I have a soft spot for sports stars appearing in movies, though usually for the wrong reasons: they generally suck – and when they don’t, the movies they appear in do.
For the longest time this trend has been led by the professional wrestling world, but we might see an upsurge of MMA stars also making the step across. As part of its historical $4 billion sale to WME/IMG, the UFC is keen to create more movie and television opportunities for their athletes.
Smell What the UFC Is Cooking
UFC President Dana White told TMZ in a phone interview that the deal will open such opportunities, putting his fighters alongside names like John Cena and, er, well that’s probably it. Perhaps I could cite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but most of his cinematic adventures have taken place outside of the folds of the WWE, the wrestling organisation he was associated with.
The fighters are probably very happy – nothing beats being punched in the face than to spend weeks in exotic locales making simple movies. Just ask Edge as he strutted around projecting Magnum P.I.’s wardrobe in Bending The Rules. That looked like a fun gig.
Edge is back with another wrestler, Lana, in Interrogation, and it looks as dazzlingly typical as you’d expect. Count some of the other wonderful movie franchises like The Marine and you know what we are in for.
I’m a fan of Gina Carano, arguably the first MMA star to really make a go at a movie career. She’s not bad onscreen, but she’s not a good actor. Her action scenes are always top notch, especially in Haywire, and she made for a good right hand villain in Deadpool, but she can’t carry it on her own. Just watch In The Blood.
Rhonda Rousey was equally wooden in both Fast & Furious 7 and The Expendables 2 (alongside the underwhelming Randy Couture). Georges St-Pierre has appeared in some pretty forgettable crap. Tito Ortiz’s most prominent appearance was in Zombie Strippers. Chuck Liddell has had a number of prominent cameos, mainly acting himself, though I didn’t know he has a small role as a kid in the Jack Nicholson classic The Postman Always Rings Twice.
(One bucks the trend: not surprisingly the iconclastic Forrest Griffin, who was an actor before he became a fighter.)
Wrestlers hardly make for good actors, but at least they can get away with some charisma – just as Diamond Dallas Page. MMA fighters have little of that going. It’s pretty much the same reason why Jeremy Clarke invented The Stig: racing drivers are high on talent, but low on personality. Other professional athletes often tick the same box. Really, would you watch a movie that headlines Wayne Rooney? Not unless he’s playing the son of Bricktop.
Yeah, I’d probably pay to see that. But any role with more than two lines of dialog should probably be kept out of the hands of MMA fighters.
Last Updated: July 12, 2016