MMA coach John Kavanagh tweeted a picture of himself with Hollywood star Will Smith while they were training together in Dubai last year.
Following the Oscars controversy when Smith beat Chris Rock live on stage on Sunday, trainer Kavanagh shared a throwback photo from his training with Smith in 2021.
John and Smith met during a McGregor training camp in Dubai.
According to Kavanagh, who trains Conor McGregor, Smith was determined to learn a thing or two about fighting.
“It was an odd situation to come up,” Kavanagh explained.
“I trained with Conor in Dubai and his people were on my people’s trail, as they say. Would I be interested in a session with Will Smith?
“Certainly I would. I’m a huge fan, I couldn’t believe it.
“I have to go to an incredible sports complex out there. I have a warrior program and I walked it through a typical session. I was super impressed with him.”
In 2019, Will Smith starred in Ali where he portrayed legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, focusing on his notable triumphs and controversies between 1964 and 1974.
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“One of my favorite moments was when he goes between rounds and sits down, just like a fighter would, and I sit by his side, just like I would when I’m cornering a fighter and barging advice Listen.” Coach Kavanagh remembered.
“I really try to put them in the mindset of a fighter. As I did this, Will was hunched over, very focused, and staring into space.
“I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s the guy who played Muhammad Ali. That’s a scene from that movie.”
“It was a second or two of, ‘What the hell is going on with my life! How did it happen? Fresh Prince of Bel Air here, Muhammad Ali, and he’s tuned into anything I say.”
Smith has publicly apologized to Chris Rock after beating the comedian at the Oscars.
The 53-year-old called his behavior at the Oscars “unacceptable and inexcusable” and said he was embarrassed by his actions.
Smith added that the joke about his wife’s health condition caused him to react “emotionally,” but “violence in all its forms is toxic and destructive.”
In a statement posted to Instagram, the actor said: “I want to publicly apologize to you Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong.
“I’m embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. In a world of love and kindness there is no room for violence.
“I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all contestants and all viewers around the world.
“I would like to apologize to the Williams family and my King Richard family.
“I deeply regret that my behavior has marred an otherwise great journey for all of us.”
Smith concluded his apology by saying, “I’m a work in progress.”
Smith was condemned by the Academy when it launched a formal review of his altercation with Rock during the Academy Awards.
The 94th annual awards ceremony descended into chaos when Smith took the stage and met the comedian in front of a star-studded audience after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss.
Rock compared Smith’s wife, who suffers from alopecia, to “GI Jane”.
The incident overshadowed a night in which Coda won Best Picture with mostly deaf actors, while Troy Kotsur made history as the first deaf male actor to win a gong.
Kenneth Branagh won Best Original Screenplay for his semi-autobiographical film Belfast.
Smith, who won his first Oscar for King Richard, appeared to take offense at a gag Rock made about Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.
The Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host has previously opened up about her struggles with alopecia, saying it has prompted her to shave her head.
Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said, “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” which caused the actress to roll her eyes.
However, Smith went on stage and slapped Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice, “Keep my wife’s name out of your damn mouth.”
The altercation left Rock shocked and nervous as he tried to continue presenting the best documentary category.
In a statement Monday, the Film Academy said: “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show.
“We have officially begun a formal review of the incident and will review further actions and consequences consistent with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law.”
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/mma-coach-john-kavanagh-was-super-impressed-with-will-smiths-fighting-skills-41502396.html MMA coach John Kavanagh was “super impressed” with Will Smith’s fighting skills