From the producers of Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Generation Iron comes The Hurt Business, a film examining the rise of mixed martial arts fighting through the eyes of today’s top fighters.
The documentary charts the history of the sport from the coliseums of ancient Greece to modern day venues like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The Hurt Business is narrated by Hollywood legend Kevin Costner and features MMA stars Georges St-Pierre, Chuck Liddell and Ronda Rousey.
The film showcases the lives of mixed martial arts athletes competing in the fastest growing sport in the world and the struggles and triumphs that accompany their careers.
To coincide with the release of The Hurt Business on DVD and Digital we look at some of the best fight docs of recent years…
When We Were Kings (1996)
Widely regarded as one of the best boxing documentaries ever, the film won the 1996 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. When We Were Kings covers the legendary 1974 heavyweight championship fight “The Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
The film shows most of the fight itself, whilst also exploring the build-up including an examination of Ali’s views about Africans and African-Americans. The documentary took the director Leon Gast 22 years to finance and edit before its eventual release.
When collecting the Academy Award, both boxers came up to join the filmmakers to show they had made peace since the fight. Foreman even aided Ali in climbing the steps to the stage.
The Smashing Machine (2003)
The film was initially titled The Specimen, as that was Kerr’s original nickname but was changed when it was picked up by HBO. Another critically acclaimed documentary, The Smashing Machine follows MMA fighter Mark Kerr and his exploits in the ring.
The film makes use of its incredible access to Mark Kerr giving often brutal insights into his personal struggles with drug addiction and his unsteady relationship. The film’s incredible honesty creates a truly gripping story.
This documentary received critical praise, including a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. The film follows Mike Tyson, who looks back at his controversial and extremely public life.
Starting with Tyson’s difficult childhood and continuing through to his downfall as a boxer, Tyson’s deeply honest look at his issues and mistakes makes for captivating and emotional viewing. Director James Toback employed an unusual tactic for testing the film’s effect on its audience.
He deliberately sought the opinions of those who are opposite to the target audience, older white women. Reportedly, many were in tears by the end of the film.
The idea for this documentary came during production of the filmmaker’s previous film, they discovered and became interested in MMA when they observed soldiers watching and practicing the sport.
The film follows a group of young athletes in southern Louisiana who are working hard to achieve their goals of becoming professional mixed martial arts fighters.
The film was praised for offering a different insight into MMA than the bright lights of Las Vegas and stardom, focusing on the brutal passion and determination of everyday men.
I Am Bruce Lee (2012)
An incredibly entertaining and in-depth look at legendary martial arts icon Bruce Lee, the film features interviews from many martial artists, athletes and actors who have been influenced or inspired by him.
This intensely thoughtful documentary also features rarely seen archive footage and old photos of Lee that underline the highly emotive testimonials.
Bruce Lee’s wide influence on many is highlighted with the eclectic selection of celebrities and professions that feature including: Kobe Bryant (Basketball), Gina Carano (MMA/Actress), Ed O’Neill (Actor), Mickey Rourke (Actor) and The Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo (Singer).
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.