WARNING—SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know the story behind the movie, read no further.
On May 17, 1996, Mark Schultz stepped into the Octagon at UFC 9 on just 24 hours notice.
Standing across the cage from him was the formidable Gary Goodridge. It was a tough assignment for any first-time fighter, yet Schultz dominated the fight utterly, defeating Goodridge and making it look like child’s play.
For fans of both wrestling and the new sport of MMA, seeing Schultz inside the cage was simply incredible, and in truth, we were all hoping it would be the beginning of so much more.
As for the fight itself, well, it ended up like many fights did back then. Schultz made Goodridge look like a novice when it came to grappling while looking somewhat awkward everywhere else.
But life imitates life as it turns out, and as told in the upcoming film Foxcatcher, Schultz had more than a few awkward moments in his life.
Slated for release in November 2014, Foxcatcher is not just a true story about one man but two brothers and their troubled benefactor, John du Pont.
With the world of international wrestling set as the background the story, Foxcatcher is a shocking story. The title of the film is based upon the name of Du Pont’s training facility, the Foxcatcher Farm, where Shultz trained in pursuit of even greater heights after he and his older brother, David, won Olympic gold in 1984.
The movie, based upon the autobiography by Mark, details the events of his life after his winning of the gold medal 1984, when he was basically broke and living on past glories.
From there, the story explores the relationship between the younger Schultz and Du Pont, who seemingly wanted to live vicariously through his charges.
Du Pont and the younger Schultz worked together for years, with the ultimate goal being another gold medal in the 1996 Olympic games. Schultz won two International titles before his relationship with Du Pont began to sour.
From there, Du Pont called upon Mark’s older brother, Dave, to come to the farm and lead the charge for Olympic gold.
Of course, for those fans that have followed the world of wrestling over the years, they know the tragic turn the story would take.
On January 26, 1996, Dave Schultz was shot and killed by Du Pont.
In an interview with noted sport historian Eddie Goldman, Mark recalled that tragic day:
“In 1996, I was the head coach at Brigham Young University,” Schultz said. “And I got a call from my dad, and he said my brother had been murdered by du Pont. And it just infuriated me to just no end. And I think I destroyed everything in my office.”
Du Pont would later die in prison at the age of 72 in 2010.
In the Goldman interview, Schultz speaks about many topics, including his UFC fight, his encounter with Rickson Gracie (which prompted his love of submission grappling), the problems that have been plaguing wrestling and the movie itself.
Foxcatcher is scheduled for a November 14, 2014 release and stars Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, Steve Carell as John du Pont and Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz.
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