New Reality TV Show has Van Damme Training for Real MMA Fight

Folks, I shit you not, this is real. My daily perusal of ESPN doesn’t yield many nuggets that translates into posts on this site, but man did it pay off today. Here are the facts: 49-year old Jean-Claude Van Damme is currently training for a real fight against a Thai fighter named Somluck Kamsing, who according to the Muscles from Brussels is 12 years younger and has 300-plus bouts to his credit. Kamsing is also a former featherweight boxer and Gold medalist from the 1996 Olympic Games. And Van Damme? Well, he’s got a reality TV show to sell, so there you have it.

“It’s the first time in history a guy at 50 will go for a real fight in Macau [China],'” [Van Damme] told gathered media at a news conference in the Ukraine last week. “It’s kind of dangerous, but life is short.”

The primary impetus for the fight, which is set to take place sometime in 2010, is apparently a new reality TV show that will star Van Damme. The show will consist of 36 episodes, with the last 12 following the former ’90s action star as he preps for his big, real-life fight. Which begs the question: wait, we have to sit through 24 episodes before he even starts training for the fight? What’s in the first 24 episodes, Van Damme stretching and getting his back waxed?

Here’s Van Damme talking about that fight at the aforementioned press conference. It sure sounds like he’s got it all figured out. Kinda.

Here’s a pic of the two would-be fighters. Kamsing confirmed the match to a Thai site way back in 2009. The fight venue has apparently been switched from Vegas to Macau. Kamsing’s take:

“I never thought about this possibility at all, but all the sudden Van Damme’s team called me, saying they tracked me down from a hotel employee who knew me. They want me to fight with muaythai style, except the elbows because they don’t want his face to get bruised, because he is an actor.”

Heh. “Look, we want you to fight him, but — don’t hit him in the face!” Hilarious. Kamsing also mentions something about Van Damme being bigger than him. Um, no he’s not, dude. You guys are basically the same height and size as far as I can tell from the pic.