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5 Documentaries About Fighting Men

5 Documentaries About Fighting Men

A vintage pencil drawing of fighting men

Start watching clips of sporting greats on Youtube, and you’ll invariably find yourself at some point watching a collection of Mike Tyson’s biggest knockouts, from here it’s a slippery slope into the world of UFC, Conor McGregor and before you know it you’re watching bullies get a taste of their own medicine.

In no time at all its 2 am and your listening to Lenny McClean aka ‘The Guv’nor’ talking about dishing out a good hiding to eighteen scoundrels he went head to head with on the cobbles while working the doors of nightclubs. What’s that you say, “not me”.

Well, that’s cool, because we don’t want you to – we here at The MALESTROM would like you to spend your precious time more wisely, which is why we’ve put together a list of five documentaries about proper hard as nails fighting men, and you’ll thank us for it. Fighting ain’t big and it certainly ain’t clever – but it can make for some bloody good viewing – enjoy!

The Smashing Machine

Featuring one of the greatest fighters to ever step inside the octagon – Mark Kerr. A college wrestler – this well-spoken, unassuming giant of a man became a star in the early days of mixed martial arts, with his brute strength and relentless approach, he was destined for greatness.

Back in the day there was even talk of a matchup with Tyson, in much the same way as McGregor and Mayweather currently. A superb documentary full of twists and turns, it’s an engrossing tale of a man who at one point had it all. Available on Youtube


Another story about a mixed martial great Rickson Gracie – in fact, a whole family full of the most skilled judo fighting men the world has seen. A quick search on Google will tell you that this is a clan not to be messed with! A fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the world of mixed martial arts, once again in the early years. Available on Youtube

Paul Sykes at Large

A completely left-field suggestion we’ll admit, but no less worthy of note. This old school doc is so far under the radar; even we’re surprised it came to our attention. Following the life of notorious Wakefield hard man and former British heavyweight boxing prospect after his release from prison.

It’s a fascinating look at how a man’s life can very easily unravel. Intelligent, dangerous, sometimes downright nasty – Paul Sykes was one tough bastard. Available on Youtube

The Real Miyagi

A doc that popped up out of nowhere, it follows the story of Femia Demura – a man considered the greatest karate master of his generation. A look at Femia’s life, from starting from nothing on arrival in the US to becoming the inspiration for the Mr Miyagi character in Karate Kid. Plus who knew Pat Morita was nominated for an Oscar for that very role – fascinating stuff. Watch the trailer here.

I Am Bruce Lee

The title says it all, not much to say other than the film features some great archive footage, rare interviews and ninety minutes worth of exploring the life of one of the all-time great fighting men. Available on Dailymotion.

And if at any point it all gets a bit too much and you need a break from all the testosterone, get on over to your favourite search engine and type in Fred Dibnah Steeplejack, and watch the man himself knocking industrial chimneys down with a bog standard hammer – now that’s The MALESTROM!

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