If you want to know me, watch me acting and fighting. How fighters and boxers conquer Hollywood
Widespread development and popularization of martial arts leads to more and more top fighters being sought-after not only in their main field. Many of them venture into acting and some of them even succeed. We in Harcord team love watching good movies as much as we love watching good fights, so we gathered a list of fighters/boxers whose talents go beyond the Octagon/ring.
Tyron Woodley (ММА)
Former UFC champion has long been working on two fronts, so to speak, and regularly appears in cameo roles in grade-B movies and shows. Perhaps, this is the reason for his rare appearances in the Octagon and frequent losses – it looks like the fighter found a new hobby and is ready to make some sacrifices for which he’s been criticized by his colleagues many times. His most colorful role was a walk-on part in the Escape Plan 2: Hades where he didn’t say a word but showed his impressive fighting performance.
Hawaii Five-0 (series, 2010 - …); The Night Shift (series, 2014-2017); Sultan (2016); Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016); Blunt Force (2014); Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018); Office Uprising (2017); The Favorite (2018).
Antonio Tarver (boxing)
Even though American ex-champion in boxing Antonio Tarver was able to appear only in one movie, the role was impressive. He acted as the main antagonist in one of the parts of the legendary boxing saga Rocky Balboa where he was able to defeat Rocky himself in an epic final bout. Besides, Tarver appeared in some cameos in several movies but it was the part of flamboyant Mason “The Line” Dixon that made him memorable not only to boxing but movie fans as well.
Filmography: Rocky Balboa (2006)
Michael Bisping (ММА)
Even though Michael Bisping was by no means always considered a promising fighter, and at one point was even dismissed at all, he was always one of the most stylish and impressive UFC fighters. Few believed this guy would be able to bite more than he can chew but he did. His actor’s career began in 2000s; however, after gaining his title and world fame, the fighter started flashing in movies of rather good quality and after retirement he began visiting studios even more often.
Filmography: Hollyoaks Later (series, 2008 - …); Strike Back (series, 2010 - …); Beatdown (video, 2010); Indebted (2010); Plastic (2014); The Anomaly (2014); MacGyver (series, 2016 - …); xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2016); Twin Peaks (series, 2017); My name is Lenny (2017); Den of Thieves (2018); Magnum P.I. (series, 2018 - …); Triple Threat (2019).
Tommy Morrison (boxing)
Unfortunately, life of the famous heavyweight boxer Tommy Morrison cut short tragically but this man had a chance to shine not only in the ring but on screen as well. Like Tarver, he appeared in the legendary boxing saga about Rocky Balboa. Morrison participated in shooting of the fifth part of the film and, as his abovementioned colleague, gave the main character an epic final bout which he, however, lost.
Filmography: Rocky V (1990), Cybill (series, 1995 – 1998).
Randy Couture (ММА)
The oldest champion in MMA history hung his gloves on the wall long time ago. However, he found his vocation in a new field and you can see him in films and series of almost any level of quality. His most famous movies are, perhaps, The Expendables where he appears in the company of many Hollywood stars. However, the fighter has already appeared in more than 20 other pictures.
Filmography: Cradle 2 the Grave (2003); No Rules (2005); The Unit (series, 2006 – 2009); Invincible (2006); Fighter (2006); Human Weapon (series, 2007); Big Stan (2007); Redbelt (2007); The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (direct-to-video, 2008); The Expendables (2010); Hawaii Five-0 (series, 2010 - …); Setup (2011); Hijacked (2012); The Expendables 2 (2012); Geezers! (2013); Rush (2013); The Expendables 3 (2014); Stretch (2014); Ballers (series, 2015 - …); Good Kids (2015); Range 15 (2016); Bill Nye Saves the World (series, 2017 - …); The Row (2018); Treasure Hunter: Legend of the White Witch (2018); The Hard Way (2019).
Roy Jones Jr. (boxing)
Even those far removed from the world of boxing heard this name just for once and heard about (or watched) the shows Roy Jones made in the ring in his younger days. But not everyone knows the legendary boxer has a rather impressive actor’s portfolio including such masterpieces as The Fighter, Universal Soldier 4, and The Matrix Reloaded.
