Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
RZA, star and director of the upcoming martial arts film, "The Man With The Iron Fists," says Cung Le is a 'true' martial artist and has shown that real martial arts can work in MMA.
To say Cung Le is a busy man would be an understatement.
From preparing for his upcoming headlining bout against Rich Franklin next weekend (Nov. 10, 2012) at UFC on Fuel TV 6, which will go down on Cotai Strip, Macaua, to promoting his upcoming martial arts film "The Man With The Iron Fists," which opens in theaters nationwide tomorrow (Nov. 2, 2012), Le has been doing a good job at keeping it all together.
It's not the first time Le has tried to juggle both careers. He has been doing it successfully for the past three years, spending time in Hollywood filming major-motion films such as "Tekken," "Fighting" and "Pandorum," just to name a few, as well as handling business inside the cage, capturing the Strikeforce Middleweight title in 2008 by defeating Frank Shamrock.
In fact, it was that performance in 2008 that caught the eye of Grammy Award-winning hip-hop Legend, RZA -- who stars in and wrote and directed the film -- and helped Le land him his latest role as "Bronze Lion," in the film.
Leader of the Wu Tang Clan, the infamous rap group who have often connected ancient martial arts with their hip-hop urban style, RZA saw in Le what he felt was an important factor to play the character ... a "true martial artist."
In an interview with Steph Daniels of Bloody Elbow, (which you can view in it's entirety by clicking here) RZA talked about the spirit Le possesses and the reason he believes the former kick boxer embodies what it means to be a "true martial artist:"
"Cung Le was actually brought to my attention by a buddy of mine, Bokeem Woodbine. Bokeem is an actor, but he's also a martial artist, so when Cung was having his fight with Shamrock, Bokeem had a fight party at his house. He had called me up and told me, 'You've got to come out to my house and watch this guy Cung Le. He's one of my favorite fighters, and he's using real martial arts.' People don't think that real martial arts can work in MMA, but Cung has been proving that it can. He broke Shamrock's arm with a kick. From then on, in my head, Cung Le was a true martial artist, in every sense of the word, and then I got a chance to meet him. I forget who hooked the meeting up, but when I met him, he just had such a great spirit, beyond his martial arts skills. I knew that he would be great as Bronze Lion."
For those of you thinking RZA simply walked on the set as an "actor," don't get it twisted.
In preparation for his role in the film, he spent a couple of months training Hung Ga, a Chinese martial art and declares himself a Shaolin disciple as well as a Chi Gong practitioner.
Meanwhile, Le looks to build on his momentum from his previous victory a UFC 148, a decision victory over long-time Veteran Patrick Cote, as he steps into the Octagon to face former 185-pound kingpin, Rich Franklin, in China.
Sanshou for the win.