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UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a series of documentary shorts about the organization, its history and the fascinating characters that have passed through it.
UFC 25 Years in Short is a 25-part series with installations that will tackle everything from the disputed beginnings of the octagon to the personal journeys of stars like Chuck Liddell and Ronda Rousey. The shorts are helmed by award-winning directors and producers, including several alums of ESPN’s 30 for 30 film series, such as Nick and Colin Barnicle, Adam Condal, Jason Hehir, Rory Karpf and Matt Ogens, among others.
“This will be a real nostalgic look back at the UFC,” president Dana White told The Hollywood Reporter. “There will be things that come up that even the most hardcore fans don’t know. And for the people who have recently become fans, they will be able to look back and learn a lot about the history.”
The series will kick off with the September premiere of the short Country Boy Can Survive: The Story of Matt Hughes’ Fight for Survival, which chronicles the trials of the titular UFC Hall of Famer as he fought for his life following an accident. Country Boy Can Survive will premiere on UFC’s YouTube channel, after which the shorts will then premiere one at a time, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET on UFC’s subscription streaming service Fight Pass.
UFC 25 Years in Short will culminate with the final film debuting Monday, Nov. 12, UFC’s official 25th anniversary.
“Since the purchase by [Endeavor] so many of our fighters are now in movies. And a lot of people in the industry invested in the UFC,” said White of the organization’s continued foray into Hollywood after the agency purchased the company in 2016. “But with or without WME, this thing was meant to cross over to that world. All actors want to do fight movies and all fighters want to become actors.”
The September premiere dates for UFC 25 Years in Short are below.
Octo: The Disputed Origin Story of the UFC Octagon
In 1993, the UFC was born in an eight-sided cradle of combat, and promoters, TV producers and Hollywood set designers still dispute who is the Octagon’s true creator.
Premiere Date: Monday, Sept. 17
The Lions’s Den: The Story of the First Mixed Martial Arts Team
In 1994, Ken Shamrock assembled the first-ever MMA team, the Lion’s Den, and showed that success in the ultimate individual sport was a team effort.
Premiere Date: Wednesday, Sept. 19
Ultimate Accessory: The Story of the UFC Championship Belt
Since 1995, UFC belts have become the ultimate accessory prized by all MMA fighters, but their history is a little known and often surprising story.
Premiere Date: Friday, Sept. 21
Blackout: The Story of the Political Crusade to Keep UFC Off TV
In 1996, a political crusade to ban ultimate fighting successfully pressured the cable TV industry to stop airing UFC events, nearly extinguishing the new sport.
Premiere Date: Monday, Sept. 24
Judgement Day: The Story of the UFC Getting Run Out of Town
In 1997, UFC 12 was set to take place in Buffalo, New York. However, the day prior, New York changed its laws to effectively ban MMA in the state for the next 20 years. The event then found a new home in Dothan, Alabama.
Premiere Date: Wednesday, Sept. 26
The Ice Age: The Story of Chuck Liddell, the First UFC Superstar
Chuck Liddell, who connected with knockout punches and with fans around the world like no UFC fighter before him, became UFC’s first true crossover superstar.
Premiere Date: Friday, Sept. 28
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