfort, and on the other we have Jean Claude Van Damme who is working out and giving technique tips to Georges St. Pierre.
Of course there is the possibility of this all leading to an epic conclusion. If the rumored UFC super fight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre ever takes place, it will be the showdown we never got but always wanted. Through their fighters we will finally see who would win between Seagal and Van Damme, if only twenty years late.