Director: Vlad Yudin
Going behind the scenes, to show you the people behind the superstars, this MMA/UFC documentary shows you the stars from the various promotions, talking not only to them and the referees and promotors but also to doctors and medical specialists. We hear about the injuries, we see the lasting effects on retired players, we also get a good potted history of the rise – and rise – of this sport across the last decade.
Of course it’s hard to offer a definitive document and this film plays it safe, celebrating the sport for the most part, giving voice to some of the detractors – calls for it to be banned, commentary around the barbarism – but the focus is entirely on the meteoric rise of MMA.
It’s a good head-count of some of the biggest names associated with the sport, – Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones, Chuck Lidell, George St. Pierre, Rashad Evans and many more get a brief talking-head shot to tell their tale.
One of the issues with this is the aim to be up to date – with footage clearly in the can from 2014/15 and early 2016. A lot changes – and some of the personal narratives, as well as the professional standing of many of the fighters feels now out of date.
But it’s still a decent look at the build and integration of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Japanese Judo techniques, boxing, wrestling and other disciplines that have done into making MMA, and from there the legitimacy of it as an event-styled sport, rather than underground and illegal.
Most people have less than a decade in the sport – many are sidelined far quicker than that, or never get that far. So Vlad Yudin’s focus splits off to look at what can be done after (Hollywood is a calling card, but only for a select few) and of course at what is done to look after those that experience the lasting after-effects of multiple fractures and concussions.
It’s not by any stretch a must-see, but it’s enjoyable and easy enough for fans of the sport.