Last Summer there was a casting call in Boston for MMA refs. I am an MMA ref so I tried out. Through the divine intervention of Mark DellaGrotte, I got a bit part.
I pulled into the filming area expecting to see dozens of cars. There were 100s.
The sets are mindboggling.
I asked Renzo once is Rickson as good as everyone says? He thought for a second, and then said "He's perfect." That is how the sets were, perfect.
I have cornered reffed judged commentated ushered sold beer etc at way over 100 local shows, maybe 100s. The little-show fight scene looked perfectly authentic. On another stage they recreated Sityodtong, right down to every detail including the stove.
The filming cost 175k per day. Budget was $60,000,000.
Chael Sonnen was there, Bas Rutten, Wanderlei Silva, Mark DellaGrotte, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, and 300-800 extras.
Kevin James was going through scenes. After 39 years in fighting, I can tell when someone moves properly.
In 1964 United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously defined porn. "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it..."
Same thing with fighting. If a guy is good, at Judo, at BJJ, at kickboxing, at MMA, I can't even tell you what it is, but I know it when I see it.
It takes many years of hard work. Sometimes guys look awkward, but are good. But when someone moves right, they are always good.
Kevin James is good. In an early scene when he was supposed to be green, he was having a hard time looking like someone who was not good.
Jason Lambert was the stunt double for Kevin James. They look like twins pretty much.
Fight choreographer, Garrett Warren, has an eye patch, cooler stories than Miles Davis, and choreographed Avatar.
Ryan Parson's is the genius - I am not using the term loosely - behind the fight scenes. Every second of fighting has months of preparation.
I looked at maybe 30 mins of footage over someone's shoulder; this is the most realistic fight footage I have ever seen. Forget No Way Out or Red Belt or whatever dopey MMA stuff there has been, for realism this is going to beat Raging Bull, some of the later Rocky filcs (fight scenes in the early ones were awful), Fat City, and, as I said, anything I have ever seen.
MMA has been screaming out for someone to show it as it is. This is it.
The UFC hasn’t offered to allow anyone prior to this film to use their name since Zuffa took over ownership in January of 2001.
“I like Kevin and he called me up and he’s passionate about the sport, he wanted to do this movie. We haven’t given the rights to anybody,” UFC President Dana White said. “(In the movie) it’s UFC, we gave him the rights to it.”
Everybody who’s associated with the UFC is in this movie. Everybody was in it, Rogan, everybody was in it."
Just don't expect to see White in the picture.
“They asked me; I’m no actor. No way in hell I would do that,” White said with a laugh.
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