Inside "Jens Pulver: Driven" with Director Gregory Bayne

Shawn SmithCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2010

Throughout mixed martial arts' short history, we have seen many documentaries. Rickson Gracie's Choke started the trend back in 1999, and since then documentaries such as Royce Gracie's Legacy and B.J Penn's 90 Days have continued to emerge.

Now, in 2010, as mixed martial arts continues to evolve, so does the media around the sport. Filmmaker Gregory Bayne has decided to try his hand at a mixed martial arts documentary. 

For those unfamiliar with Bayne's work, he was an editor and cinematographer on several different documentaries that have played at the Sundance Festival and has also had his work broadcast on PBS and ESPN.

His most recent works include a documentary on Native American activist John Trudell, conveniently titled Trudell, and Out of the Blue: A film about life and football at Boise State, which aired on ESPN.

Bayne is currently in the process of putting together a documentary on mixed martial arts pioneer Jens Pulver. The film is entitled Driven, and is based on Pulver's career and life, more specifically focusing on his preparations for an upcoming WEC fight, which could be his last. 

The two met around four months ago and Bayne was immediately drawn in by Pulver's story and personality.

"At our initial meeting we talked for over an hour, as he just sort of introduced me to his world, and life. That was all it took to realize that I needed to make a film about him." says Bayne. The life Bayne is referring to is one of abuse. Recently, two trailers were released which give the viewer a little insight into the abuse his mother took and the situations his alcoholic father put him and his siblings in. "You can tell that he really is grateful to be where he is, and really loves people. He's an open book, and unapologetic. I respond to that."

Bayne is hoping not only to tell Pulver's story but also to help mixed martial arts regain a positive image. It's image has been tarnished by those unfamiliar with the depth it takes to compete in the sport.

Through his documentary he hopes those who have written off mixed martial arts as "simply violent" will take a second look.  

"It's my hope, that through this different lens, that I can present a fresh perspective on the sport that hopefully brings in a whole new audience," says Bayne. 

In a recent interview with Bayne, Pulver said he hopes his story can reach people and help kids who do not believe their dreams can come true. Pulver is hoping his story will inspire children everywhere who are dealing with abuse to realize they can still have a bright and positive future in whatever it is they choose to pursue. 

Unfortunately, Bayne has recently run into trouble raising the money needed to fund the project. Now, they need our help.

Bayne has set a deadline of Feb. 1 to raise the $25,000 necessary to finish the project. As of this writing, the project has 236 backers donating $14,043. Bayne and crew are still about $11,000 from their ultimate goal. If the $25,000 is not reached, then none of the funds collected to date can be used toward the project. 

The funds raised will be going toward additional gear, such as cameras, lighting, and sound recording packages, as well as travel and boarding costs for his crew. Bayne contacted Zuffa and the WEC about a possible donation of sponsorship of the film. Although Bayne did not specify what exactly was said he did say that "it's becoming quite clear that this was born, and will stay a very independent film."

If you would like more information on Gregory Bayne you can visit his site at

For more information on the documentary, including the trailer and how to donate visit this site.