The 1988 cult martial arts flick ‘Bloodsport’ has long been a guilty pleasure for fight fans. Said to be based on the true events of Frank Dux – played by Jean-Claude Van Damme – the film was for many an introduction to the notion of mixed martial arts.

Bloodsport showcases the story of American Dux who participates in an underground mixed martial arts tournament called the Kumite – a sometime deadly event that attracts the cream of the world’s fighters.

Styles performed include Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Ninjitsu and wrestling. The three ways to win are cited as; via knockout, submission or throwing an opponent out of the fighting arena (a slightly raised floor).

At the end of movie, after Frank Dux wins, his alleged real-life record is displayed before the end credits.

From 1975 to 1980 Frank W. Dux fought 329 matches.
He retired undefeated as the World Heavy Weight
Full Contact Kumite Champion.

Mr. Dux still holds four world records:

Fastest Knockout – 3.2 seconds
Fastest Punch with a Knockout – .12 seconds
Fastest Kick with a Knockout – 72 mph
Most Consecutive Knockouts in a Single Tournament – 56

Such statistics are highly impressive (even giving Rickson Gracie a run for his money). But are they credible?

Type the name ‘Frank Dux’ into an online search engine and you’ll be bombarded with the word ‘fraud’. Indeed Dux is one of the most maligned fighters in the martial arts community.

Some sources state that many of the American’s claims are fallible – even going as far to say that the Kumite never existed.

Shortly after Bloodsport was released in 1988, an editorial written by an LA Times reporter accused Dux of living in a fantasy world.

It states that Dux’s Kumite trophy didn’t come from a 1975 tournament win, but rather it was merely ordered and picked up by him at a trophy shop just a few miles from his Southern California home.

In 1996 Dux authored a book about his alleged career in the CIA called Soldier of Fortune.

Responding to this release Soldier of Fortune magazine Dux got into hot water again in August 1996 when Soldier of Fortune magazine printed the article ‘Full Mental Jacket,’ and a November 1998 article titled ‘Stolen Valor: Profiles of a Phony-Hunter.’

In the articles, Dux was lambasted for falsifying his military record, with photos of him in a military uniform that brandishes both Army and Marine medals.

Dux claimed that he was the target of a smear campaign by the magazine and sued for libel and slander.

Much of the scepticism over Dux’s achievements and the Kumite stem from the fact that there are little or no hard facts to prove their validity.

In an interview with Martial Arts Illustrated Dux discussed the Kumite and how it’s still shrouded in secrecy.

Some people had a hard time believing the event occurred because you rarely hear about the other fighters and there were some really great ones. For instance, when somebody asks me, did you really fight my instructor and give me a name I shrug my shoulders.

He added: ‘We rarely knew each other by are names due to fear that at any moment the doors to the room could be kicked in and we would end up jailed, with all the gambling going on. There was the fear, what if we killed or accidentally injured somebody, as well.’

Interestingly UFC 1 veteran Zane Frazier received his shot in the octagon on the back of flooring Dux in a fist fight – after the two settled a personal dispute at a martial arts expo.

Having seen Frazier show impressively at a karate tournament, Art Davie, creator of the UFC and Royce Gracie visited the expo to check out Frazer further. Needless to say he made quite an impression.

The fracas is documented in the book ‘No Holds Barred’ by Clyde Gentry.

‘So when Frazier confronted Dux at the expo, the bad blood came to a head. Dux tried to push him away but a quick exchange of punches and kicks gave Frazier the upper hand. Royce Gracie was there to see it, while Art Davie bore witness to the aftermath. “Wow! You are definitely in the UFC. Hell I don’t need to see anymore,” said Davie. “You beat the Bloodsport guy!”

Regardless of what’s true or false about Frank Dux, the guy is definitely a colourful character and he will always have a strong following of loyal students who hang onto his every story.


Matt Hyde