It’s common to hear about MMA fighters like Randy Couture becoming actors but in this case it’s the other way around. Jason Frank, the 35-year-old actor best known as Tommy Oliver, AKA the Green Ranger on the long-running MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS TV series is planning to become a professional MMA fighter.
Frank has signed on with Suckerpunch Entertainment and is currently training with UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard.
In an interview conducted with Suckerpunch, Frank talked about building on his 23 years of martial arts experience with specific skills required in the ring. “I have my blue belt in BJJ from Gracie Baja now, but we needed to have that ground game integrated into Tose Kune Do. There was a blank there. So we added wrestling, BJJ, etc. to it. Melvin Guillard has really helped add the wrestling. I needed to get with someone who could put it all together for me.
In taking on this challenge Frank didn’t forget his fans. “I’m not looking for any titles specifically,” said Frank. “Ultimately, I want to give my fans something to watch and be proud of.”
Although no specifics were given, Suckerpunch stated that Jason Frank’s first MMA match will take place within the next two months.
In closing, Frank called on his fans to back him and expressed enthusiasm for proving he’s not just a screen fighter. “Please support my fights, and I hope I put on a good show. It won’t be any putties or monsters at the end of my fists and feet. It’s going to be for real this time.
Update: While cruising Youtube in search of recent footage of Jason Frank I came across a panel discussion at the 2009 Anime Festival Orlando where the actor explains in greater detail his reason for going into MMA. If you watch the beginning of part 4 of 6 videos from the hour-long panel you’ll hear the following.
I really wanted to have your guys support as far as my fights coming up … But that was the plan, to get back into the light that way, instead of being an actor. Now when you get back into that light acting starts happening again. You get back into that light, ‘Oh, we saw Jason on TV. Oh, we’re going to get him for a movie.’ ‘Cause all these UFC guys are doing movies now… and they’re horrible movies. They don’t know how to act.
Frank goes on to express his distaste for a couple of recent films that featured MMA action and top UFC fighters and he explains a desire to prove himself outside the ring.
I went back to get into the limelight again so that I can get more, I guess, credit from producers. Like, ‘Oh yeah, he can fight.’
So it’s looking like Frank is hoping to work his way into professional MMA fighting so that he can not only be noticed by film producers and get some choice action roles but also prove to those same producers, and perhaps the fans, that he’s more than just an ex-Power Ranger. If he pulls this off, maybe there will be a place for him in an EXPENDABLES sequel or Isaac Florentine’s next movie. Personally, I think this is a great move for Frank and MMA. It’s getting him major attention and it’s going to cause more people to check out MMA.
Jason Frank • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers • MMA