Bloated B-movie action star, Steven Seagal, has become something of a punchline in mixed martial arts (MMA), after former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, used a “marketing lie” to convince combat sports fans he was trained by the Aikido master ahead of this sensational knockout.
In fact, Seagal tried to parlay that success into a coaching gig for reigning 205-pound champion, Jon Jones, who was baffled by the “strange” request. Not that “Bones” was against a celebrity trainer, he was just hoping for someone a little more relevant at the time, like Wushu master Jet Li.
And while most critics will point to over-the-top demonstrations like this one, where the 67 year-old part-time musician singlehandedly disposed of an army of Sambo specialists, UFC color commentator, Joe Rogan, insists Seagal is, in fact, an outstanding martial artist.
As if we didn’t already know that after watching this.
“He’s outstanding,” Seagal told UFC bantamweight Aljamain Sterling. “His Aikido is outstanding. There’s black and white footage of him teaching at a dojo in Japan. He is 100% legit. The thing is, Aikido is just not something that translates perfectly to MMA. In its applications, he’s a master at it.”
Hurting his credibility, and perhaps the credibility of Aikido, are stories of Seagal getting choked out by “Judo” Gene LeBell while filming Out For Justice back in 1991, something ex-UFC champ Ronda Rousey threatened to replicate nearly 20 years later.
“Much like jiu jitsu has its applications, but it’s not great for kickboxing,” Rogan said. “Taekwondo has its applications but it doesn’t work if you kick the legs and punch the face. But if you learn how to do [Aikido], those techniques can apply if you know all the other stuff. Well, if you know all the other stuff, this motherfucker has some real shit. You would have to be so good at all the other stuff that you could utilize this.”
I guess there’s only one way to find out. Paging Randy Couture!