Combat sport and movies and a match made in heaven. Intense storylines of personal struggle and overcoming pair themselves well with movies and MMA. On this list, we want to discuss the Top 5 MMA Movies in History. Also, with Halle Berry’s Bruised coming out next month it made for a fitting time to look back at past MMA movies. This list assembles the best MMA movies in history.
Top 5 MMA Movies
5. Fighting (2009)
Fighting is an MMA movie about fighting. Channing Tatum takes the lead role in this film. And this was before he was a megastar with major Tatum releases such as Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street not arriving until 2012. With a 5.6/10 on IMDB and 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, this is still one of the better MMA movies in existence.
Young counterfeiter, Shawn MacArthur (Tatum) enters into the world of underground street fighting. He is a New York street tough and will be managed by a known scam artist Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard).
Fighting has several athletes and stars, and an impressive list of sportsbooks.
4. Redbelt (2008)
2008’s Redbelt sees Chiwetel Ejiofor, best known for 12 Years a Slave, star alongside Hollywood staple comedian Tim Allen and former UFC Champion Randy Couture. In this 2008 movie Mike Terry (Ejiofor) is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor who doesn’t compete in prizefighting due to honor and pride. However, events transpire, and debts begin to rise, and Mike Terry may have to start fighting to make ends meet.
The official movie tagline is, “There’s always a way out. You just have to find it.” 6.7/10 on IMDB and a solid 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. This 2008 flick is worth the watch.
3. Here Comes the Boom (2012)
Comedian and television star Kevin James in 2012 put together an ambitious roster of stars for a comedic movie which became one of the highest-grossing MMA movies at the box office. In Here Comes the Boom Kevin James plays Biology teacher Scott Voss, Bas Rutten plays Niko, Henry Winkler plays Marty Streb, Selma Hayek plays Bella Flores, and Joe Rogan plays Joe Rogan.
To raise money to save school programs, high school teacher Scott Voss may have to strap on the gloves and enter the cage. This movie earned over $70 million at the box office.
2. Never Back Down (2008)
Never Back Down makes the list as fun and corny action movie. If you’re a fan of high-paced action flicks then this is a must-watch. A high school student, Jake Tyler (Sean Faris) moves to a new town and has trouble fitting in. He finds out about an underground fight club but is dominated by the bully, and general jerk, Ryan McCarthy (Cam Gigandet). Will he defeat the bully and get the girl? Love interest notably played by Amber Heard.
One can also check out Never Back Down 2 with UFC Heavyweight Todd Duffee and Evan Peters. Never Back Down 3: No Surrender is another welcome addition to this franchise and features Michael Jai White and former UFC Champion Josh Barnett.
Bonus: Bloodsport (1988)
Impressively earning $50 million at the box office in 1988, Bloodsport is a bonus on a list of MMA movies. The main character was not officially competing in MMA but instead competing under Kumite rules which are described as a no rules, free fighting, martial arts tournament which can end in death. This film is loosely based on the true story of Frank Dux. In Hong Kong Frank (Jean-Claude Van Damme) walks out of the army to compete in the ultimate martial arts tournament. How can the American succeed in such a high-stakes martial arts tournament?
This movie likely inspired MMA great Georges St-Pierre to begin competing in martial arts. St-Pierre says Van Damme was one of his biggest heroes. “Fighting him for me was like fighting the hero of my day. It was a dream come true.” St-Pierre said in 2016. “It was like fighting my mentor, so to speak. This was the guy who inspired me to be in the UFC and all of these things, so I was very nervous, but I knew Jean-Claude from before, so I wanted to do well. “
1. Warrior (2011)
Warrior being the best MMA movie ever made won’t come as a surprise to you. It has quality reviews and great leads. However, you may be surprised to learn that it lost money and flopped at the box office. Starring Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy, it earned 8.1/10 on IMDB and 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, yet its budget was $25 million and it only grossed $23 million at the box office.
This movie is well worth the watch. MMA takes the backseat to family drama in which two brothers will meet in the cage, in which Rolling Stone said, “Comes out swinging in this flawed but fiercely moving family drama.” And Quickflix added, “The finale – despite its violence – is beautiful.”
For this list, we only included MMA movies strictly and not overall combat sports movies. Rocky, Kickboxer, Fight Club, and The Karate Kid are still recommended and great films.