Cung Le

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Cung Le
Cung Le
Le on the set of Inside MMA in August 2009.
Born (1972-05-25) May 25, 1972 (age 42)
Saigon, South Vietnam
(now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
Nationality American
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1]
Weight 186 lb (84 kg; 13.3 st)
Division Middleweight
Reach 69.0 in (175 cm)
Style Kickboxing
Stance Southpaw
Fighting out of San Jose, California
Team American Kickboxing Academy, Universal Strength Headquarters
Trainer Bob Cook
Rank      Black sash in Sanshou
     First degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do
     Blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu [2]
Kickboxing record
Total 17
Wins 17
By knockout 12
Mixed martial arts record
Total 12
Wins 9
By knockout 8
By decision 1
Losses 3
By knockout 3
Other information
Website www.cungle.com
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Cung Le (Vietnamese: Lê Cung; born May 25, 1972) is a Vietnamese-American mixed martial artist, actor, and former Sanshou kickboxer currently competing as a Middleweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, holding a record of 2-1 with the organization. In Sanshou, he is a former International Kickboxing Federation Light Heavyweight World Champion, having a professional Sanshou record of 16-0 before moving to mixed martial arts (Le also held an undefeated kickboxing record of 17-0). He defeated Frank Shamrock to become the second Strikeforce Middleweight Champion before vacating the title to further pursue his acting career. Le is perhaps best known in mixed martial arts for competing in Strikeforce, holding a record of 7-1 with the organization before its demise.

Background[edit]

Le was born in Saigon, South Vietnam (now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). In 1975, a week before the Fall of Saigon, Cung Le and his mother Anne left Vietnam by helicopter under heavy gunfire. Le's father stayed in Vietnam and was caught as a prisoner.[3] After a few months in a refugee camp in Philippines, Le ended up in San Jose, California, where early discrimination and bullying inspired him to learn martial arts. His mother enrolled him in Tae Kwon Do classes at the age of 10. Le began wrestling competitively at age 14 after being inspired by Sylvester Stallone´s Rocky and earned All-American Honors in his junior year of high school. He went on to wrestle for West Valley College in Saratoga, California and won the California Junior College State Championship in the 158 lb weight class in 1990. Le also has disciplines in a variety of martial arts such as Judo, Kuntao and Sambo. He began training in Sanshou and Kickboxing around age of 19 because it suited up well with his Tae Kwon Do and wrestling background. Le held an undefeated professional kickboxing record of 17-0 and is a three-time world champion in kickboxing.

Sanshou career[edit]

Le is undefeated in his Sanshou career (17–0).[4] He has won three US Open International Martial Arts Championships (1994, 1995, 1996). In 1998 he won the Shidokan tournament championship.[5] He has also won 4 US National Championships (Orlando, Florida 1994, Dallas, TX, 1995, Baltimore, MD, 1997). He earned three bronze medals in his amateur Sanshou world competition compiling an overall amateur record of 18–3. He has been a three-time captain of the United States teams that competed and was the U.S. team captain at the World Wushu Championships in 1997 (Italy) and 1999 (Hong Kong). On December 15, 2001 he defeated Shonie Carter by unanimous decision in San Jose, California to win the IKF International Kickboxing Federation Pro Light Heavyweight Sanda World Title.[4] In May 2003, Le entered into K-1 competitions where he garnered a 3–0 career record, including 1 knockout.[4]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Strikeforce[edit]

Le made his mixed martial arts debut at Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie on March 10, 2006, at the HP Pavilion at San Jose, knocking out kickboxing rival Mike Altman at 3:51 of the first round. Le first met Altman in San Jose, 1999 in a kickboxing bout where he defeated Altman via a body shot in the third round. Three months later he faced KOTC veteran Brian Warren, knocking him out at 4:19 of the first round. Le had also faced Warren in a K-1 Sanshou bout where he won by decision. At Strikeforce: Triple Threat on December 8, 2006, Le defeated UFC veteran Jason Von Flue in 0:43 of round 1 when the fight had to be stopped due to a cut from a kick strike. Le went on to fight Tony Fryklund who had just suffered a spectacular loss to Anderson Silva. Like Silva, Le beat Fryklund via TKO due to strikes late in the third round. Soon after Le fought Sammy Morgan at Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives where he won the bout via TKO.

