As mixed martial arts continues to grow in popularity, a new documentary takes a closer look at the world of MMA. “The Hurt Business” hits theaters nationwide on Thursday, following the lives of some of UFC’s biggest stars and examining how the sport has entered the mainstream.
The film took two years to make, and over 60 athletes were interviewed in the process, including the likes of Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. It will be available in theaters nationwide on Thursday for a one-night special event at 7:00 p.m. EDT.
“The goal was to basically paint the picture that would objectively tell the story of the sport of MMA, its history and its evolution, and most importantly highlight the athletes that participate in the sport,” director Vlad Yudin told International Business Times. “Also to make sure that we didn’t shy away from any topic that deals with MMA. Ultimately to make an honest film.”
“The Hurt Business” premieres just two days after the press conference for UFC 205. The event, which is scheduled for Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden, will be the biggest in MMA history with the potential to generate close to two million pay-per-view buys. Conor McGregor will headline the event, and he’s become one of the world’s most popular athletes, not just the biggest star in MMA.
McGregor wasn’t interviewed for the film, but two of UFC’s top fighters are featured prominently. Yudin spoke with Jones shortly before he beat Daniel Cormier at UFC 182, and he interviewed Rousey before she was defeated by Holly Holm at UFC 193. Jones is currently facing a suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, and Rousey hasn't fought since her loss. It's unknown when either fighter will return to the octagon.
Yudin also spoke with Georges St-Pierre, one of the greatest fighters in UFC history. The former champion hasn’t fought in nearly three years, but he’s currently looking to make a comeback.
“I’m not surprised at all because I always felt that he would make a comeback. Even he himself says it in the film that he never officially retired. It was more of a long break.”
The rising popularity of UFC coincides with the increasing awareness of the danger that the sport presents. The film analyzes the potential brain trauma and health issues that can result from participating in MMA. The athletes are aware of the risks involved, but it doesn’t stop them from trying to become the best fighters in the world.
“I think they’re all very concerned, but I don’t think they think about it during the time of training or during the fight. I think it is a concern that they keep in the back of their mind, but they are focused on the best possible outcome,” Yudin said.
“Even the ones that are facing the consequences of long term effects on their health didn’t express specific regret. Gary Goodridge, who is a veteran athlete showcased in the film, said it the best: ‘You live by the sword and you die by the sword.’”
The film is rated PG-13 and has a running time of two hours and 20 minutes.