THE HURT BUSINESS REVIEW: A COMPREHENSIVE, DEMYSTIFYING DOC ON MMA

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07 Oct THE HURT BUSINESS REVIEW: A COMPREHENSIVE, DEMYSTIFYING DOC ON MMA

All of those things that go thump in the fight.

Herald Sun | October 7th, 2016

Both well researched and tightly constructed, The Hurt Business is a refreshingly comprehensive, demystifying documentary look at the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).

First things first: it will be best to drop any long-held theories you have on the world of MMA. Going on the evidence presented here, you’ve probably got a lot of it wrong.

There is much, more to this overwhelmingly popular, yet highly misunderstood fighting discipline than its most prominent platform, the all-conquering UFC, would have you believe.

So if you are a fan merely wanting on-brand endorsement of all things MMA by the best and brightest biffers of the UFC, your cage could well be rattled by what you see here.

Though many of the biggest names in the game do appear as very frank interviewees throughout The Hurt Business, director Vlad Yudin (who did some similarly fine work a few years back covering competitive bodybuilding in Generation Iron) casts a wider investigative net than many aficionados will be expecting.

Dark rumours of drug use, concussion-induced mental health issues, dreadful pay and exploitative conditions for grassroots MMA fighters are all held up to the light for closer examination.

Some of the findings on display will definitely shock some viewers. Other insights — especially those into the intricate level of craft that has shaped the higher echelons of MMA — will leave many onlookers enlightened. Perhaps even keen to check out a live event.

This is not to say The Hurt Business totally nails down all facets of its ambitious approach. While it was definitely a coup for Yudin to secure the services of Kevin Costner as narrator, the veteran actor’s relaxed vocal style is hardly an apt match for much of the electrifying fight footage it is accompanying.

Early sections of the doco establishing a definitive chronology of MMA — which actually has long roots going back to an obscure brand of jiu-jitsu that evolved in Brazil — could have done with a sharper edit.

Nevertheless, The Hurt Business is most impressive for a modern sports doco — tougher on its subject matter than it had to be, and all the better for it.