Mixed Martial Arts is bigger than ever. So much so that Hollywood is finding ways to push movies about the sport. David Mamet’s Redbelt was an overlooked gem from 2008 that was more of a fictional exploration of one man who competes not for pride or fame, but to honor the tradition. Mamet even described Redbelt as a samurai film in the tradition of Kurosawa.
Ultimate Fighting has also been the subject of several documentaries including The Smashing Machine: Mark Kerr, Choke, The Reem and upcoming releases Like Water (subject Anderson Silva) and Fightville (you can read my review here).
This fall we’ll also get the Hollywood version with Warrior (watch the trailer), a new film by Gavin O’Conner (Miracle) starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte.
Inspirational sports stories are always fitting for movie treatments, because the Hollywood ending is already built in. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone why studios would be interested in showcasing the life of MMA fighter Rich Franklin.
According to The Holywood Reporter, Franklin’s rise from math teacher to mixed martial artist and UFC champion will be one of the subjects in a new film titled American Fighter.
Regarding the news that Eric Eisner’s Double E Pictures and Motion Theory had optioned the life rights to his story, Richard Franklin remarked, “I’m excited to see the story of my career as a fighter brought to the screen, and I feel confident that the team assembled will do a great job in telling this story.”
In addition to Franklin’s story, the film will explore how the sport of mixed martial arts has transformed into a billion-dollar industry.