Movies Starring MMA Fighters

Monday, March 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Movies Starring MMA Fighters

The world of mixed martial arts continues to grow in popularity, and a number of stars from the UFC, Pride, and other organizations have been featured at theatres and on straight-to-DVD releases. This list serves as a guide to some of these films, although I have to warn you in advance that many of these movies are far from instant classics. They do, however, feature brawny guys in one capacity or another, so anyone looking for movies starring MMA fighters won’t be entirely disappointed.

All of these titles can be found at Netflix, the leader in online movie rentals. It’s only a matter of time before some MMA star becomes a major action hero, and you can bet that Netflix will be there to offer all their movies to subscribers.

Now let’s get it on….

Pandorum (2009) – A convoluted film about two spaceship officers (Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster) who wake from suspended animation and find their memories gone. As the search for answers begins, they learn that they’re on a ship carrying 60,000 sleeping passengers, and some sort of creatures stalk the darkened corridors of the Elysium and feed on human flesh. Other survivors who get involved in the action include a hot warrior woman (Antje Traue) and a Vietnamese man (MMA star Cung Le) who’s surprisingly adept at killing cannibalistic horrors.

The Expendables (2010) – Sylvester Stallone directs and stars in this bit of nostalgia featuring action heroes and tough guys from the last several decades. After being hired to overthrow a Latin American dictator, a band of mercenaries start to wonder if they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Tons of familiar faces are present, especially if you’re a fan of action movies. The cast includes Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy “The Natural” Couture, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Gary Daniels, Steve Austin, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Amazingly, Jean-Claude Van Damme and his ego refused a part in the film, as did Steven Seagal.

We Own the Night (2007) – Oleg Taktarov made a big splash in the early days of the UFC. Now he shows up in movies, such as this film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg as a pair of brothers (the former a nightclub manager and the latter a cop) caught up in the search for a dangerous Russian mobster. Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes round out the cast, and the film provides a few decent thespian moments between shouting matches and shootouts. By the way, be sure to say hello to your mother for Mark Wahlberg.

Never Surrender (2009) – Billed as “the world’s top MMA fighters in their first feature film,” Never Surrender is an uneven film about a mixed martial arts champ (Hector Echavarria) who finds himself drawn into the dangerous and sometimes lethal world of underground cage fighting. But the women are hot, and the appearance of fighters such as Quinton Jackson, Anderson Silva, B.J. Penn, Heath Herring, and Georges St. Pierre should keep MMA fans satisfied.

The Midnight Meat Train (2008) – Before they appeared together in The A-Team, Bradley Cooper and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson both worked on this horror movie based on the short story from Clive Barker. Cooper stars as a photographer looking to capture the gritty realism of the city, and this brings him into contact with Mahogany (Vinnie Jones), a maniac who slaughters late-night passengers on the subway for mysterious reasons only revealed in the film’s final act. Jackson has a much smaller part, playing a tough guy who engages Mahogany in a memorable knock-down, drag-out fight on a subway car. Brooke Shields co-stars as an art gallery owner, while Leslie Bibb looks gorgeous as the doomed girlfriend. Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura does an outstanding job, quickly making The Midnight Meat Train one of the best movies starring MMA fighters.

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The A-Team (2010) – An American Special Forces team stationed in Iraq is court-martialed and imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit. They escape, of course, and go looking for those responsible. Based on the popular TV show from the 1980s, The A-Team is the typical Hollywood production that’s long on explosions but short on real excitement. Liam Neeson stars as Hannibal Smith, the role popularized by the late George Peppard. Other members of the team include pilot “Howling Mad” Murdock (Sharlto Copley), resident heartthrob Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper), and total badass “B.A.” Baracus (MMA fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson). Cooper is the best of the bunch, especially in his opening scene where he responds to torture and the possibility of being burned alive with a litany of smartass remarks. Jessica Biel and Patrick Wilson round out the cast.

Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) – The 28th film in the Godzilla series, Godzilla: Final Wars marked the 50th anniversary of the franchise and included many actors and monsters seen in previous installments. Godzilla has been buried under the ice of Antarctica for decades, but the appearance of numerous monsters leads the Earth Defense Force to thaw him out in a desperate bid for survival. From that point on, Godzilla kicks all kinds of ass, letting out a roar that would make the members of Blue Oyster Cult (minus Gene Frenkle) nod in approval. Amidst all the Asian faces is MMA legend Don Frye, making his film debut as the heroic Captain Douglas Gordon. Sadly, his bitchin’ moustache doesn’t receive its own screen credit.

The Longest Yard (2005) – After he’s sent to prison, former NFL quarterback Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) must try to survive with everyone from the cons to the guards out to get him. But things get even worse when the sadistic warden (James Cromwell) taps Crewe to put together a football team filled with inmates to take on the guard’s semi-pro squad. Bob Sapp is the only MMA competitor to show up in the comedy, but plenty of other athletes are present (including everyone from Michael Irvin to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin). It’s fun watching the ensemble cast at work, although the original Burt Reynolds’ version remains the superior option.

Big Stan (2007) – Rob Schneider makes his directorial debut (and stars) in this straight-to-DVD release about Stan Minton, a con artist who’s sentenced to prison for fraud. Terrified of being raped, he dedicates himself to the study of martial arts before his incarceration, eventually hiring a chain-smoking sensei known only as “The Master” (David Carradine). His practice pays off, and soon Stan is beating the crap out of every con in the yard. As he slowly brings the unruly prison population under control, he runs afoul of the warden (Scott Wilson) and his scheme to have the prison closed down. The usual nonsense you’d expect from Schneider, but it does feature a number of MMA fighters, including Bob Sapp, Don Frye, and Randy Couture (all playing inmates).

Drillbit Taylor (2008) – The last film John Hughes wrote before his death, Drillbit Taylor concerns a group of high school freshmen who decide to hire a bodyguard to keep bullies at bay. They select Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), a man who claims to be a martial arts expert. In reality, however, he’s a homeless man who eats out of a dumpster. Leslie Mann co-stars as the love interest, and UFC icon Chuck Liddell makes a cameo as himself.

The next time you find yourself thinking “I wonder if Randy Couture can act?”, be sure to check out these movies starring MMA fighters. While none of Dana White’s guys are going to be nominated for an Oscar anytime soon, the continuing popularity of the sport means that an increased number of athletes will get the chance to trade in their mouthpieces for Hollywood drivel.

All the films listed above can be found at Netflix, and their multiple subscription plans make them an excellent option for all kinds of household budgets. We do get a small commission if you sign up, but any profits we receive go right back into the site.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 14th, 2011 at 10:19 pm and is filed under Bad Movies, Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Movies Starring MMA Fighters”

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March 29, 2012

Terry Snow

Holy shite, my wife loves Rob Schneider movies. I need a bad movie survival guide to get through another one of those. At least he seems to be off the radar mostly these days. Hey, OGM, do you see any current MMA guys becoming action stars?

March 29, 2012



There’s nobody in the MMA world who really jumps out at me. Quentin Jackson might have a chance, as he’s already starred in a number of action roles. Unfortunately, his acting chops are pretty raw, and that’s saying something in a genre that made Van Damme and Seagal stars. Many of the other MMA stars are generic-looking white guys without much screen presence. There’s bound to be someone eventually, but I think that true crossover star has yet to appear.

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