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Jean-Claude Van Damme used to be a bouncer for Chuck Norris

Before Jean-Claude Van Damme was an action movie star for Hollywood, he briefly served as a bouncer for the badass himself Chuck Norris

Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport

Jean-Claude Van Damme is one of the toughest action movie stars around, with numerous classics under his belt. Before Hollywood, he’d a varied career being a general tough guy, including serving as protection for one of the baddest of them all, Chuck Norris.

The meeting happened soon after Van Damme arrived stateside from Belgium. At this point, Norris was running a bar in Long Island, and in addition to training together, Van Damme got work as a bouncer for the venue. In an interview The Hollywood Reporter, Van Damme confirmed this was all true, and spoke about why his talents were needed to keep the peace.

“American people are big people. I didn’t have any fights, thank God. I was a good schmoozer, simpatico, and no incident happened,” Van Damme recalled. He and Norris would train three days a week while Van Damme worked evenings, and we’d like some form of comedy series that re-enacts this stretch of time. Just a pair of martial arts enthusiasts, staying lean during the day, then enjoying the nightlife of their own bar. It writes itself.

Of course, Van Damme got his big filmmaking break towards the end of the decade, with ’80s movie Bloodsport. He went on to star in Universal Soldier, Timecop, and numerous other great thriller movies.

More recently, he’s been in the Kung Fu Panda animated movies, and a Kickboxer reboot in 2016. Norris, widely regarded as one of the hardest men alive, enjoyed a prolific career thanks to a string of pulpy action flicks, and the TV series Walker Texas Ranger. He’s not someone we’d have imagined ever needed much protecting, but this was all a different time.

Guess we finally know who might be hardcore enough to guard even Chuck Norris, and it’s Jean-Claude Van Damme. Have a look at the best robot movies for more inhumanly powerful beings.