It makes perfect sense when you think about it. A generation of martial artists that grew up with Street Fighter. Of course they're going to copy the characters they once played in video games.
But according to (brilliant) MMA journalist and analyst Jack Slack, the influences flow both ways. Games were influenced by real life fighters, who then influenced new fighters, who are now influencing video games. Such is life.
UFC heavyweight and kickboxer, Pat Barry famously remarked that one of his greatest fighting inspirations was Sagat from Street Fighter, also ranking Sagat top on a list of men he wouldn't want to fight, above Mike Tyson. Yet a young Barry might have been unaware that Sagat was largely inspired by the real Muay Thai icon, Sagat Petchyindee. So Barry was inspired by a video game character, which in turn was inspired by a real life fighter. Convoluted, but also sort of wonderful!
Today, on VICE's martial arts portal 'Fightland', Jack Slack has put together a great little article about the back and forth flow of video games and martial arts. He's one of my favourite writers in any discipline so I thoroughly recommend giving it a read.