Director Michael Tucker of the new MMA Documentary Fightville tells us what surprised him the most about the sport.
Despite what some may think, there’s more to Mixed Martial Arts than just punching and kicking your way to fame and fortune. The new documentary Fightville shows the gritty reality of starting at the bottom and working your way (hopefully) to the top. The film follows two up-and-coming fighters, Dustin Poirier and Albert Stainback. The film’s director, Michael Tucker, talked to us about making the movie and the surprises he learned about the sport.
Are Your Ready To Be Huuuuuuumbled?!
Michael Tucker: Yes. This movie will humble those who want to get into the sport. There are thousands of guys out there who want to be in the UFC. The sport has eclipsed boxing and other sports. Kids want to train in MMA now. But those kids may be humbled by $500 paychecks. They will be humbled by getting into an organization like the UFC and training for three or four months for a fight where they can maybe win $6,000. That was the most humbling part I saw. After we stopped filming our star Dustin Poirier, he went to the WEC which was absorbed by the UFC and now he’s undefeated in the UFC, but it wasn’t until his last fight that he earned a substantial amount of money. Still, it’s the new American dream.
Dustin Could Not Be Reached For Comment
Dustin is willing to give up everything for the sport. He won’t do press for this film because he says, “I can’t do it. I have to rest. I have a huge fight coming up on May 15th.” Most people would have said, “Yeah, I’ll go to New York and stay in a nice hotel and do press.” He’d rather be in a stinky gym right now training eight hours a day.
Why Follow Dustin and Albert?
Very early one we were just filming the sport and I saw Dustin fight. My camera just happened to be on and I see this guy throw a kick and knock another guy out. It was so fluid and beautiful. I had never seen anything like that. I just felt like he had the stuff that makes a great fighter. His trainer, Tim Credeur, told us that Dustin had what it takes to make it to the top. So we wanted to see how that played out.
The other fighter, Albert Stainback, is more like me. He’s a little more underground - a little more edgy. His walkout music is the theme from A Clockwork Orange and he wears a bowler hat. He is walking pop culture. A lot of people identify with him. Albert could talk the talk, but when it came to really putting in the hours, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t get over his own emotional life to fully commit to the physical one.
It’s Not About Size
If you’re the biggest guy, that doesn’t mean anything. It’s about martial arts, and that’s part art and part science. You need so much endurance and cardio work. I never realized that before. To go five rounds in the UFC you need to be in the shape of an Olympic athlete.
Ouch!!! My Ego!
Seeing someone’s dreams get crushed right there in the ring is one of hardest things to witness. When you see someone who put their soul and body into something and to see them lose...it’s almost unbearable to watch. And if the fighter can walk away from a loss and not let it get to them, it makes them even stronger. Few people can do that. Most people who go into the cage will only do it once. As a filmmaker who has a movie coming out, I know there will be some bad reviews, and some of them may sting. But I’m not being choked-out in the middle of an arena.
Hate seeing the nose go. I never saw or heard an orbital bone get crushed until we made this movie. Or an arm get snapped. But then again, refereeing has come a long way in the sport. Fights are getting stopped before they get out of hand. We now have refs who can see when an armbar has gone too far.
The biggest surprise was that this kid (Dustin) kept winning. As a documentary filmmaker, you never know how something will turn out. I went to Iraq numerous times to make films, and you never know what’s going to happen there, but in a bad way. Making war movies has its own kind of stress. The stress of this movie was that he could have been knocked out at any moment. It’s stressful, but it’s also exciting. We’re the luckiest filmmakers in the world because we found someone who had what it takes to go all the way.
The media tends to look down on the sport, and the culture surrounding the sport. So some people may not understand that these are true athletes. Fans are glad that this movie shows the sport with a level of respect. It’s a fan movie.
Fightville opens in the select theaters and is available for download April 20.
Offical Site: http://www.pepperandbones.com/_fightville/