KEY POINTS

  • Action star Michael Jai White used to spar with professional fighters
  • White recalled becoming embarrassed during a sparring session with Michael Bisping
  • The 53-year-old insists he sparred with world-class fighters because fighting is his passion

Hollywood action star Michael Jai White has sparred with an array of world-class fighters, and there were some that he would never forget.

Apart from being known for starring in action movies such as “Spawn” and “Undisputed 2,” White is also a decorated mixed martial artist. In fact, he used to join training camps of professional fighters, doing a couple of sparring sessions with them ahead of a big fight.

In a recent interview with VladTV, White recalled “the most embarrassing sparring session” he had. According to the 53-year-old, it was when he became out of breath after finishing just one round of sparring with former UFC champion Michael Bisping.

“A few years ago, when Michael Bisping was getting ready for Georges St-Pierre, we were in Thailand,” White recalled. (I told Bisping) ‘we’ll do some sparring and get you ready. I feel like I’m always good for at least three five-minute rounds, I’m not that bad. (But) man, that was the most embarrassing sparring sessions I ever had.”

“I was sparring with Michael Bisping, (and) my wind just left,” he continued. “I had not been so tired, the first round, we were just moving around and it’s like I cannot breath. They were ready to do the second round whatever, I was like ‘I’ll just be your punching bag.’ I felt like an idiot. My conditioning was so bad.”

In the past, White had also sparred with Mike Tyson, whom he portrayed in the 1995 movie “Tyson,” and another former UFC champ Jon “Bones” Jones.

Reflecting on the said sessions, the Brooklyn native set the record straight and bared that he sparred with big-name fighters because he always had a passion for fighting and not because of anything else.

“People might think ‘Oh I sparred with all these champions because I’m trying to connect heads or whatever.’ (But) no, that’s not what it’s about. (It’s because) I love it,” the veteran actor pointed out. “I started out as a street fighter. And the thing I did best in life was fighting.”

“When I put my mind on something and I gotta do it, I know what I’m made of,” he added. “So to spar with Mike Tyson or whomever, or to face a situation where I can be overwhelmed, I’m not dominated or whatever. So going to spar with Jon Jones, it’s like ‘I might come back without a tooth.’ That’s the thing! I’m going there knowing there’s a certain danger there.”

Jon Jones UFC Jon Jones was dropped from UFC 200's main event after testing positive for a banned substance. Photo: Getty