Tom Hardy makes surprise appearance at martial arts tournament
Tom Hardy's resumé is filled with high-intensity scenes, from taking on Batman as Bane, to being a host for alien symbiote Venom and playing the titular role in post-apocalyptic movie "Mad Max: Fury Road."
Now, the blockbuster star can add martial arts champion to his list of action-packed accolades.
The 45-year-old English actor won gold at the 2022 UMAC Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championships on Saturday after quietly entering the competition, organizers told CNN.
In a statement posted on his verified Instagram account this week, Hardy said: "Simple training, for me (as a hobby and a private love ) has been fundamentally key to further develop a deeper sense of inner resilience, calm and well being. I can't stress the importance it has had and the impact on my life and my fellow team mates."
Hardy said it was an honor to represent non-profit organization REORG, which works with veterans, active military and first responders to use Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and fitness training as a form of therapy.
While bystanders and other competitors were left stunned when Hardy turned up at the school hall in Milton Keynes, England, organizers said he was simply "keeping his word."
Mohamed Itoumaine, a referee and spokesman for the tournament's organizer, Ultimate Martial Arts Championships, told CNN on Wednesday that Hardy had agreed to take part in the competition following his low-key appearance at the REORG Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship last month. Itoumaine was a referee at the earlier tournament in Wolverhampton.
"I was really excited and impressed because he told me at the championship that 'I'm coming to yours next' and kept his word," Itoumaine said."It is very hard to get a famous person to come to a local competition because their schedules are so busy."
Itoumaine said UMAC kept the Hollywood star's attendance quiet to avoid adding any pressure on Hardy ahead of the competition.
And when Hardy arrived, he made sure to deliver. Itoumaine said Hardy dominated his division and qualified through stages before taking home the top prize.
Images posted on social media showa victorious Hardy holding his certificate made out to his real name "Edward Hardy."
"[Hardy] is a legit blue belt. I have over 10 years of experience as a ref and after I first saw him compete at the REORG championship, I knew he would smash it at my competition," Itoumaine said.
"It takes dedication and hard work to reach that level. He is technically, physically, and mentally skilled. He is someone that wants to win in the best possible way, which is making his opponent submit and tap out."
Itoumaine, a second-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, said he plans to hold more competitions next year and hopes the star will enter further tournaments.