MMA or Mixed Martial Arts is a full contact combat sport which refers to the full force used be each opposing side in a match where there is an expectation that one can be punched, kicked, and hit upon any part of the body. MMA is also known also as cage fighting or ultimate fighting, where an all-out warfare between the two combatants, ends when one is either knocked out or yields.
One shouldn’t worry however, it is said that athletes in football are more prone for more serious injuries than MMA cage fighting, and there is a large staff of medical personnel at hand for all injuries that may occur. Fighters come from many walks of life and recently, women are entering this sport that wish to go pro as well. In this documentary by Vanguard Films and narrated by Marianna Van Zeller, we are introduced to the world of the cage fighter, and what it’s like being a fighter within the MMA.
Trenell Savant Young is a 13 Year veteran of the MMA sport and goes by his fighting name Black Superman. 5 Years after his last match he now spends time training future MMA fighters and is part owner of Fight Academy. In 2010, 2.5 million Americans trained and fought in the MMA, practicing a combination of wresting, boxing, and jujitsu. In the fall of 2011, Fox made a partnership with the UFC and UFC would be shown during primetime, joining baseball and football.
In the United States, over 45 States now allow MMA fights versus the small handful that had done so in previous years. MMA training demands are very rigorous and in some instances, a fighter’s day runs from 4am to 9pm. Do the young trainees have what it takes to go pro? In Trenell Savant’s case, he believes they will if their dedicated to the sport as he currently holds 22 professional fights under his belt.
The film then presents a street fighter named Tim Abell who is known as “One Punch”. Tim discovered the sport during a turbulent time in his life when he had many internal demons. Tim sustained an injury early in life and became hooked on pain killers until he found the MMA at the age of 22. Tim underwent a self-detoxing of the body and quit cold turkey, going through 19 days of hell while using the Christian Bible to bet him through. Tim has decided to leave Washington State and return to California for money reasons making his pastor, Brandon Beals decide to help Tim.
Brandon Beals is a pastor at Canyon Creek Church of which Tim was a parishioner and the two established a very good relation with each other. Brandon tells Tim that he would not only help him find a good Church but also a well-established gym for him to train as well in California. The film explains that Brandon Beals happens to be known as the “Fight Pastor” for he is a diehard MMA fan. Pastor Beal’s stated in the film that in his belief, Jesus was an ultimate fighter himself, fighting death and the grave, only to win in the end. It is pastor Beals insight that embracing MMA allows the church to connect with young men who would not otherwise be interested in church.
The film then touches on the subject of women entering the sport as it is firmly dominated by men. One retired female fighter named Emma displayed how her body had taken an immense amount of damage from continuous fighting. The film shows how her face was broken in her final fight as well as how her hands, elbows, and nose had been also broken repeatedly.
Emma doesn’t shy away from it however and is eagerly able to spread the word to encourage women to join the sport. In countries such as Japan and South Korea, MMA leagues are filled with women who participate in matches with their large crowd base being female spectators. If you are into contact sports such as MMA or not, the documentary explores some of the interesting lives of those whom put themselves into cage fighting and is an educating experience into its multi layered world of martial arts.