Before the UFC, it was very difficult for martial artists to make a lot of money. Many high level athletes were forced to settle for paying their bills through teaching, and competing for little or no money when the opportunity arose. The big money was to catch-on in Hollywood, maybe doing stunts, or possibly even being the star themselves.

When UFC veteran Oleg Taktarov came to the United States it wasn’t to compete in the UFC, it was to make it in Hollywood! Taktarov was already a 2x World Sambo Champion before moving to the United States, but those accolades would not earn him nearly as much money as playing a bad guy Russian in action movies would.

from Pinterest
from Pinterest

The UFC was just something he could do on the side while trying to become the next Dolph Lundgren. Taktarov is still acting, and has been in movies such as Bad Boys II, Miami Vice, and in the latest Predators remake. He also starred in a Russian cop show back in 2013.

If the UFC had been doing big business in the 90s, things could have turned out very different for the people on this list.

Here are 6 action stars of the 1990s who could have joined the UFC…

from YouTube
from YouTube

6. Jean-Claude Van Damme

The 1990s would have been Jean-Claude Van Damme’s peak years as a mixed martial artist, but since there was no money in it at the time he spent those years in Hollywood instead.

Throughout the 90s, JCVD starred in movies such as: Universal Soldier, Last Action Hero, Street Fighter and Double Team.

Van Damme was an accomplished martial artist before heading to Hollywood. He is a 2nd degree black belt in Shotokan karate and has an 18W-1L pro kickboxing record, having last fought in the early 1980s.

YouTube video

Previous articleMichael Bisping: I’m Healthy Enough to Fight GSP, But Not Jacare
Next articleReport: Ronda Rousey Could Join WWE After She Retires
Ian is a MMA writer based out of Toronto, ON Canada. An avid mixed martial arts enthusiast and passionate fan since he was born, Ian has been writing about mixed martial arts for over 5 years.