Van Damme vs. Seagal: The $20M Fight That Never Was

Van Damme vs. Seagal: The $20M Fight That Never Was
Photo by Dan Burton / Unsplash

In a recent revealing interview with the U.K.'s The Telegraph, martial arts icon and Hollywood star Jean-Claude Van Damme dropped a bombshell on his decades-long, infamous feud with fellow action star Steven Seagal. Van Damme, 63, claimed that back in the 1990s, film producer Peter Guber offered both him and Seagal a staggering $20 million each to settle their differences in the ring at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Astonishingly, Seagal turned down the lucrative offer.

Van Damme, who is currently promoting his new venture into the world of spirits with his Irish whiskey brand, Old Oak, did not hold back when discussing the details of his rocky relationship with Seagal, 71. The feud, which has been public knowledge for quite some time, reportedly originated from Seagal’s disparaging comments in the early 1990s, casting doubt on Van Damme’s legitimacy as a martial artist.

"Kids' stuff, kids' stuff,” Van Damme responded dismissively when prompted about a particular incident at a party hosted by Sylvester Stallone in 1997, where Seagal allegedly refused a challenge to a physical altercation. "People told me [Seagal] doesn't speak so nicely about me. I don't know why," Van Damme expressed, clearly bemused by the animosity.

The Belgian actor, celebrated for his roles in classic action films such as "Bloodsport" (1988) and the more recent voice acting role in "Minions: Rise of Gru" (2022), did extend some compliments towards his American counterpart. He acknowledged Seagal's charisma, citing his first movie as evidence that he knew Seagal would make it in the industry. "Even now, with his overweight years, he's got this Steven Seagal way of talking,” Van Damme added, hinting at the distinctive persona Seagal carries with him both on and off the screen.

However, when the conversation steered back to the hypothetical scenario of a fight between the two, Van Damme laid out his strategy with a chuckle. “If him and I fight, I run faster than him – much faster. I would run away. He’s going to try to catch me, he’s going to get out of shape. I come back and fight. Do you like the technique?” he quipped, highlighting his agility and stamina as his strengths.

The ongoing feud between Van Damme and Seagal has been a subject of fascination and amusement for fans and media alike for decades. Stories and anecdotes of their supposed run-ins and verbal jabs have fueled the narrative of an intense rivalry, whether real or perceived. Van Damme’s latest revelations only add another layer to the lore of what could have been one of the most epic showdowns in celebrity and martial arts history.

While Seagal's representatives have yet to respond to these claims, the story has already taken the internet by storm, sparking debates and discussions on various social media platforms. Fans are speculating, fantasizing, and even humorously lamenting the missed opportunity of witnessing these two martial arts juggernauts go head to head in the ring.

What remains clear is that this story, regardless of its veracity, has once again ignited the public's interest in the Van Damme-Seagal saga. It serves as a testament to the enduring legacy and larger-than-life personas of these two action stars, whose impact on the world of martial arts and cinema continues to resonate with fans across generations.

As the world reflects on this tantalizing tidbit from the past, one can't help but wonder what could have been if Seagal had accepted the challenge and stepped into the ring with Van Damme. Would it have been a fight for the ages, or would it have simply added another chapter to their long-standing rivalry? We may never know, but for now, fans can relish in the fantasy and the intrigue of the $20 million fight that never happened.