Rise of the Octagon: New Film Takes a Deeper Look into MMA

Why is it that some sports have fallen out of favor while others have emerged from the shadows to become mainstream entertainment? Mixed martial arts are fast-tracking right now – giving ringed sports some hefty competition in venues like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – and we wanted to know why.

“I think that people in general are automatically attracted to combat sports because we are naturally all drawn to violence. It’s just the way it is,” Vlad Yudin replied to our email inquiry. The director spent almost two years working on a new film, THE HURT BUSINESS: A Deeper Look into MMA, interviewing fighters and exploring the MMA culture. “If anyone disagrees to that, they are lying to themselves. We might not like it but we are still drawn to it.”

The film incorporates not only footage from the octagon, but also interviews with fighters in and out of the cage, at home with family and friends, and during training. It also explores the history of the business and how fighting has affected their lives. THE HURT BUSINESS is narrated by Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (“He was a fan of the sport for many years,” said Yudin) and features heavy hitters like UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Rashad “Suga” Evans, Ronda Rousey, Jon “Bones” Jones and Georges St-Pierre, plus up-and-coming next-gen fighters.

While Yudin does attribute the growth of the sport to its universal, primal appeal, he also credits savvy insiders with turning MMA into a booming industry. “The growth of the sport should also be credited to certain promoters who were able to turn the spectacle into a real sport over the years.”

The film screens in theaters nationwide in a one-night-only event on September 29, in a co-production with Fathom Events and the producers of Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Generation Iron.

We're already familiar with Fathom for classics like The Met: Live in HD and National Theatre Live, and the behind-the-scenes extras add value and enrichment for viewers. “Fathom always likes to offer some kind of additional content for our audiences to enjoy and to create a complete event experience,” wrote John Rubey, Fathom's CEO, when we asked about those extras. “For The Hurt Business, we will have an exclusive pre-recorded intro by Rashad Evans as well a 15-minute featurette on the making of the film and legendary fight clips.” 

If you've ever set foot inside the octagon, or are just fascinated by these modern-day gladiators and exactly what they give up for the sport, be sure to check out this inside look at cage fighting.

THE HURT BUSINESS: A Deeper Look into MMA screens at 7 p.m. on September 29 at nine theaters in Houston and surrounding areas. For more information, visit fathomevents.com/event/the-hurt-business. Price varies by location.

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