Sons of Anarchy actor Harold Perrineau and the world of mixed martial arts go back a long, long way.
Years before Perrineau made it on hit TV shows like the FX outlaw biker drama, or his turn as Michael Dawson on the ABC series ‘Lost’, he was a dancer making his way through musicals after growing up in Brooklyn.
It was through that medium that he first discovered martial arts.
“Many, many years ago I studied Kung-Fu. I used to be a dancer and then an easy transition for me was studying martial arts, and I studied Kung-Fu. I kind of liked the fluidity of it. Then back in the day I started reading magazines about this MMA thing and I was like what’s that?” Perrineau told MMAWeekly Radio in a recent interview.
“I would read like Inside Kung-Fu and all these other things and it just started growing and growing and growing. Then the first UFC came on with Royce Gracie, and I was like ‘oh snap what’s that?’ so while I didn’t follow all the UFC’s, I certainly did watch the first couple of years.”
While he wasn’t following along with every UFC event that happened, he did manage to mix in some training along the way that included a stop at Renzo Gracie‘s academy in New York City. Once Perrineau moved to Los Angeles to further pursue his acting career, his ties to the Gracie family didn’t stop however.
Perrineau began working with Renzo Gracie black belt Shawn Williams, who was at the time only the fifth American to receive a black belt from the famous trainer and instructor.
“I trained over at Renzo Gracie’s school for a little while in New York City doing jiu-jitsu. He is great and I started training with one of his first black belts, Shawn Williams, here in Los Angeles until I messed up my knee and I couldn’t keep doing it,” Perrineau stated.