Fightville

Locker-room doc Fightville reports on a very specific milieu: minor-league mixed martial arts as practiced in the strip-mall gyms, fairgrounds, and rodeo arenas of Louisiana's Cajun country. The personnel include Gil "The Thrill" Guillory, a former wrestler who now works independently arranging USA-MMA cage bouts, and, keeping Guillory's fight cards stocked, Tim Credeur, proprietor of the Gladiators Academy of Lafayette, Louisiana. Dustin Poirier is Gladiators' golden boy: 21 years old, career-focused, and undefeated. (Since the stretch of 2008 covered in Fightville, Poirier has gone on to compile a 12-1 professional record.) Less certain in his destiny and more compelling a character is the troubled Albert Stainback, who speaks of a brutal, gothic childhood and wears a Clockwork Orange bowler as his ringside trademark. Stainback's analytical candor is an exception; in characterizing both fighters and their sport, directors Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker (Gunner Palace) rarely break down defenses to surpass superficiality. The language of ground-and-pound fighting remains untranslated for those not fluent in MMA, though ample space is given to the men's discussion of their individual warrior philosophies, illustrated with quotes from Nietzsche, P.T. Barnum, and Virgil. Fortune might favor the bold eventually, but the paydays at this level are so skimpy, you have to believe there's such a thing as pure love for the art of bruising.

 
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