For over two years, filmmaker David Vahey followed cult MMA hero Matt Lindland around, picking his brain about life and fighting. The result, “Fighting Politics,” is a story about the business of mixed martial arts and Lindland’s attempt to persevere through its fickle politics.
The film draws upon a variety of fighters and industry insiders to flesh out Lindland’s background as an Olympic wrestler who found himself well suited for cage fighting. Lindland’s failed bid for an Oregon State Senate seat is also chronicled.
The film’s trailer, viewable on the its website, www.fightingpolitics.com, paints Lindland as a fighter poised to be one of the world’s best until a snafu involving a tshirt causes his ouster from the fight game’s industry juggernaut.
One of the biggest characters in the story, UFC president Dana White, is conspicuously missing from the film. Vahey began corresponding with White in mid-2006 until White found out the true subject of the documentary.
“When we first texted Dana to try to get interviews, he was pretty nice,” Vahey says. “When it was a general MMA documentary. As soon as we mentioned (Matt’s) name, he blew up on us, saying ‘nobody gives a (expletive) about Matt Lindland, and neither do I.’ Saying that Dan Henderson was ten times a better fighter than he is, just going on and on about bad a fighter Matt was.”
Vahey said after threats that included legal action, White issued a final proclamation that cut off all communication.
The film has been submitted to 25 film festivals between January in March of 2009. Vahey hopes it will pick up a national distributor.
“It’s really not an MMA documentary, it’s really more a life story documentary,” he said. “There’s not a lot of blood and guts–I don’t know if the MMA fans are going to like that or not. It’s a documentary my mom’s watched and liked, so hopefully that it will appeal to more people.”