Jackie Chan Does Not Like MMA

By Jake Rossen Jan 19, 2010
Jim Schmaltz is a colleague and sometimes-boss of mine. When the Lionsgate publicity department extended an invitation to screen “The Spy Next Door,” a family comedy best enjoyed by the young and slow-brained, I suggested to Jim he attend. His enthusiasm was contagious.

“Uh,” Jim said. “Uh, I can.”

The point was not to force Jim to suffer through “Spy,” which anecdotal reports indicate not even Amber Valetta could salvage, but to corner star Jackie Chan and ask him his opinion of mixed martial arts. (This is a hobby of mine: ask action film stars what they think of this gruesome business. I once asked Dolph Lundgren how Ivan Drago would do in an MMA fight. I am 31 years old.)

“You can ask Jackie what he thinks of MMA,” I said.

“Uh,” Jim said. And then, realizing a screening would get him out of the office, he was off.

When he called from the junket, I was disappointed to learn that Chan was cool to the question posed during the roundtable interview session. “Jackie doesn’t like MMA,” Jim said.

“Oh. Does he not like it, or does he just not know much about it?” I was trying to give Jackie any out I possibly could.

“No, I don’t think he likes it.”

Jim was correct. “I don’t like to see Ultimate Fighting,” Chan said. “As a martial artist, I find it too violent putting them in a cage. At the end, it’s not fighting anymore. That’s not the martial arts. Martial arts is about respect. When somebody is knocked down, stop. I really respect Sugar Ray Leonard. Come on, [when a guy is down] stop. Don’t fight. That’s not the spirit. When you’re down, I’ll grab you up. Are you okay? Should we continue? That’s the martial arts spirit. That’s what I want.”

This means we will not see Jaden Smith landing elbows from the mount in Chan’s upcoming “Karate Kid” Xerox. (Worse: no one will be landing elbows on Jaden Smith.)

Chan is an impossibly nice man. Perhaps he was put off by Jim’s “Death Clutch” t-shirt. A shame all around.

Side note: does anyone know how to contact Jeff Speakman?
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