James Z. Feng’s feature documentary, “Fight Life,” provided MMA fans with an in-depth look at the career of Jake Shields and Lyle Beerbohm before they stepped inside the Strikeforce cage.
The film, which was awarded the “Best Documentary Award” at the 2013 United Film Festival, also provides interviews with the likes of Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, Chuck Liddell, Frank Shamrock, Bryan Caraway, Miesha Tate and John McCarthy, along with a host of others.
Over the course of the 80 minutes, viewers are given some interesting tidbits about both Shields and Beerbohm, including the fact that Beerbohm took his first MMA fight just eight days after being released from prison after becoming a meth addict.
“While I was in prison, I started watching The Ultimate Fighter and I realized that was what I wanted to do,” Beerbohm says.
His parents, who provide emotional and candid interviews, were supportive in their own ways, despite his father initially saying “I thought he was on drugs (in prison).”
Shields is shown preparing for his 2009 main event fight with Strikeforce against Robbie Lawler. It marked his debut at both middleweight and with the promotion, and the current World Series of Fighting competitor scored a first round submission victory.
We see Shields working out with Melendez, Diaz and taking a trip to American Kickboxing Academy to improve his striking.
“It’s closer to simulating your fight,” said Shields, of training at a different gym. “Everybody is rooting against you and it heats up the competition.”
Beerbohm’s saga begins just a day before his 2009 meeting with Duane “Bang” Ludwig, which “Fancy Pants” won via first round submission to improve to 12-0 at the time.
The origination of the nickname is provided by Beerbohm’s parents, along with more in-depth interviews with them.
It’s a very informative look into the careers – both inside the cage and out of it – of both Shields and Beerbohm. Along with the feature film, the DVD contains bonus segments including commentary by Zeng, a story on Ryan Schultz and a look at “The MMA Couple” of Caraway and Tate.
There are plenty of MMA choices out there for your viewing pleasure, but this is one that doesn’t sugar-coat anything. It comes at your raw and in living color about the world of mixed martial arts.
You can purchase the film on DVD by clicking here.