The Rukus · Post-Production

20,000 fans are packed into Denver’s 1st Bank Arena.  They are here to watch a spectacle: two fighters locked in a cage, battling in a match that will turn bloody and brutal.  The spectators swill their beers, becoming intoxicated. They cheer for their favorite fighters and scream obscenities at the top of their lungs.  Their voices swirl, mingling and then transforming into a solitary, indistinct drone.  

Brandon Thatch emerges from the quiet and calm of his locker room.  The drone of crashing sound waves persists but he doesn’t hear it.  He does not notice the lights dancing overhead or the clouds of smoke that hang in the arena.  He walks towards the steel cage at the center of this maelstrom, barely registering the opponent awaiting him. Just before entering the octagon, Brandon bows once, low and deliberate, and runs intothe cage. The fight is about to begin.

The Rukus tells story of mixed martial artist and UFC welterweight Brandon Thatch as he tries to become a world champion in one of the most polarizing sports in the world. From spectacular wins, to devastating losses, this film follows Brandon into the elite world of the UFC and explores the reasons he and other MMA fighters participate in what is considered one of the most violent and brutal sports on the planet.  MMA is marketed to the public as "bloodsport” and, as a result, it has garnered millions of die-hard supporters and harsh critics alike.

Brandon’s personal story offers an alternative narrative to the one articulated by the media and the UFC.  Through unique access to Brandon, along with current and former World Champions in the UFC, this film confronts issues of violence head on, forcing participants, and fans, to think question their participation in this sport and culture.