EXCLUSIVE: Sports Illustrated TV’s SI Films and Mandalay Sports Media are teaming to produce UFC 1: Origin of the Octagon, a feature-length documentary that traces the roots of the pro MMA league back to its tumultuous first event in 1993. A fall 2019 premiere on the SI TV digital network is in the works.
The docu, being directed by John Mason Gordon, explores the improbable story of Rorion Gracie and Art Davie, the two unlikely entrepreneurs who created the UFC, eventually acquired in 2016 by WME-IMG in a $4 billion deal.
Interviews with MMA icons including Jim Brown, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Tellia Tuli, Art Jimmerson and Gerard Gordeau help tell the tale of how Rorion Gracie, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, and Davie, a onetime used car salesman, teamed with Bob Meyrowitz’s pay-per-view company SEG to mount UFC 1 in Denver and launch a sports phenomenon.
Mandalay Sports Media’s Mike Tollin, Select Films’ Mark Ciardi and SI TV’s Josh Oshinsky are producers. IMG is distributing the pic internationally.