Reviewed by Marc Glassman


Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker, co-directors, writers and producers

Feature documentary w/Gil “The Thrill” Guillory, “Crazy” Tim Credeur, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier and Albert Stainback



The buzz
Filmmaker Mike “The Truth” Tucker and partner Petra Epperlein are obsessed with combat. Moving from Iraq and its after effects on soldiers, which they covered in Gunner Palace, How to Fold a Flag and Bulletproof Salesman, they’ve found a related subject: mixed martial combat’s rise into a recognized sport in America.

This doc has already been purchased by Showtime, which should pay the bills and encourage Tucker and Epperlein to continue to make their tough, action filled docs.


The genres
Sports films; point-of-view docs; hard-hitting (in more ways than one) doc


The premise
Gil “The Thrill” Guillory is a Louisiana promoter and former professional fighter who has found his métier in the slowly growing field of mixed martial arts (MMA) sports. The combination of Asian jiu-jitsu, karate, etc. with boxing and wrestling has proven to be popular with audiences throughout the States. Guillory has created a Southern minor league entitled the USA-MMA, which stages events in small and medium sized towns—the sort of places that used to be visited by circuses.

One of Guillory’s cronies—we might call them colleagues—is another Southerner with an outsized personality, “Crazy” Tim Credeur; he runs the Gladiators Academy. Credeur is a believer in the ennobling qualities of hand-to-hand combat. Among his students are:

Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier, a tough middleweight fighter is clearly a talent on the rise. His friend Albert Stainback is a good fighter too –but he may lack motivation. What he doesn’t lack is a brain: Stainback loves to make references to Nietzsche and to modernist philosophy and art.

Tension builds as Guillory spends a lot of money to build up a prize- winning series of matches on one night that will involve a number of fighters including—initially–both Stainback and Poirier.

How will it all unfold? Will Guillory make enough money to keep his minor league going? Will Poirier win a title? Will Albert win a game? Only time—and the denouement of the doc—will resolve most of these queries.