ByMatt Juul, writer at
MMA and Entertainment Writer
Matt Juul

When it comes to making good movies about mixed martial arts, Hollywood hasn't always delivered. However, there have been some gems over the years.

From campy comedies to gut-wrenching dramas, filmmakers have churned out all sorts of movies, but only a select few have been able to excite audiences or earn a solid box office return.

Check out our list of the 10 best MMA movies.

10. Here Comes the Boom

Most critics will tell you that Here Comes the Boom is awful, however, compared to other MMA movies, it's not half bad. Sure, it's extremely campy, but at least it has solid production value and a who's who list of MMA cameos. Bas Rutten, Joe Rogan, Bruce Buffer, Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, and more all show up in the movie.

9. Blood and Bone

Michael Jai White has shown up in a few MMA flicks over the years, but one of his most notable has to be Blood and Bone. A bit over the top, even by martial arts movies standards, the film includes appearances by a number of real fighters, including Gina Carano, Kimbo Slice, Bob Sapp, and Maurice Smith.

8. Sultan

The newest addition to the list, this sports drama follows an Indian wrestler who's enlisted to help salvage a fledgling MMA league. Sultan, which features a cameo by welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, made an absurd amount of money at international box offices. Expect to see more martial arts movies to come out of Bollywood.

7. Like Water

Anderson Silva fans were treated to an intimate look at the Spider's career in the documentary Like Water. A play off the famous Bruce Lee quote, the film is an impressive showcase of Silva's skills when he was in his prime.

6. Never Back Down

This martial arts movie meets high school drama isn't a critical gem, but for some reason, it's endeared itself to MMA fans. A bit like a modern Karate Kid for Millennials, Never Back Down follows the underdog story of a new kid in town who trains to take out the school bully. The film also features an early appearance by star Amber Heard.

5. Redbelt

This 2008 martial arts film is criminally underrated by viewers despite earning praise for critics. Redbelt features actor and star Chiwetel Ejiofor as a mild-manner Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor who is forced to enter the world of fighting. The film also includes appearances by Tim Allen, Alice Braga, and MMA notables like former UFC champion Randy Couture and announcer Mike Goldberg. Enson Inoue and Dan Inosanto have roles in the flick as well.

4. Choke

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu icon Rickson Gracie stars in this amazing feature length documentary about his legendary career in the ring and on the mats. For hardcore fight fans, Choke will take you back to the days when grapplers in gis were almost mythic figures in the world of MMA. Boy how things have changed.

3. Bloodsport

Although kumites are a bit bloodier and archaic compared to today's version of cage fighting, Jean-Claude Van Damme's cult-classic film still featured many of the pillars of MMA, such as a variety of styles and a more open approach to rules. Bloodsport may not have earned a ton of critical acclaim, but it still did pretty well at the box office and continues to excite fans of martial arts movies.

2. Warrior

Easily the best modern MMA film, director Gavin O'Connor's drama about a pair of estranged brothers who end up fighting inside the cage earned a ton of praise when it was released in 2011. Actor Nick Nolte earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the father to siblings, played by Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton. actor Frank Grillo also appears in the film as the trainer for Edgerton's character.

1. Enter the Dragon

This may be a controversial pick since the sport didn't really exist when the film came out, but since Bruce Lee is considered the "Godfather of MMA," we're sticking with it. Enter the Dragon revolves around Lee's character looking to avenge the death of his sister by taking part in a no holds bar martial arts tournament. Lee shows off all sorts of amazing moves that have since become staples in a fighters' arsenals, and he even sports a pair of primitive MMA gloves while pulling off a submission in the film's opening fight scene. He was truly ahead of his time.

*Bonus Viewing*

The Smashing Machine

The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr is a documentary directed by John Hyams about the mixed martial arts career and personal life of Mark Kerr. The documentary is critically acclaimed for its sobering account of the brutal sport of early no holds barred fighting and the depths of addiction in which Kerr succumbs to and eventually overcomes. (citation: Wikipedia)

Rites of Passage

Follow Underdogs Johnny and Andrew Burrows on their journey trying to make it in no holds barred fightingSpecial profile on WWF Star Ron H20 Man Waterman. The Rise and Fall of a Champion Kevin Randleman profileThe best Royce Gracie footage ever seen Profile on Pride Grand Prix Champion Mark The Hammer Coleman. (citation: Amazon)

Check Out Phil Davis' Top Combat Sports Movies:

What's your favorite MMA movie? Let us know in the comments below.


Latest from our Creators