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That time Jean-Claude Van Damme accidentally kicked UFC star Cody Garbrandt in the face


Back in November, the man, the myth, the action-movie legend Jean-Claude Van Damme showed up at Team Alpha Male’s gym in Sacramento to do some training with UFC star Cody Garbrandt. Things quickly went horribly awry — and viral.

Here’s a two-minute recap of the moment sparring with the Muscles from Brussels got a little too real.

ROB HICKMAN, PRODUCER/GARBRANDT’S FRIEND: Jean-Claude is a good guy, just a little misunderstood. I worked on Kickboxer: Retaliation with Jean-Claude, and after Cody’s fight, he called and said he’d love to work out with him.

CODY GARBRANDT, FORMER UFC CHAMP: I’d FaceTimed with Jean-Claude a few times, and I like him. But I’d just lost my title, and my teammates had taken him out the night before. He showed up late, and I think he was sweating out the alcohol. When I said I was ready to spar, he said, “First, we stretch!” He started stretching my legs in places they didn’t want to go, and he was sweating all over me. He was running around, all excited, just sweating on everybody.

URIJAH FABER, EX-UFC STAR/TEAM ALPHA MALE FOUNDER: After the stretching, we were all just messing around with Jean-Claude, and he and Cody started play-fighting and jousting back and forth. It was light stuff — until JCVD did a spinning back kick and didn’t pull the kick. Cody has a temper as it is, and now he was pissed.

GARBRANDT: His heel landed right in my mouth, and it knocked my teeth loose. I’d heard he’d done that before with other fighters, and I was super annoyed, and I began to walk away. Then he dropped down to his knees and started crying.

FABER: He was screaming, “I’m so sorry! I can’t believe this is happening! Oh, my god!”

HICKMAN: Cody had two ways to go: leave or rip Jean-Claude’s head off. He walked away because it was the respectful thing to do.

JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME, THE MUSCLES FROM BRUSSELS: I had tears in my eyes because I was afraid the Alpha team wouldn’t like me anymore and then I’d be unable to train. In a dojo, when you hurt someone in the old Japanese time, you have to go on your knee and ask for forgiveness. I did that because Cody is a champion.

FABER: I talked to Jean-Claude, and he was crying because he really cared what we thought. He asked me, “Do you guys still like me?” I said, “Yes, we still like you. Everything will be OK.”

GARBRANDT: Things cooled down pretty quickly afterward, and then Faber had a barbecue at his house a few days later, and Jean-Claude came. We’re all good now.

VAN DAMME: I shouldn’t have touched him in the head, even lightly. It was my mistake. I’m so sorry, and I want to continue to train Cody in martial arts.

GARBRANDT: I’d say the same thing I said afterward [to TMZ]: I’d definitely beat Jean-Claude in a fight. But we can heal our relationship and maybe work together again someday.





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