On March 29, 2008, Le defeated a long time MMA veteran Frank Shamrock in a fight co-promoted by Strikeforce and EliteXC at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Le won via TKO when Frank Shamrocks' right arm was broken after a series of kicks (ulna broken), making him the new Strikeforce Middleweight champion.On September 17, 2009, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker announced that Le had relinquished his belt after securing a major motion picture deal.[6]

After 21 months since his last fight Le returned to Strikeforce to face Scott Smith at Strikeforce: Evolution on December 19, 2009. Le suffered his first MMA defeat, losing via TKO at 3:25 of the third round. After the match, Le expressed interest in an immediate rematch with Smith. His wish was granted on June 26, Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum in which Le defeated Smith via TKO in the second round to avenge his only MMA loss at the time.[7]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Le has said that it’s basically the UFC or bust for him at this point in his fighting career. “I know for a fact that if I do fight again, it’s going to be in the UFC. I’ve never fought in the UFC, but I would love to fight in the UFC. But right now because of my contract with Showtime and Stikeforce, hopefully things can work out because there is a show in San Jose that Cain Velasquez is the main event. I would love to fight in San Jose for the UFC ....” said Le.[8] In an interview with BloodyElbow on October 27, 2012, Le revealed he originally signed a six-fight contract with the UFC.[9]

Le was briefly linked to a matchup with Vitor Belfort on November 19, 2011 at UFC 139.[10] However, Belfort was removed from the bout and replaced by former PRIDE FC Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva.[11] Le managed to confuse Silva with his unorthodox kicks, and landed a spinning backfist that dropped Silva. During the second round, Silva managed to shake Le with huge punches and knees that completely broke Le's nose. Le was stunned, bloody and fell to the ground, and the fight was stopped by the referee.[12] Afterwards in the press conference, Dana White commented that it was a good stoppage and that Cung was taken to the hospital.

Le was scheduled to face former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin on July 7, 2012 at UFC 148.[13] However, due to an injury to headliner Vitor Belfort, Franklin instead faced Wanderlei Silva in a 190 lb catchweight rematch on June 23, 2012 at UFC 147.[14] Le instead faced former title contender Patrick Côté.[15] He earned his first UFC win via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Le faced Rich Franklin in the main event on November 10, 2012 at UFC: Macao.[16] Cung Le won the fight via KO with a powerful hook punch at Franklin's head at 2:17 in the first round.

The Ultimate Fighter: China[edit]

In November 2013, it was announced that Le would serve as the chief coach and mentor on The Ultimate Fighter: China, the China-based version of The Ultimate Fighter which later began airing in December 2013.[17]

After over a year-and-a-half of being away from competition, Le faced Michael Bisping on August 23, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 48.[18] After an even start, Le was cut around both eyes in the second round, as Bisping began to land the more powerful strikes. Bisping eventually won the one sided fight via TKO in the fourth round.[19]

Acting career[edit]

Le co-starred in the live-action Tekken film, based upon the popular martial arts fighting game, as Marshall Law, released November 5, 2009 for the American film market. Le had supporting roles in the science fiction film Pandorum with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster, and Fighting, released in 2009 alongside Channing Tatum. He also starred in a Hong Kong martial art film Bodyguards and Assassins, which was released on December 18, 2009; his film was the first time he worked with and had a fight scene with Hong Kong martial arts superstar Donnie Yen.

He also appeared in a Vietnamese music show Paris By Night 99 - Tôi Là Người Việt Nam where he was interviewed by Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen; this show also marked one of the few times Le has spoken Vietnamese on camera.

Le had a lead role in the 2012 action film Dragon Eyes, costarring Jean-Claude Van Damme and produced by Joel Silver. The movie is based on the Akira Kurosawa classic Yojimbo and is "MMA-themed".[20] Also in 2012, Le played Bronze Lion in The Man with the Iron Fists, a film directed by RZA.

In 2014, he starred in Puncture Wounds, an action film directed by Giorgio Serafini, co-directed and written by James Coyne.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Le has two sons with his ex-wife.[22] He and his second wife were married in August 2009.[23] The couple had their first child together in 2010.[24]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Amateur wrestling[edit]

Kickboxing[edit]

  • Ho Tet Tae Kwon Do
    • Ho Tet Tae Kwon Do Tournament 1994 Grand Champion
  • USA International World Championships
    • 1996 Continuous Sparring Tae Kwon Do World Champion
  • World Wide Draka Federation
    • 1998 Draka Tournament Winner
  • Shidokan Cup Bare-Knuckle Full Contact Karate
    • 1998 Shidokan Cup U.S. Tournament Winner

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Submission grappling[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 9–3 Michael Bisping TKO (knee & punches) UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Le August 23, 2014 4 0:57 Macau, SAR, China
Win 9–2 Rich Franklin KO (punch) UFC on Fuel TV: Franklin vs. Le November 10, 2012 1 2:17 Macau, SAR, China Knockout of the Night.
Win 8–2 Patrick Côté Decision (unanimous) UFC 148 July 7, 2012 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 7–2 Wanderlei Silva TKO (knees & punches) UFC 139 November 19, 2011 2 4:49 San Jose, California, United States Fight of the Night.
Win 7–1 Scott Smith TKO (spinning back kick & punches) Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum June 26, 2010 2 1:46 San Jose, California, United States
Loss 6–1 Scott Smith TKO (punches) Strikeforce: Evolution December 19, 2009 3 3:25 San Jose, California, United States
Win 6–0 Frank Shamrock TKO (broken arm) Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Le March 29, 2008 3 5:00 San Jose, California, United States Won Strikeforce Middleweight Championship; Later vacated title; 2008 Fight of the Year.
Win 5–0 Sammy Morgan TKO (body kick) Strikeforce Tournament's November 16, 2007 3 1:58 San Jose, California, United States
Win 4–0 Tony Fryklund TKO (body kick & punches) Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Baroni June 22, 2007 3 0:25 San Jose, California, United States
Win 3–0 Jason Von Flue TKO (doctor stoppage) Strikeforce: Triple Threat December 8, 2006 1 0:43 San Jose, California, United States
Win 2–0 Brian Warren KO (punches) Strikeforce: Revenge June 6, 2006 1 4:19 San Jose, California, United States
Win 1–0 Mike Altman KO (punch) Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie March 10, 2006 1 3:51 San Jose, California, United States

