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Jean-Claude Van Damme wanted to fight Steven Seagal in Sylvester Stallone's back yard

Jean-Claude Van Damme wanted to fight Steven Seagal in Sylvester Stallone's back yard

Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal nearly came to blows in Sylvester Stallone's back garden after a years-long feud

They’re undoubtably two of Hollywood’s biggest hardmen, but Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal once nearly came to blows in the back garden of another silver-screen superstar, Sylvester Stallone.

Of course, when you get that many muscle men in the same place – putting aside their celebrity egos – there might be a bit of friction, but it seems as if this JCVD and Seagal beef runs quite a bit deeper than your average celebrity feud.

The pair both have a background in martial arts – Seagal is a 7th dan in Aikido and Jean-Claude was a karate champion – and both became huge stars in movies during the 80s and 90s.

However, it seems to have kicked off when Seagal started questioning the fighting credentials of the man nicknamed ‘The Muscles from Brussels’.

Speaking on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1991, Seagal first cast his aspersions on the karate claims of Van Damme.

Steven Seagal criticised Van Damme on TV back in 1991.

Hall described Van Damme as a martial arts champion who was part of the Belgian Karate Team that won the European Karate Championship in 1979, prompting Seagal to say: “I just promised all my mentors I was going to be a good boy.

“I think that’s a matter of opinion he was a champion anywhere. I’m not being catty or anything, I wish the guy all the best. But there are an awful lot of people who say that’s not true.”

Three years later, Van Damme had his own say in an interview, seemingly setting the tone for their future set-to in Stallone’s back yard.

“Well, he’s a good guy, but he’s too tense,” Van Damme told MovieLine. “I saw him in Planet Hollywood and I said, 'Hey, Steven, you speak bad about me on TV. Why?'

“I said, ‘Come on, look, I’m a nice guy. Am I a bad guy?’ I shook his hand, he relaxed. Hey, it’s okay if he wants to say things. It’s not my problem.”

So, to the back garden we go.

It all happened in 1997 when there was a party at Sly’s Miami house, with attendees including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Shaquille O’Neal, and – of course – Seagal and Van Damme.

Talking to FHM in 2008, Sly said: "At a party in my home in Miami in 1997, Van Damme was tired of Seagal claiming he could kick his a** so he offered Seagal outside into my backyard."

Sly’s mind was made up on who would have emerged victorious.

He continued: “Seagal made his excuses and left. But Van Damme, who was berserk, tracked him down at a nightclub and offered him out again.

Jean-Claude Van Damme made his name in films like Bloodsport.
Warner Bros.

“Van Damme was too strong. Seagal wanted none of it."

When asked about this later on his own TV show, Steven Seagal: Lawman, the Marked for Death star said: “It would be like me squashing an ant. If he sees me he runs.”

However, his Belgian counterpart later told radio shock-jock Howard Stern: “That evening I think Steven was kind of tipsy tipsy happy, like I was sometimes and I don't know maybe.

"It all started on The Jay Leno Show years ago when Jay asked to Steven Seagal, 'You know Van Damme?'

"And he said, 'He is not good in martial arts', but he never met me though. And also it's like... That's when it started I guess."

Both men are getting on these days, but with the rise of celebrity boxing, could we finally see this beef squashed once and for all?

Featured Image Credit: Patrick AVENTURIER/Gamma-Rapho/Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images

Topics: Celebrity, Film and TV, Sylvester Stallone, Weird