|Who is it?||Stunts, Actor, Miscellaneous Crew|
|Birth Day||June 20, 1952|
|Birth Place||Tarzana, California, United States|
|Age||68 YEARS OLD|
|Other names||The Jet|
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Weight||145 lb (66 kg; 10.4 st)|
|Division||Lightweight Super Lightweight Welterweight|
|Fighting out of||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Team||The Jet Center|
|Years active||1974–1985, 1989, 1993|
|Notable students||Pete Cunningham, David Lee Roth, John Cusack, Richard Norton, Dave Mustaine, Duff McKagan|
|Rank||Black Belt in Kenpo Karate Black Belt in Muay Thai Black Belt in Taekwondo Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt in Shotokan Karate Black Belt in Kajukenbo Black Belt in Kendo Black Belt in Kickboxing|
Benny began competing in 1958, at the age of five, in "peewee" boxing and wrestling in Los Angeles. His martial arts instruction started when he was seven years old; his first formal Teacher was Bill Ryusaki. Urquidez received his black belt at the age of 14, a highly unusual feat in the 1960s. His siblings also achieved the rank of black belt. His sister Lilly Rodriguez was a pioneer in kickboxing for women.
He entered the point circuit in 1964 and earned a reputation as a colorful fighter. At the 1972 Santa Monica Kempo Open, Urquidez lost in the finals to Brian Strian. In the 1973 Internationals, he fought John Natividad in what is considered one of the greatest non-contact bouts in history. In an unprecedented 25-point overtime match, Natividad won the match 13–12, receiving the Grand Title and the $2,500 purse. In May 1974, at the PAWAK Tournament, Urquidez lost a 4–1 decision to Joe Lewis. He also competed in England and Belgium as a member of Ed Parker's 1974 US team. Also in 1974, he began his move away from the non-contact style by entering and winning the World Series of Martial Arts Championship, effectively a tough-man contest with few rules. Over the next two decades, he fought under various kickboxing organizations (NKL, WPKO, Professional Karate Association (PKA), World Kickboxing Association (WKA), AJKBA, Shin-Kakutojutsu Federation, NJPW and MTN) to amass a record of 58 wins with no losses. This undefeated record, though official, is controversial and highly disputed.
Benny Urquidez was the first kickboxing champion with an international profile who also operated as a free agent under different rules for different sanctions. Consequently, he fought in several unorthodox match-ups and hotly disputed bouts. In late 1974, in the grand finale of an early mixed martial arts-style tough man contest in Honolulu, Hawaii, a 5-foot 6-inch 145-pound Urquidez decisioned a 6-foot 1-inch 230-pound Dana Goodson after scoring a takedown and pin against Goodson in the third and final round.
Another three bouts were eventually ruled no-contests (NC). The first, in Los Angeles on March 12, 1977, was a nine-round NC (WKA) against Thai boxer Narongnoi Kiatbandit as part of the inaugural WKA world title event. Urquidez scored flash-knockdowns against Narongnoi in rounds three and six as well as five legal throws over three other rounds. Narongnoi was warned for illegal knee kicks and groin attacks on four occasions before being assessed with a point deduction in round nine. However, the point deduction came shortly after Narongnoi had scored his sole flash-knockdown which, in turn, provoked a riot among Muay Thai fans in the audience. The audience invaded the ring moments before the final bell. Scores were never collected for round nine. The California State Athletic Commission declared the no-contest.
Meanwhile, on August 2, 1978, Urquidez faced the then fifth-ranked welterweight Thai boxer, Prayout Sittiboonlert, in Tokyo as part of the Shin-Kakutojutsu Organization's first independent event. The rules for the bout included six two-minute rounds, one-minute intervals, and no elbow contact as per agreement with Urquidez. Urquidez lost a heart-stopping decision to the Thai, who controlled the fight with relentless knee attacks and through the masterful use of Thai clinches. Afterward, Urquidez claimed he had been maneuvered into a competitive bout under unaccustomed "new rules" through deliberate misrepresentations. A rematch was set on October 30, 1978 at the Budokan (Martial Arts Hall) as part of the five world championships card for the Shin-Kakutojutsu Organization. However, for unknown reasons, Urquidez canceled the fight on the day of the event. According to one report, Urquidez did travel to Japan, but was unable to recover sufficiently from a high fever which he contracted from an allergic reaction to pain medication being used to treat a lingering left knuckle injury. This sanctioning organization was among several discontinued in 1981 for alleged ties to organized crime. Both the WKA and the STAR world ratings regarded this bout as muay Thai, a separate sport, and did not include it as part of Urquidez's rankings and record count for kickboxing.
