On September 29th, the film documentary, The Hurt Business made it's nationwide debut in theaters across the country through Fathom Events. Fathom positions itself in the market as alternative entertainment offered on the big screen. They provide exclusive content in single day or limited release formats at select theaters across the country.
The focus this evening was on MMA or mixed martial arts, which is consistently recognized as the fastest growing sport in the world. The credit for this distinction largely goes to the UFC. A professional mixed martial arts league who's brand is so strong that it synonymous with MMA.
The Hurt Business, written and directed by Vlad Yudin (Generation Iron) and produced by Jim Czarnecki (Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11) runs a parallel narrative examining the development of the UFC (as well as its competitors) from its infancy as a grand spectacle to its position today as a popular sport. At the same time, it also reveals the drive and the cost to fighters who participate in the sport, told through the experiences of fighters at different levels in the business and at different points in their career.
This isn't exactly new ground being covered as a similarly titled film, The Hurt Game (2015) was released last year by Director, Steve Keller of Differential Films. That film covered the experience of fighters in the amateur ranks pursing their dream of fighting in the UFC.
With the Hurt Business, I was expecting to see an inside look at the economics of MMA, training montages from top fighters as they prepared for competition and interviews with the best MMA fighters in the business where they discussed their motivation, mindset and strategy before a fight. The film does a decent job of checking all of those boxes. But it also leaves viewers with a sobering insight into the sport. The personal sacrifices and tradeoffs necessary to train, the repercussions from constantly putting your body in harm's way and the financial reality of those who don't make it to the top of the sport. Kevin Costner serves as narrator of the film and a host of former and current UFC fighters are featured including, Sara McMann, Tito Ortiz, Ronda Rousey, Georges St. Pierre, Josh Barnett, Donald Cerrone, Rashad Evans, Urijah Faber, Don Frye, Gary Goodridge, Rorion Gracie, Kimo Leopoldo, Chuck Liddell, Mike Guymon and Jon Jones.
Most movie watchers who are casual fans of MMA and the UFC will enjoy The Hurt Business and walk away with a little more knowledge than they started with. But I believe the avid fan, while still enjoying the movie, will be left longing for a bit more. Yudin is a newcomer to MMA and covers the project from a newcomer's perspective. He does a good job of defining MMA and the UFC, describes many of its participants but misses out on the opportunity to connect the viewer with the psychology, art and strategy of the sport.
DMV Combat Fanatics rates the film 3.5 out of 5.
The Hurt Business will soon be delivered in DVD and VOD releases. More information can be found here.
About the Author:
Darryl Keeton is an avid striking, grappling and wrestling fan living in Upper Marlboro, MD. He holds a black belt in Taekwondo and is also a practitioner of Combat Jujutsu, Boxing and Muay Thai.