UFC on the big screen: how good are MMA movies?

UFC is a global phenomenon, with millions of people tuning into UFC 196 to see Conor McGregor take on Nate Diaz.

Despite McGregor’s loss, there’s no doubt that he’s one of UFC’s biggest stars. And history suggests that he will eventually, like other big UFC fighters, star in his own movie. In fact, another UFC star, Ronda Rousey, has gone on record to say she’d like to star as Samus Aran in a Metroid movie and was rumoured to be cast in a remake of Roadhouse.

But should MMA stars stick to the octagon? We had a look at some of their previous movies to find out.

Locked Down

Produced by Tap Out, Locked Down stars Kimbo Slice and Rashad Evans. Neither has to stray too far from their roots either, as they both play fighters.

The plot sees a cop set up by a criminal boss (played by ex-soccer star Vinnie Jones) and forced to join an underground fighting circuit to clear his name.

Although Slice and Evans do a decent job, the movie only scores 4.3/10 on IMDB. Still, it’s pretty good if you like your MMA with a bit of story.

Never Surrender

Héctor Echavarría, a real-life karate master, directs and stars in this tale of an underground fighting circuit a dude has to survive. The stakes are much higher than your usual UFC bout though, with most fights descending into blood-spattered death matches.

This one is billed as starring ‘the world’s top MMA fighters in their first feature film’. It’s not lying on that front either, with a good chunk of the UFC roster appearing: Georges St-Pierres, Anderson Silva, B.J. Penn and Quinton Jackson to name just a few.

Unfortunately, audiences don’t seem to have taken to this one either. It only has 2.7/10 on IMDB, with a lot of the criticism aimed at the fight sequences and acting. That score would land it in IMDB’s Bottom 100, but it wasn’t released theatrically so doesn’t qualify.


Two of the biggest forces in MMA moviemaking, Tap Out and Héctor Echavarría, teamed up for Unrivalled, which sees the best fighter in the world (who doesn’t realise it yet) join a competition to fight in Maximum Cage Warriors, the movie’s version of UFC. He’ll have to defeat his arch-nemesis to win though.

It’s a bit like Karate Kid, but more brutal and not quite as good: IMDB users scored it just 4.1/10.

Hell’s Chain

Yep, it’s another Héctor Echavarría production/starring vehicle! This time, Héctor moves away from the Octagon to take on the world of international assassination.

After his family are murdered by his old cronies in ‘The Deadly Assassins’, Héctor goes on a revenge mission. It’s like Kill Bill, except with tons of MMA fighters. Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierres and Frank Mir all make an appearance.

Despite the 4.6 rating on IMDB, we think Hell’s Chain sounds pretty awesome.

Every ‘Scorpion King’ movie that doesn’t star The Rock

Various UFC stars have tried to the fill the Rock-shaped hole at the heart of The Scorpion King franchise, with Randy Couture appearing as the main villain in the 2nd, Kimbo Slice appearing in the 3rd and Royce Gracie starring in the 4th.

Despite their best efforts, none of the sequels are as good as the original.

The Eliminator

The Eliminator is a 2004 direct-to-video movie starring Bas Rutten, one of UFC’s greatest fighters ever.

While it’s not going to be remembered as a cinematic classic, it sounds like pretty good fun. Bas enters a boat race to win $250K but is drugged and kidnapped by Michael Rooker, AKA Merle from The Walking Dead.

He’s then forced to compete in a survival game with 6 others, a bit like The Hunger Games but with ex-fighters. It only has 3.6 on IMDB but we reckon this one has ‘guilty pleasure’ written all over it.


Warrior is maybe the most famous MMA movie of them all, despite having no actual fighters in a lead role. Instead, acting heavyweights Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton star as warring brothers who meet in the Octagon, with Nick Nolte as their father.

Actual MMA fighters do appear though, with Rashad Evans the most notable. With 8.2 on IMDB and 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, this is the pinnacle of MMA movies.

The Expendables

Sly Stallone obviously loves MMA as he cast Randy Couture in a major role as Toll Road, a demolitions expert, in all 3 movies.

In the 3rd movie, Ronda Rousey made her debut on the big screen too as Luna, a nightclub bouncer.

What is your favorite movie starring a UFC fighter? Let us know in the comments!

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