Filmography: Married… with Children (series, 1987 – 1997); The Wayans Bros. (series, 1995 – 1999); The Sentinel (series, 1996 – 1999); Arli$$ (series, 1996 – 2002); New Jersey Turnpike (1999); Access Granted (series, 2000 - …); The Matrix: Reloaded (2003); The Fighter (2010); Universal Soldier 4 (2012); Southpaw (2015); Blaq Gold (TV, 2015); 86-32 (2016); Casualties Of War: Women and the Regime (2017), Creed II (2018).
Georges St-Pierre (ММА)
Even though the actor’s portfolio of one of the main champions in the history of UFC Georges St-Pierre can’t be called huge, he had a chance to appear in several good pictures including the famous Marvel saga Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Despite having little screen time for Canadian fighter, he was able to arrange quite a mayhem for Captain America himself.
Filmography: Never Surrender (2009); Hell's Chain (2009); Death Warrior (2009); Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014); Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016); Cartels (2017).
Wladimir Klitschko (boxing)
Boxing career of Wladimir Klitschko is something he can certainly be proud of. After retiring, the boxer committed to business and succeeded. Rumors say it that Klitschko-junior may follow in his brother’s footsteps and become a politician. On top of it, Wladimir participated in a series of movies and films but, of course, his main pride is his Klitschko biopic that was crucially acclaimed and awarded. Klitschko was even married to a famous Hollywood actress Hayden Panettiere, so cinematograph was always a part of his life.
Filmography: Ocean’s Eleven (2001); Keinohrhasen (2007); Chris Cornell: Part of Me (2008); Keinohrhasen 2 (2009); Pain & Gain (2013).
Keith Jardine (ММА)
Former heavyweight fighter Keith Jardine couldn’t boast of a successful MMA career but thanks to his flamboyant looks he was able to find a good job outside of the Octagon. The fighter regularly appears in film and series episodes in which he usually plays a bad guy who wants to “kick anyone’s ass”. It’s worth noting that, unlike St-Pierre, his actor’s resume is something that can make many actors envy.
Filmography: Beer for my horses (2008); Crank: High Voltage (2009); Gamer (2009); Death Warrior (2009); Unrivaled (2010); Hawaii Five-0 (series, 2010 - …); Shameless (series, 2011 - …); Recoil (2011); Tactical Force (2011); Verdict (TV, 2012); Longmire (series, 2012 – 2017); From dusk till dawn (series, 2014 – 2016); The Night Shift (series, 2014 – 2017); The Last Ship (series, 2014 – 2018); John Wick (2014); Inherent Vice (2014); Stretch (2014); The Return (2015); Blindspot (series, 2015 - …); War on everyone (2015); Shot Caller (2015); Preacher (series, 2016 - …); Restoration (2016); MacGyver (series, 2016 - …); Logan (2017); Bethany (2017); Busy Day (2017); Midnight, Texas (series, 2017 – 2018); An American in Texas (2017); Only the Brave (2017); The Punisher (series, 2017 – 2019); Godless (miniseries, 2017); Bird Box (2018); The Kid (2019); Chambers (series, 2019 – …); L.A.’s Finest (series, 2019 - …); The Cardinal Sin (2019).
Mike Tyson (boxing)
This guy needs no introduction. Tyson made a name and now his name works on him. Ok, he played himself in most of his films which doesn’t require much of an acting but the popularity his image enjoys and the demand he’s still generating deserves the highest accolades.
Filmography: Webster (series, 1983 – 1989); Whitney Houston: I Belong to You (video, 1991); Crooklyn Dodgers: Crooklyn (video, 1994); Black and White (1999); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (series, 1999 - …); Play It To The Bone (1999); P. Diddy Feat. Black Rob & Mark Curry: Bad Boy for Life (video, 2001); When Will I Be Loved (2004); Entourage (series, 2004 – 2011); How I Met Your Mother (series, 2005 – 2014); Rocky Balboa (2006); The Hangover (2009); Brothers (series, 2009 - …); Every Little Step (video, 2010); Tyson Unleashed (video, 2010); When Harry Met Sally 2 with Billy Crystal and Helen Mirren (video, 2011); Breaking In (series, 2011 – 2012); The Hangover Part II (2011); Franklin & Bash (series, 2011 – 2014); Shashlyk II (TV, 2011); Herman Cain's Campaign Promises with Mike Tyson (2011); Oscar Talk (2011); Yahoo! News/Funny or Die GOP Presidential Online Internet Cyber Debate (2012); Cain Time Live (2012); Scary Movie 5 (2013); My Last Chance (2013); Signal Lost (2013); Mike Tyson Mysteries (series, 2014 - …); Gates Of The Sun (2014); Entourage (2015); Yip Man 3 (2015); Meet the Blacks (2016); Reality Queen! (2016); China Salesman (2017); Tour de Pharmacy (TV, 2017); Kickboxer: Retaliation (2018); Girls 2 (2018); Public Disturbance (2018); A Madea Family Funeral (2019).