Kickboxing record[edit]

Kickboxing record

Legend:       Win       Loss       Draw/No contest       Notes

Film and television credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Sleight of Hand Victor Indie Film
2001 Walker, Texas Ranger Himself TV Series Episode: "Legends"
2004 Kwoon Mort Ission Direct-to-Video
2006 Dark Assassin The Assassin Indie Film
2007 Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter Erik Film
2009 Fighting Dragon Le Major Film
Pandorum Manh Major Film
Bodyguards and Assassins Sa Zhen-Shan Film
2010 Tekken Marshall Law Major Film
True Legend Militia Leader Film
NCIS: Los Angeles Himself TV Series Episode: "Hand-to-Hand"
2012 Dragon Eyes Ryan Hong Major Film
The Man with the Iron Fists Bronze Lion Major Film
2013 The Grandmasters Tiexieqi Major Film
2014 The Ultimate Fighter: China Mentor Reality TV Series
Puncture Wounds John Nguyen Film

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cung Le MMA Stats". Sherdog. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  2. ^ "Cung Le and the 8 Best Pure Martial Artists in MMA". BleacherReport.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  3. ^ "UFC Fight Night 48 video: Emotional Cung Le on his escape from Saigon and growing up without a father". 10 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c The Official Cung Le Website. Cungle.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-27.
  5. ^ Kungfu Magazine: Magazine Feature Article. Ezine.kungfumagazine.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-27.
  6. ^ "LE STEPS DOWN; SHIELDS VS. LAWLER FOR 185 BELT". MMAWeekly.com. 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2009-09-17. [dead link]
  7. ^ Strikeforce: Cung Le TKOs Scott Smith. MMA Fighting. Retrieved on 2010-08-27.
  8. ^ "It’s UFC or Bust for Former Strikeforce Champ Cung Le". MMAWeekly.com. July 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  9. ^ "UFC Macao: Cung Le says no to TRT". bloodyelbow.com. October 27, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  10. ^ "Vitor Belfort says he's fighting Cung Le at UFC 139 in San Jose". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  11. ^ "UFC 139 shakeup: Vitor Belfort out, Wanderlei Silva in against Cung Le". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  12. ^ Hendricks, Maggie (2011-11-19). "Wanderlei Silva returns to win column over Cung Le at UFC 139 - Cagewriter - UFC Blog - Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  13. ^ "Rich Franklin Vs. Cung Le On Tap For UFC 148 On July 7th". bloodyelbow.com. March 18, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Rich Franklin steps into UFC 147 headliner against Wanderlei Silva". mmajunkie.com. May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Cung Le vs. Patrick Cote targeted for UFC 148". mmajunkie.com. May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  16. ^ Burke, Tim (August 5, 2012). "Rich Franklin Vs. Cung Le Set For UFC On Fuel 6 Main Event In Macau". bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  17. ^ "‘The Ultimate Fighter: China’ cast revealed, series debuts Dec. 7". MMAJunkie.com. November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  18. ^ Luke Thomas (2014-05-24). "Cung Le vs. Michael Bisping headlines August Macau card, Hector Lombard vs. Dong Hyun Kim to serve as co-main event". MMAfighting.com. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  19. ^ Buster Evans (2014-08-23). "UFC Fight Night 48 Recap: Michael Bisping Destroys Cung Le". lowkickmma.com. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  20. ^ Moody, Mike. "MMA fighter Cung Le joins 'Dragon Eyes'". 
  21. ^ Spring, Mike (2014-03-11). "What's new & noteworthy on DVD & Blu-ray – March 11, 2014". Times Union (Albany, NY). Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  22. ^ "KNOXX's Cung Le talks about 2008 and his upcoming movies for 2009". KNOXXGEAR.com. 2008-12-20. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  23. ^ "Exclusive Cung Le Interview". 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  24. ^ "Cung Le on his rematch with Scott Smith". KUNGFUMAGAZINE.com. 2010-06-25. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  25. ^ [1]
  26. ^ Doyle, Dave (December 22, 2012). "Knockout of the Year: Cung Le vs. Rich Franklin". bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Frank Shamrock
2nd Strikeforce Middleweight Champion
March 29, 2008 – September 17, 2009
Vacant
Le stepped down due
to filming obligations
Title next held by
Jake Shields