Bobby Razak, a mastermind of visually enlightening and encouraging appreciation for mixed martial arts, continually attempts to close the gap between MMA and mainstream with cinematic sensations that stand the test of time. Compared to sports with historic folklore, MMA boasts a youthful glow amidst a twenty-two year campaign, which allows its present tense to remain riddled with icons who outline the sport’s progression-from grassroots to main stages. After his spectacular performance against Roy “Big Country” Nelson (21-12) at UFC Fight Night Japan: Barnett vs. Nelson, Josh “The WarMaster” Barnett (34-7) unearthed his MMA time capsule to log his recent victory, dated September 26, 2015. Right next to this recent addition, Barnett’s monologue in History of MMA (2012), a series produced by Razak, toned where he originated in MMA and the direction of his final destination.
The same manner in which he opened the History of MMA feature, Barnett closed his night versus Nelson,
“I’m a professional destroyer of peoples’ lives.”
Reentering familiar territory, Saitama Super Arena in Japan, Barnett’s performance flat-lined the beats he never missed in a nearly two-year layoff. Barnett described in History of MMA that the act of hand-to-hand warfare was bred into him,
“This [Fighting] was something I could see that was innate to me. Doing this is as natural as eating, or breathing, or anything like that. It’s not an illusion to me that this is what I was born to do. I was born to be in combat.”
In one of the opening scenes, the camera reel spins while stationed at an MMA event, and the images laced together introduce Barnett from backstage leading up to a bout. Trailing as a supportive caravan were two of the three founders of Tapout, “Skyscrape” and “Mask.” Harboring the background knowledge of Charles “Mask” Lewis’ (1963-2009) untimely death and documentation of the Tapout CEOs’ rounding of many criticized angles to MMA, intent on bolstering both the sport and its athletes, the energy compiled in History of MMA was equally measured in row after row of attendees to Saitama Super Arena to welcome Barnett as the focal point of the evening’s spotlight.
Even though Barnett was predicted to be the favorite as the headliner of UFC Fight Night Japan, questions of ring-rust punctuated any praise. Completing twenty-five minutes of dominance over Nelson, with no inkling of retreat, Barnett could have referred to a portion of his History of MMA segment in place of his post-fight interview,
“I believe that being true to yourself and who you are and what you believe has to come first, as do all decisions and everything you do in life. I think that when all is said and done, whether people agree with it or don’t agree with it, there is a certain amount of respect that is earned that way [entering into combat].”
Electrifying the fans with his actual post-fight interview, in both English and Japanese, and stuffing his wallet with his Performance of the Night bonus winnings are all part of the job qualifications. As he described previous to the opening bell with Razak, the why is a precursor to the how,
“You have to do something for your reasons. When you do it that way, it doesn’t matter the outcome; you’ll be okay with it. I’ve always learned, that way, more than likely, it assures that you will do the best you can possibly do, and that the best outcome is going to come to you.”
The way Barnett invaded his opponent’s space and dutifully absorbed any punishment
was a tactical means of fighting fearlessly; one might have confused him to be the same Barnett who first entered the UFC so many years ago, UFC 28 on November 17, 2000. Filming the History of MMA, Barnett focused considerable energy on where his fighting career had been, but his sentiments bear truth to any inflection of time,
“My journey has been full of ups and downs, won some, loss some; that’s for sure. I’ve been through good times and bad times, but I know I can’t change any of it; of course, because, you cannot rewrite time or history.”
The closing of Barnett’s History of MMA episode and the unveiling of the judge’s scorecards at UFC Fight Night Japan paralleled one another and allowed viewers of each to infer what’s to come of Barnett’s future,
“I know that that part within me is going to bring that talent to the ring, is going to bring entertainment to the fans, is going to show something that others will not; that will take consideration to a degree when I get in their to fight. I’m going to bring it…I’m just like everyone else. There’s those things that you can’t change, or those things that aren’t going your way; and I smash it.”
Check out all the episodes of History of MMA and subscribe to Bobby Razak’s YouTube for other short films at: