MMA Must-See TV: Fighter Documentaries, Fan Videos and More
With the proliferation of video footage on places like Youtube.com, fight fans don’t have to scour their local video store anymore to see some of the best videos around, most of them for free.
Back when the sport of MMA was first budding in America, all you got were black-and-white photos (usually just one) with a brief write-up on the latest UFC event in Black Belt magazine, and that was it.
And it was awesome.
A lot of older fans talk about how spoiled newer fans are, and I gotta think that kind of talk is nonsense. We got to watch the events, just like newer fans do, only we had to wait a little longer to see them, and it was on VHS, not DVD or HD, but we still got to see them.
Now, both “generations” of MMA fans can enjoy some excellent MMA clips that are available at the push of a button on our computer, and with that comes a merging of both the old and the new, as you will see.
So without further ado, I bring you what I consider to be “Must-See MMA TV.”
Beyond the Glory: The Ultimate Fighting Championship
This is a very good video that takes a look at Rich Franklin and others involved with the world of MMA, right around the time of UFC 53, when Franklin was scheduled to rematch Evan Tanner for the middleweight title in 2005.
Narrated by Michael Clarke Duncan (a rabid MMA fan himself), this is a very well done piece that gives an excellent look at Rich Franklin and his insight into the world of professional MMA.
With footage of some of Franklin’s earlier fights (which look like they were held in the basements of local businesses), you come to see that there is no stereotypical fighter: they all have their own stories and motivations.
Whenever you talk to anyone who has more than a passing familiarity with the Gracie name, eventually they bring up the name Rickson Gracie.
In Choke, we get a great look into the life of perhaps the most respected member of the Gracie family as he prepares to defend his title in a tournament in Japan.
It shows Rickson training and doing some PR for the event, which is the real treat for me, as back then, coverage for the sport was small and nearly every mention of one of the sport's bigger names was memorable simply because it was so rare.
Choke is a one-of-a-kind documentary for that period of time in MMA, and ought to be in a time capsule. A great piece when it was released and a great retrospective now.
Fan of the Gracie family or no, this is a must-see: the history of our sport is just as important as the future, and in Choke, we all get a history lesson that entertains time after time.
Brock Lesnar Fans Shocked at Beat Down
Some videos are gems simply because A) we’ve been there and B) seeing people have their hopes crushed just as you predicted is always a perverse kind of pleasure.
“See? I’m smarter than all of you.” Who hasn’t thought that at least once when you call the result of a fight from well in advance, and end up being the only guy in the room who saw it coming?
It just doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
At Home Crowd Reaction to Velasquez Beating Down Brock
On the flip side of the same coin, you have those fans of the victor, Cain Velasquez, alive in the moment, living oh so vicariously through their man as he beat Lesnar from pillar to post.
Watch the second man from the left in the gray tank top: it’s almost as if he’s Cain V himself, laying the smack down!
Reminds me of an annoying man from a Queensryche concert who had to act out every single lyrical passage, to make sure everyone was looking at him and that he was the star of the show.
Fight Science: MMA
This is a must-see for any real MMA fan who has always wondered about the numbers and science that goes on inside the machine: the mechanics of it all.
This is just part I; the rest of the series is available on Youtube.com, and they are worth the time.
This is just fascinating stuff; the answers to many of the questions we always wondered about.
The Smashing Machine
Once upon a time, when Pride FC was arguably the biggest MMA organization in the world, Mark Kerr was standing atop the mountain as the best fighter in the heavyweight division.
The Smashing Machine chronicles a period in his career that sees his decline, and nothing could be more sobering for fans than to see a top athlete contend with adversity both in and out of the cage.
Aired on HBO, The Smashing Machine was a very big moment for the sport; a point which is terribly ironic considering that it was built upon the ruination of a great career.
This stands as perhaps the defining documentary on the sport of MMA simply because of its brutal honesty and transparency.