It’s not unusual for sports to be such an attractive industry for animation production. The likes of Bleacher Report, Netflix, and WWE have all used the animation medium to help bring fabled sports lore to life and it was probably only a matter of time before the UFC did the same. That said, UFC Fightlore may have blown the competition out of the water in terms of animated docu-series, and for my money, this original series is very much tailored towards the casual UFC fan who may not care about all of the other live events programming this service provides and instead prefer to watch programming that features some of the sport’s biggest stars. For the first three, episodes UFC Fightlore does just that, giving us tales featuring the likes of UFC Hall-of-Famers Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin, Bruce Buffer, and Nick Diaz/Joe Riggs.
The premise of the series is pretty typical, UFC-celebrities tell harrowing tales that range from a full-on biography about Bruce Buffer (featuring a guest appearance from his brother Michael), to the UFC fight that helped launch the league, to the infamous hospital brawl between the Diaz brothers and Joe Riggs. Now, you would think Bruce Buffer’s episode would be out-of-place here, but his story gets just as visceral as anything else shown in the series. Nick Diaz phoning-in an interview with the producers of UFC Fightlore might be a creative lapse for a lot of producers, but South District Films uses it as an opportunity to animate Nick Diaz sitting in doing the talking which makes for a unique aesthetic.
The animation production is simple, but effective, and perfectly matches up with the rawness that is the UFC. Blood splatters, broken bones, and a decent amount of Dana White makes for an engaging combination that should please not only those who love fights, but people looking for the same ilk of ESPN’s Last Dance when it ends in a couple of weeks will certainly appreciate the effective stories that display the character and professionalism that this sport has always championed over the years(unless if you’re Nick Diaz).