Street Fighter Influenced Real Life Fighters, And Now They’re Influencing Street Fighter

Street Fighter Influenced Real Life Fighters, And Now They’re Influencing Street Fighter

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.



  • I think Blood Sport’s 1988 flick (obviously not real life) with Jean-Claude Van Damme inspired or influenced several fighting games…Mortal Kombat being one.

      • And funnily enough, a couple of years after MK1 was released in Amusement Arcades… JCVD played Guile in the Street Fighter Hollywood Movie 😀

  • And M.Bison, the japanese name for the boxer character (Balrog in other regions) was the inspired/rip off of Mike Tyson

  • Fighting games have always been about providing players with fantasy match ups. Until recently it was most likely to be actors (pretty much every fighting game has a “Bruce Lee”, etc.) but it makes sense that MMA fighters are starting to have an influence.

    Tekken was always pretty shameless about its characters. Marshall Law = Bruce Lee, Lei Wulong = Jackie Chan, Marduk = Nathan Jones, etc. Basically they do professionally what every single person who’s ever been given a character creator does.

  • Street Fighter 4 introduced Abel, the first MMA Street Fighter character – and my main 🙂

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!