White was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved as a teen to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he graduated from Central High School in 1988. White started martial arts training at the age of seven and is now an accomplished martial artist, holding seven legitimate black belts in Shotokan, Tae Kwon Do, Kobudo, Goju Ryu, Tang Soo Do, Wushu and Kyokushin, with a specific focus in Kyokushin (although his style incorporates aspects of many different martial arts forms).
His first major starring role and breakout performance was in the 1995 HBO film Tyson, as heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. In 1997, he portrayed the eponymous character in the 1997 movie Spawn. His work in Spawn earned him a nomination for the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Male Newcomer. White starred opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Soldier: The Return. In 2001, he also starred opposite fellow martial artist Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds. In 2003, he starred in Busta Rhymes' and Mariah Carey's music video "I Know What You Want". Since
In August 2005 he wed his girlfriend of two years, Courtenay Chatman. The couple have a daughter named Morgan Michelle who was born on December 24, 2008. Michael has two sons from a previous relationship. He is an avid chess player, as seen in his movie Blood and Bone.