» » Fight Church (2014)

Short summary

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. Faith is tried and questions are raised. Can you really love your neighbor as yourself and then punch him in the face?

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Vital Beast
    This film follows a number of strongly religious MMA fighters that are trying to either reconcile their faith and their fighting or flat out make the two synergize by founding "fight churches". With the exception of one guy that is obviously full of aggressiveness, misogyny, contempt, etc., the people in the spotlight come off as very likable.

    What makes this film so fascinating is not so much the fighting, but the close view into the state of mind of a certain kind of evangelical Christianism. And when one of the nice looking dads in the film starts talking about being prepared to strike the devil, his deltoids twitching with excitement, this feels like the beginning of a subtle horror movie.

    It's a study into how religion and aggression can feed on each other and this makes this a really timely (and very well made) piece. Striking is made possible by the deep conviction in one's own righteousness. Always with a bible quote on their lips. In particular for European audiences, this also sheds light on the sometimes baffling coexistence of religiousness and violence in the US.
  • comment
    • Author: Otrytrerl
    Deeply closeted gay men who are incapable of expressing their feelings for each other due to their religion find ways to be oiled up and handling one another.

    It would be touching that they can finally express their desire for each other but that is destroyed by the constant expressions of homophobia and the desire to denigrate women or anything feminine as being negative.

    I find this to be a true and valid representation of what it means to be Christian in America and am pleased that the filmmakers were able to show us the deep truths of this cult. It is time we started to work against their "christian laws" before this behavior becomes standard in our once great nation.
  • comment
    • Author: Tcaruieb
    Google "Paul Burress" and read the "bloody elbow" article,and the "we have this hope" blog post on sexual abuse.

    "Paul Burress and Victory Church, focal points of the Christian MMA documentary Fight Church, have long been at the center of some sordid sex abuse allegations." -

    "He (Paul Burress) was livid. He forced me to ride home with him to my parents house where I was still living. On the way we got into an argument and I tried to jump out of the vehicle as it approached a red light. He caught me by the hair and pulled me back into the vehicle and proceeded to choke me out (the rear naked choke hold he used is a blood choke hold he practiced in his Mixed Martial Arts). I wish I could say I wised up and left him after this incident, but I didn't. I broke things off for a while, but he was relentless with his apologies and in pursuing me. I was eventually lured back into the relationship. It took yet another altercation where he knocked me out cold in front of my two year old daughter before I attempted to seek help." - We Have This Hope: Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse
  • Cast overview:
    Paul Burress Paul Burress - Himself
    John Renken John Renken - Himself
    Nahshon Nicks Nahshon Nicks - Himself
    Preston Hocker Preston Hocker - Himself
    Scott Sullivan Scott Sullivan - Himself
    John Duffell John Duffell - Himself (as Father John Duffell)
    Jon Jones Jon Jones - Himself
    Ben Henderson Ben Henderson - Himself
    Jill Burress Jill Burress - Herself
    Tyler Pixley Tyler Pixley - Background Engineer
    Mackenzie Willard Mackenzie Willard - Background Engineer
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