Academy Award Winning Director Daniel Junge (Saving Face) and director Bryan Storkel (Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians) team up with producers Eben Kostbar and Joseph McKelheer (The Hammer) for a feature documentary about the confluence of Christianity and mixed martial arts, including ministries which train fighters. The film follows several pastors and popular fighters in their quest to reconcile their faith with a sport that many consider violent and barbaric.
This documentary delivers a punch! Several pastors featured in the film liken fighting to being a warrior, to fighting the good fight of faith. Others, such as the priest John Duffel, are repulsed by Christians fighting in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and unabashedly say so. Those in favor refer to it as a “sport” and talk about the discipline needed and how they absolutely love their opponents. Indeed, many pastors fight each other and there seems to be genuine respect between them before and after the bouts. But that in-between period—when the fighting takes place in an enclosed ring—can be vicious indeed. Those opposed don’t view it as a sport, but simply as “violence.” One says, “How can you love your neighbor as yourself and then turn around and kick him in the face as hard as you can?”
This film will be debated by both sides of the issue. One fighter mentions the warrior spirit of King David, who was called a man after God’s own heart. An audience member cries out, “Choke him! Choke him!” A few of the pastors give their congregations reports about the fight they were in the night before. Still, the fighters insist that they witness for the Lord and that fighting is a part of them. They insist that the spiritual part of them remains strong.
“Fight Church” won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but its originality and interesting subject matter will entertain many. It also features the ongoing battle some face in getting MMA professional fights legalized in the state of New York. One thing is for sure: it offers both sides of the issue and the viewer is left to make up his own mind about what he believes about fighting. Due to the fighting and some blood, the violence content hits a level three, but the documentary definitely has a strong message of redemption. We are pleased to award “Fight Church” our Faith Based Seal.