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Jean Claude Van Damme and Jason David Frank (the Green Power Ranger and erstwhile MMA fighter) nearly got into a brawl at La Mole Comic Con recently in Mexico, with Jason going so far as to clinch the revered martial artist up against the wall.
It isn’t the first time the two have had beef. They rubbed each other the wrong way from the first time they met; in 2010, Frank heard Van Damme was looking for a real fight, and issued a public challenge. Nothing ever came of it, until this past Saturday, when they met at a Comic Con event they both were booked for in Mexico. Flo Combat’s Damon Martin interviewed Frank to explain:
“The promoter contacted me and asked if Jean Claude Van Damme could borrow my green room and share the room,” Frank told FloCombat in an exclusive interview. “The first thing in my head was yeah, he’s a big star, he doesn’t need to ask. I don’t hold a grudge. So I said yeah, I’ll share it no big deal.
“I never expected us to talk about old times or anything because it was so long ago and there was no response [about the fight]. I didn’t even think he knew about it. So they asked me to use the room and no big deal.”
As Frank told it, Van Damme and his security had completely claimed the room when he arrived. Instead of making a big deal out of it, he went to another room to wait for Van Damme to leave. Someone approached him to relay a request from Van Damme to take a photo together. But when he arrived in the room, it was clear Van Damme wasn’t there for a freindly photograph.
“All of his crew comes out and everybody has their cameras out and he has this professional camera, I’m not sure if he’s shooting a reality show or what, but all the cameras are on and he comes out of the room and straight up to me and he goes ‘hey you like writing articles about people, you want to beat my ass?” Frank said recounting the altercation. “You gonna apologize for that?’ and I said nope. He goes ‘you think you can still beat my ass?’ and I said yeah.
“He said ‘OK let’s do it right now’. I mean I thought it was all a joke but his security was all filming this and I heard them talking in the back and it was clear that he was trying to punk me. Either make me look bad or throw a punch first.”
At this point Van Damme put down his stuff, and Frank took off his necklace and watch. That’s when it got physical.
“I clinched him up and pushed him back, not in a violent way, in a respectful way that if you want to do this, let’s do this,” Frank said. “The whole time everybody is filming me and no security people are coming but everybody in his entourage is filming. So I clinched up with him and put him against the wall and he’s talking and he froze up and I raised my knee and said ‘do you want to this?’ and he doesn’t do anything so I let go.
“I backed away and he starts saying ‘well be careful what you say, you never know what I’m gonna do’. So that’s when it escalated and his security guy came in and broke it up.”
Frank said that once he let go of the clinch, and security arrived, Van Damme got belligerent again. In the video, you can hear Frank reference Chuck Zito, who infamously knocked out Van Damme with a two-piece combination at a topless bar in the 1990s.
“Security came and broke it up and that’s when he starts saying ‘f*ck you’ and I told him come on. Why don’t you come in the cage or the ring? Why are you doing this at Comic Con?” Frank said. “And then his security is trying to get my phone to take away the footage.
“My point is if he has all the footage and it’s gonna make him look really bad. It doesn’t belong at Comic Con. It belongs in a ring or a cage. I’m not bitter but he’s acting childish.”
He made it clear that, while he was not about to be punked in front of cameras, he didn’t start a fight. He clinched up with Van Damme because he thought a fight was imminent, but once he grabbed the movie star behind the neck, Van Damme didn’t do anything.
“I was on edge thinking he’s going to fight right now. He was trying to punk me so I got ready,” Frank said. “I wasn’t the aggressor but he showed no response. If somebody grabbed me behind the neck, I’d knock them out. I did that and he didn’t do anything. Security didn’t break it up. He’s got his whole entourage around us and they looked hungry. But when I threw that knee that didn’t even touch him and he cowered up.
“When I let him go, he starts popping off and then when security got all around him he starts popping off even more. I just told him don’t punk me. He was trying to punk me and bully me and I don’t do that.”
“I’m not going to get punked like that and I think he was shocked that I stood up to him,” Frank said. “I was never bitter and I’m still not bitter but I’m a fighter.”
Frank was clear in the interview and on Instagram afterwards that he doesn’t hold a grudge against Van Damme and still enjoys his movies, especially Bloodsport.
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