Jean Claude Van Damme has officially announced he will fight in K-1 against former two time Olympian, Somluck Kamsing. Kamsing won two gold medals for Boxing in 1994 and 1996 in the Featherweight division. Van Damme, a black belt in Shotokan Karate, had a 20-2 record in Karate before acting in movies. However Karate is different then fighting K-1.The rules of K-1 are similar to kickboxing, the difference being knees are legal. K-1 is the UFC of kickboxing and would be the ultimate goal of any kickboxer. Fighters who have fought in K-1 Include Ernesto Hoost, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filopovic, and Jean Claude Leuyer, whom Van Damme has been confused with many a time.
In a internet video, Van Damme announces publicly he will be fighting in K-1. He continues on with his reasons. After his fall from glory years ago, he wants to redeem himself. "I did my Rock n Roll type of life, I fell down (to) rock bottom. I've got that spot following me. About Van Damme is drinking, Van Damme is doing Cocaine." As he begins to talk about the kids who used to look up to him and who he feels he let down, he gets choked up. Emotionally he begins to state his intentions of getting his life back on track and truly redeeming himself to the fans. I'm rooting for him, Bloodsport is one of my favorite martial arts movies. I've been a fan of his for awhile.
He was very heart felt and candid by the end of the video. In the beginning it seemed to be more about proving his martial arts validity when erroneously said,"It will be the first time in history I believe that a so called movie star, which I'm a normal guy, is going to go into the ring to maybe represent a validity from those action stars in Hollywood."
By the title you may have wondered who was the first. Ernie Reyes Jr. was the first martial arts movie star to fight in a top league on television. His debut was in 1998 in Milan against the current ISKA and WKA Champion at the time, Anthony Elkaim. This was the first match against a known Hollywood actor and a professional martial arts fighter in history. Reyes knocked out the champ with a right hand in the third round. This was also the first major broadcast for Strikeforce which is now one of the largest MMA leagues on the planet. It aired on ESPN. He went on to fight Veasna Thach on Strikeforce which aslo aired on ESPN in 1999.
More recently Steven Seagal trained Lyoto Machida for UFC 123 as seen in a youtube video that had everyone talking. His opponent, Rampage Jackson, didn't really seem to care when asked on TMZ about it. Ironically, Lyoto Machida lost that match on november 20th.
First Ernie Reyes Jr. knockouts a kickboxing/muay thai champion, then Jean Claude Van Damme fights in K-1 and Steven Seagal is training UFC fighters. Will this become a hollywood trend for martial arts movie stars to distinguish which ones are for real and which ones aren't?