BADGER: In regards to our discussions regarding the definition of a "real" fighter, I'm curious as to whether you feel that Chuck Norris was a "real" fighter? It seems that your main criteria revolves around whether a martial arts competitor could take a punch. Based on that criteria, I would argue that Norris is not a "real" fighter because he never tested his chin in a full contact/kickboxing match. Unlike a kickboxing match, time was called whenever a point fighter was hit in the face and the 1966 point match between Norris and Skipper Mullins, proves that the hit didn't have to stagger or knock down the fighter. Mullins accidentally hits Norris in the eye with a flicking backfist, Norris grimaces, moves away, and is provided with ample time to recover.
I could take that argument a step further and proclaim that the only "real" fighters from the Blood and Guts Era (e.g., 1963-1969) of point fighting were Jim Harrison and Joe Lewis. Supposed tough guys such as Fred Wren and Mike Stone do not meet this singular standard because neither man competed in full-contact/kickboxing matches. In an 80's Black Belt Magazine interview, Joe Lewis intimated that Mike Stone wasn't a true tough guy because he quit in a 1970 point match against Victor Moore. Despite being ahead on points, Stone quit the match due to a separated shoulder resulting from Moore throwing him to the mat. Despite this documented fact, Lewis STILL qualified Stone as a "real" fighter. The mind boggles.
I think you're slightly misunderstanding my comments.
Is a person who does combat sports a 'real fighter'. Sure. You could say that some people in the media due to their fame, and their participation in some aspect of martial arts could have a variable reference.
You have a 'martial historian' which is someone who dabbles and does some martial activities, but they mainly do books and articles though they may do a significant amount of training. You have martial 'artists' who may do training for the purpose of personal development, and their 'ability' to do any type of physical self-defense may vary from average to very good.
My may have martial artists who mainly teach, who give demos, who sponsor tournaments and may have a number of high ranks but who may not be very good or even competitive in physical confrontations.
So when I say that I agree, like Joe Lewis contends, that a 'real fighter' is someone who has a record, even if it's 1-0 or 0-1, it's likely they have had to take a punch. We may find out they have a glass jaw so they don't go much beyond a single fight. I mentioned two people who found that out when they went from semi or no contact to full contact. Both Jim Butin and Everett Eddy found out they were not suited for making a career at full-contact fighting.
Was Chuck a fighter? Well he was a point fighter. I don't think he'd dispute that, even if he considers himself a 'tough guy'. He may or may not be durable.
In the case of Bruce Lee would you say he was a fighter? Well he does not have an official record. There are stories, there are even stories with witnesses who allege he knocked out a couple people (one in an amateur boxing match, IIRC but that seems to have been in a high school setting.
Someone can be a tough guy, can have a 'reputation', can be famous, can even be feared by people, but Joe Lewis just says that before we start saying that someone like Bruce Lee is theorized on, as to whether they could have done well in todays MMA scene in their prime, it takes more than martial skills. I would be ill-advised, for example to bet on someone who had never had their chin tested. We certainly know there are some fighters who do great in the gym but then get defeated relatively easy in an actual match.
I would say the two things that hold BL back from being deemed a 'real fighter' is that we don't know the extent of his durability and we don't know if he could take the skill he showed in the gym and among people who were not his equal into the ring or cage against an opponent of similar stature (size, weight, experience).
I'm not sure what your real question is. Are you asking if I think Chuck Norris was a 'real fighter'? Did he have a full-contact record? If not then I'd say he appears to have been able to 'fight for real' but we don't have any way to prove it. I've seen him in person and I've said that technically he looked much better than he's ever looked on TV (he and his brother did a demo at a tournament I attended). I would not bet on him against a person who was a top ten MMA guy in Chuck's prime, simply because it's wise to bet on people with a record of successes and who have done it for real against a lot of equal opponents.
I think aggression, experience, number of opponents of similar skill are very important traits, with durability and talent and high attributes also being important. Hope that answers your question.