Mortal Kombat Character Based in Part on UFC’s Jorge Masvidal

Jorge Masvidal UFC
Jorge Masvidal UFC 244 open workout Credit: Marcus Rebelo/Cageside Press

The trailer for the latest rendition of Mortal Kombat on the big screen has given film and video game fans hope for something better than the 1995 Christopher Lambert-led adaptation.

While fan favorites like Sub-Zero have been getting plenty of attention since the trailer’s release (watch it below), UFC fans in particular have something else to talk about. Turns out, one actor based part of their character on welterweight star Jorge Masvidal.

In a recent promotional piece with Entertainment Weekly, actor Lewis Tan told the outlet that he had drawn from Masvidal to add a “salt-of-the-earth grit” to his character, Cole Young. Cole is an entirely new character to the Mortal Kombat universe, and his backstory is that of a mixed martial artist who has failed to achieve his dreams.

“He’s down on his luck. He’s kind of a washed-up MMA fighter who used to be a champion, who used to believe in himself, who used to have a lot of hope in his career,” Tan told EW. “And it’s all gone down the drain.”

Tan, a martial artist himself whose father worked on Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film, and later as a fight choreographer and stunt coordinator, drew from Masvidal, while also tapping into Muay Thai, judo, jiu-jitsu, and “MMA roots.” The Cole Young character takes center stage in the story — and fight fans will definitely recognize the inspiration for one moment.

A trailer breakdown by EW adds a little more detail to just how Tan utilized the influence of Masvidal. In particular there’s one scene showing Cole Young leaning against the cage ahead of a fight. “That’s what Jorge Masvidal did before he knocked out Ben Askren in three seconds and set the whole MMA community on fire,” Tan told the site. Five seconds, actually, but who’s counting.

For his part, Masvidal seems thrilled with inspiring the character. “Actors using me as inspiration is an honor and after watching the trailer, I’m hyped for the movie!” he wrote on social media.

Masvidal (35-14) last fought at UFC 251 on Fight Island last July, losing a title shot against Kamaru Usman by unanimous decision, on just days’ notice. “Gamebred” appears to be in the running for a potential rematch, however. Mortal Kombat, meanwhile, is set to premiere April 16, 2021 in theaters and on HBO MAX.