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February 26, 2008

I Coulda Been A Contenda!

Filed under: MMA — Tags: , , , , , — Perich @ 10:00 am

There are two MMA movies coming out within a year.

Ken ShamrockThe first, Never Submit, is the story of a judo champion who enters an MMA tournament, haunted by the memory of his father’s death in a no-holds-barred match 10 years earlier. Ken Shamrock plays the dead father; I know getting defeated in an MMA match will be a stretch for him to play but I bet he’s got the chops.

I wouldn’t count on seeing this movie any time soon, however, or in any sort of major release. Rumors about its production have been circulating for a year and a half now (note: the fighters named in that article are apparently no longer in the cast). Its official website is terrible. You start to recognize these things as symptoms of “production hell” – the pre-filming stages that mean a movie’s never coming to life.

“When,” you ask, “oh when will a serious director give mixed martial arts the treatment they deserve?”

Chiwetel Ejiofor in RedbeltApparently, May of this year. David Mamet (?!) is releasing his film Redbelt, starring Serenity‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor (?!?) as a martial arts instructor turned prize fighter. Additional cast include Mamet regulars Ricky Jay, Joe Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon, as well as that staple of fighting films, Tim Allen (?!?!). And it boasts big name fighters like Randy “The Natural” Couture in its cast.

As usual with a Mamet film, an outsider is drawn into a world of lies and intrigue, nothing is as it seems, etc etc. In this case, Ejiofor (as a martial arts teacher) crosses paths with a big celebrity (Allen). He becomes embroiled in the world of Hollywood, and then with the world of MMA prizefighting, through seedy pay-per-view promoters (Jay; Mantegna). Unlike most Mamet films, however, there are some kickass fight scenes.

Never Submit barely has a consistent cast. Redbelt already has a kickass trailer. I know which movie I’m in line to see.

April 10, 2007

PRIDE Fighting – Like UFC But With More Hugs

Filed under: MMA — Tags: , , — Perich @ 4:57 pm

PRIDE (or, to use its Christian name, PRIDE Fighting Championships), was founded in Japan in 1996. It’s an international mixed-martial arts league, similar in format to UFC, where two large men hit each other as hard as they can when they’re not hugging. If you can follow UFC, you can follow PRIDE.

PRIDE differs from UFC, though, in a few key areas:

  • Fighters in a PRIDE match can kick downed opponents in the head, where UFC frowns on it. Oddly, PRIDE forbids elbow strikes to the head, where UFC allows them (so long as it’s not point first, i.e. fatal).
  • UFC bouts consist of three rounds of five minutes each. This is already pretty grueling – while football requires short bursts of adrenaline every 40 seconds, MMA demands a pretty consistent level of exertion. PRIDE, preferring to watch huge men stagger like wounded elephants, sets its first round at ten minutes and any subsequent rounds at five.
  • There are a lot more Japanese men in disturbing tights in a PRIDE fight than you’ll find, on average, in UFC.

If the above excites you half as much as it excites me, check out “PRIDE Fighting Championship” on FSN. Fox Sports rumormonger Jay Glazer and erstwhile MMA fighter Frank Trigg. In a couple of ill-fitting silk suits, they turn 30 minutes’ worth of archived footage into 48 minutes of show by adding their own redundant analysis. For extra fun, watch the fight recaps where Frank Trigg highlights the StrikeZoneTM – a CGI’ed box that inevitably appears around a fighter’s ass, crotch or face.”He really turned this fight around,” Trigg will say, “by planting his feet, picking his opponent up, and slamming him into the mat skull first” (said skull-slamming actually happening to Josh “The Baby-faced Assassin” Barnett, a match he went on to win). And then we StrikeZoneTM on Josh’s ass.

FSN’s PRIDE recaps are the kind of show DVR was made for, as it comes on at odd hours (7 PM on Sundays, and not always then) and has a pretty low signal-to-noise ratio. But if you want to watch Fedor Emilianenko legally rape a man, this is probably the show for you.

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