Tito Ortiz (ММА)
In his younger days Tito Ortiz was a rather bright character of the MMA world and his actor’s career began in 2000s. The more popular and recognized he became, the more often he was offered a role in various movies and series that piled up in his resume. In the last few years he appeared in many pictures and is currently working in several movie projects at the same time, so be ready to see him on screen.
Filmography: Cradle 2 the Grave (2003); CSI: NY (series, 2004 – 2013); Numb3rs (series, 2005 – 2010); The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005); Venice Underground (2005); Valley of the Wolves: Iraq (2006); The Dog Problem (2006); Zombie Strippers (2008); Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (2017); Silencer (2018).
Lennox Lewis (boxing)
Lennox Lewis is not only one of the best heavyweights in history but a great fan of movies, and this love once led to a tough loss for him. Before his first bout against Hasim Rahman that he approached as a topdog the actor spent more time on the set of the Ocean’s Eleven than in the gym which turned a painful loss for him. Apart from a cameo in this iconic movie, Lewis acted in several other projects and was even a producer of his own short film.
Filmography: Arli$$ (series, 1996 – 2002); Ocean’s Eleven (2001); R. Kelly: Feelin' on Yo Booty (video, 2001); Johnny Was (2005).
Ronda Rousey (ММА)
American fighter Ronda Rousey was a face of women’s MMA in her time and even though her career there was short, she was able to become a superstar and a highly sought-after figure in all spheres of show business. Maybe her acting skills leave something to be desired but she still managed to appear in a series of box-office blockbusters. It even reached the point where she was supposed to receive a leading role in the remake of iconic Road House but the plan never happened.
Filmography: Drunk History (series, 2013 - …); Total Divas (series, 2013 - …); The Expendables 3 (2014); Fast and Furious 7 (2015); Entourage (2015); Blindspot (series, 2015 - …); Mile 22 (2018).
Jake LaMotta (boxing)
The legend of boxing Jake LaMotta was known for his unstoppable fighting spirit and furious temper that fully confirms the saying about a talented man. LaMotta was able to show worth not only in the ring but on stage as well. He had a chance to be both an actor and a screenwriter while his actor’s portfolio counts more than a dozen pictures.
Filmography: Rebellion in Cuba (1961); Car 54, where are you? (series, 1961 – 1963); The Hustler (1961); The Trials of O'Brien (series, 1965 – 1966); The Runaways (1965); La violenza dei dannati (1965); Confessions of a Psycho Cat (1968); Cauliflower Cupids (1970); Who Killed Mary Whats'ername? (1971); Firepower (1979); Tom Waits: Downtown Train (video, 1985); Hangmen (1987); Maniac Cop (1988); Mob War (1989); Question d'honneur (1997).
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (ММА)
One of the most successful actors in our list of MMA fighters is legendary Quinton “Rampage” Jackson who showed rather great acting skills long before he ended up on big screen. Unlike most of his colleagues, “Rampage” not only managed to appear in cameos but also had one of the main roles in the remake of the iconic action film The A-Team. In the last few years his fighting career is more like of formal character and it’s possible we’ll see his king charisma on screen in the near future.
Filmography: Confessions of a Pit Fighter (2005); Free Radio (series, 2007 - …); Bad Guys (2008); The Midnight Meat Train (2008); Miss March (2009); Never Surrender (2009); Hell's Chain (2009); Cubed (series, 2009 - …); Death Warrior (2009); The A-Team (2010); The World's Worst Bodyguard (2011); See Dad Run (series, 2012 – 2014); Fire With Fire (video, 2012); Vigilante Diaries (2016); Never Back Down: No Surrender (video, 2016); Boone: The Bounty Hunter (2017); Cops And Robbers (2017); Duel of Legends (2018).