Third, Urquidez fought to a seven-round NC (WKA) against Billye Jackson in West Palm Beach, Florida, on August 8, 1980. This non-title fight was first reported as a seven-round decision for Jackson; then was changed to a seven-round technical draw, and then to a no-contest. The WKA waited until March 1986 to unambiguously transmute this outcome owing to uneven glove assignments and a coerced last-minute rule change that unfairly affected Urquidez's performance in an otherwise close bout.Despite multiple attempts to reschedule a rematch to settle the dispute Urquidez refused to fight Jackson. The no-contest status of these fights has been corroborated in print by Paul Maslak (Chief Administrator of the STAR System world ratings).
Urquidez has played a number of roles in various martial arts movies. The first was Force: Five (1981), starring Joe Lewis and Bong Soo Han. Later, he made two movies with Jackie Chan, Wheels on Meals (1984) and Dragons Forever (1988), wherein he fights against the characters played by Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. Urquidez is depicted as a relentlessly tough opponent who is defeated in the climactic fight scenes of both movies. His final fight with Chan in Wheels on Meals is considered to be among the finest fights of Chan's career, including by Chan himself.Johnston, Trevor. "100 best action movies of all time: 53: Wheels on Meals (1984)". Timeout.com. Retrieved February 4, 2017. He cameoed as a Kickboxer in the Troma film Ragin' Cajun. The movie, filmed in 1988 and released in 1991, wrongfully asserted that it featured Urquidez's first film appearance, stating in the opening credits, "Introducing Benny 'The Jet' Urquidez". He appeared in the 1989 film Roadhouse as one of the fighters seen at a car dealership which is partially destroyed in elaborately choreographed mayhem. He trained Patrick Swayze in his own fighting techniques for the film. Urquidez appears in the 1991 film Blood Match, and in 1992, he played a Referee in the James Woods / Louis Gossett, Jr. film Diggstown. He has a cameo appearance in the movie Street Fighter (1994), playing one of several prisoners put in a truck with Ken, Ryu, Sagat and Vega. Urquidez was also responsible for the physical training of most of the Street Fighter cast. He was set to play a different character in the franchise, Raven, in a game based on the movie, but the character was later scrapped.
After a six-year absence from the Japanese ring, Urquidez agreed to fight an exhibition against Nobuya Asuka on April 24, 1989 at the Tokyo Dome as part of the New Japan Pro-Wrestling event. The rules of the bout were five rounds at two-minutes each, one-minute intervals and without elbow or knee contact to the head. Additionally, it was established that, if the fight went the distance, it would automatically be scored as a draw. The bout did go five rounds without knockout or disqualification and a no-decision was immediately declared.
After another four-year absence on December 4, 1993, in "The Legend's Final Challenge" at the Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Urquidez fought Japanese champion Yoshihisa Tagami to establish the vacant WKA super welterweight world title. Despite having injured his left wrist in training, Urquidez proceeded with the bout and narrowly defeated his equally aggressive opponent with kicking attacks. Urquidez slipped to the canvas in round two; and Tagami scored a clean flash knockdown in round nine. Neither contestant was ever in serious trouble. The bout ended in a split decision, two judges scoring for Urquidez, one for Tagami.
Urquidez performed in the film Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) as Felix La Poubelle, a hitman sent to kill a character played by John Cusack. More recently, he appeared in 1408 (2007), again with Cusack. In reality, Urquidez is Cusack's long-time kickboxing trainer. Urquidez also appeared as one of several thugs who accost Kirsten Dunst's character in the first Spider-Man film during an attempted robbery; Urquidez plays the thug wearing a black-and-white-striped T-shirt who makes kissing noises at Dunst. He was a fight coordinator for an episode of the television drama Criminal Minds, "The Bittersweet Science" (season 7, episode 10), and also appears in the episode in a 30-second role as an underground MMA Referee.
In 2000, Urquidez and Emil Farkas founded the Los Angeles Film Fighting Institute, which was one of the first schools of its kind in the United States to teach martial artists the intricacies of stunt work.
Urquidez has had training in nine styles: Judo, Kajukenbo, Shotokan, Taekwondo, Lima Lama, White Crane Kung Fu, Jujutsu, Aikido and American Kenpo. He is the founder of Ukidokan Karate. He continued to teach at The Jets Gym in North Hollywood, California. Urquidez has also authored various instructional books and videos. He also has a special friendship with actor/client John Cusack with whom talks of opening up a bigger gym in Santa Monica, targeting former champions as clients and trainers are in the works as Cusack has shown interest in taking part as co-owner. The Jets Gym in the North Hollywood location closed in 2007, to make way for a shopping mall. Today, he is still very active teaching privately, and working as a stunt coordinator in the entertainment Business. He teaches ukidokan kickboxing at Team Karate Center in Woodland Hills, California.
A year later, in Detroit, Urquidez was disqualified for knocking out his opponent with a fourth punch under the subsequently-discontinued three-punch rule. The disqualifying Referee was the opponent's own karate instructor. The bout was excoriated on network television, prompting state athletic commissions across the United States to become interested in regulating the sport. Chuck Norris’ short-lived International Karate League (IKL) and later the STAR System world ratings reversed this outcome.