I am a huge Bruce Fan, but i like Chuck, Bob etc. too. Honestly i would not blame them.
You must also view the whole think from their...or let´s say Chuck´s view:
1) a great martial artist (check his belt list)
- 10th degree black belt Chun Kuk Do (his own creation)
- 9th degree black belt Tang Soo Do
- 8th degree black belt Taekwondo
- 5th degree black belt Karate
- 3th degree black belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
- black belt Judo
2) a great fighter in point Karate (full contact to the body, not to the head or legs)
3) a great martial arts teacher (like Bruce he had many famous students)
4) a great actor in action movies
Just Nr. 1 is a great archivement. If Bruce had used colored belts in JKD, of course he would have been a 10th degree in JKD (like Helio Gracie in BJJ or Kano Jigoro in Judo...simply because they are the style founders).
But in ALL THOSE YEARS SINCE 1973, Chuck is in some kind in the shadow of Bruce Lee. And - yes they were good friends - i don´t mind he got a little bit pissed over the years about that.
GO ON GOOLE FOR "CHUCK NORRIS"...THE FIRST NAME RELATED TO HIM IS "BRUCE LEE".
It´s simply not fair because Chuck was and is great as well.
Some words about the "professional" fighter Chuck Norris:
It s not exactly true at all. What is the definition of a "professional fighter"?
It´s a person (male or female) which gains his money through combat sports (Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, etc.), not by doing any usual job/profession.
All Boxer´s are usual professional fighters, simply because they gain enough money to live with that. Even so called journeyman gain around 5.000 to 10.000$ per fight.
I give you an example for Europe (Germany):
In the USA almost any MMA fighter is a professional fighter as well. They gain enough money.
In Germany it´s different. A buddy of mine works with a german MMA fighter.
He is an MMA fighter, but not by profession. He has a usual job and is an MMA fighter on amateur base, simply because the money is not enough to live just by MMA fighting.
MMA fighter´s don t gain enough money over here to live, they have to work usual jobs and fight in MMA as amateurs.
So for my definition (nobody has to agree with it of course :-D):
Chuck Norris never was a "professional fighter" (= combat sport fighter), he was a professional martial artist (= martial arts instructor) who fought in combat sport (Karate point fighting) events.
He never gain enough money through combat sport to be a professional fighter.
Tommy Carruthers, Emin Boztepe, William Cheung, Geoff Thompson, Lee Morrison, they are all "professional martial artists". They make their money in training and teaching martial arts.
Same with Bruce:
He was a professional martial artist from 1963 to 1971 (Oakland, LA), and a professional actor from 1971 to 1973 (Hong Kong).
And a professional dishwasher from 1959 to 1963 (Seattle). :-D
Thx for the Skipper Mullins answer!