ByRyan Matsunaga, writer at
MMA fan, BJJ enthusiast, and Executive Publisher at Creators Media.
Ryan Matsunaga

Playing a badass in a movie or TV show doesn't count for anything in a real fight... but these six actors prove that just because it's on the screen, doesn't mean it's totally fake!

6. Ed O'Neill

Ed O'Neill's iconic turn as Al Bundy on Married With Children is just about the furthest persona possible from a martial arts-trained badass, but that role actually hides a very athletic background.

O'Neill was a football prodigy growing up, and went to college on an athletic scholarship. He was even signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a time as a free agent.

After being introduced to Brazilian jiu-jitsu through a friend, O'Neill immediately fell in love with martial arts. He's now been training for over 22 years under UFC co-founder Rorion Gracie. O'Neill even earned a black belt in BJJ in 2007, something he calls, "the greatest achievement of my life, apart from my children."

5. Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke is now in his 60s. You know what 60-year-olds should not be doing? Fighting in professional boxing matches in Russia.

Rourke is not your average senior citizen, though, and has been working on his fighting skills in addition to his acting career for decades now. He has 30 amateur fights under his belt, and is currently undefeated as a professional with a record of six wins and two draws.

Most recently, he fought in an exhibition match in Moscow in 2014, where he defeated a 29-year-old fighter by TKO. Rourke hasn't fought since, but as a huge fan of the UFC, he now trains in MMA to keep in shape.

4. Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes is easily one of the most iconic figures in action cinema, and if real vampires ever do show up he'll still be the man to call. Snipes is a fifth degree black belt in Shotokan Karate, a black belt in Hapkido, and has been cross-training in multiple other martial arts since he was 12.

There was even a brief window of time when an MMA fight was rumored between him and Joe Rogan, who himself is no martial arts pushover either!

3. Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan spent many years hosting the TV reality show Fear Factor, touring as a stand-up comedian, and providing color commentary for the UFC. He's anything but just an actor, though.

Rogan is a black belt in taekdowndo, and was the Massachusetts full-contact champion for four years in a row. He's also earned two (two!) black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, one under Eddie Bravo, and another under Jean Jacques Machado, both icons in the BJJ world. He's even had some kickboxing experience, holding an amateur record of 2-1.

2. Jason Statham

Jason Statham is one scary looking dude, but most people seem to think that it's all for show. In actuality, Statham is as capable of kicking butt as his action movie characters are.

He's been practicing martial arts since he was a kid, training in everything from karate to kickboxing, and even Wing Chun kung fu. Nowadays, he gets his workout advice from the legendary MMA champion Bas Rutten, and trains in Brazilian jiu-jitsu because it, "brings a bit of peace" to his daily routine.

If that's peaceful, I'm a little bit afraid to find out what Jason Statham considers stressful!

1. Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher has never really been known as a badass. Even in his acting roles he tends to play goofier characters. In real life, though, he's not someone you'd want to get in a fight with!

Standing 6 foot 2 inches tall, Kutcher received a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under legendary BJJ instructor Rigan Machado in 2014. Machado seems to think pretty highly of his pupil's abilities, and recently said that he'd bet his entire life savings on Ashton Kutcher beating Conor McGregor in a fight!

Kutcher seems pretty dedicated to his training too, and was even spotted last year rocking a black belt while working out with another legendary BJJ figure, Ricardo De La Riva (who invented the De La Riva guard, for my fellow jiu-jitsu nerds out there).


Latest from our Creators