Anchor Bay // 2011 // 150 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // August 30th, 2011
Relive the rivalry that helped launch the Ultimate Fighting Championship into the mainstream.
Ali and Frazier, Leonard and Duran, Woods and Mickelson, Rangers and Islanders, Bruins and Canadiens, Agassi and Sampras, Yankees and Sox: at least half the fun that accompanies professional sports is the rivalries that always seem to accompany them. Whether your rival is a single athlete or an entire team, there's nothing that sweetens a victory more or makes a defeat more bitter than if you are playing them! If you happen to be an athlete yourself, I'm sure you'll agree that while the rivalry may cause you the odd sleepless night, it likely also drives you to be better, faster, stronger and ultimately more on top of your game when you know you'll be facing your rival. Quite often the rivalry is only heated during the game and once you leave the field, the ice, or your chosen arena; you just might find yourself at the opposite side of a plate of wings, clinking glasses with your in-game nemesis.
The UFC also has its rivalries: Wanderlei Sila vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, B.J. Penn vs. Jens Pulver, and some might even argue UFC president Dana White has knocked heads with more than a few fighters over the years. But one of the most heated, memorable and long-lasting rivalries in the UFC to date is without question the one between Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. With the release of UFC: Bad Blood, fans can now enjoy the complete history of this legendary rivalry, from their days of training together right through to UFC 66, when the two men fought each other for the last time.
Both men had tough, underprivileged lives growing up and once they found their natural abilities and love of wrestling, martial arts and other fighting methods, they quickly came into their own and turned their lives around. Bad Blood features recent interviews with the two men as they reminisce on their early careers and how, at the beginning, they were friends training together to sharpen their skills for the octagon. Not much detail is offered, but it seems they eventually realized they had two very different outlooks on their UFC careers. Liddell was a fighter first and loved to use his skills to defeat an opponent, no matter the situation. Ortiz, at least as he is seen by Liddell and UFC president Dana White, was "all business," looking for any opportunity to make money, putting the best interests of the sport second.
Since both men competed in the light heavyweight class, it was clear they would eventually have to fight each other and that's where their rivalry was born. Once Ortiz realized he would have to fight Liddell, he held out in contract disputes for about a year, while Liddell, who deserved a shot at the title, was forced to cool his heels. Finally, Ortiz settled his contract and beat UFC legend Ken Shamrock, claiming the title and the belt, only to have it stolen by legend Randy Couture. Then at UFC 52, Liddell beat Couture, finally claiming the title and recognition he had deserved for so long. The two former friends and training buddies finally faced off at UFC 47 and UFC 66, but I won't spoil that for you in this review, watch the complete fights yourself in the bonus features. Suffice it to say, Liddell's 'less talk, more action' style beat out Ortiz's trash talking and cockiness at every turn.
UFC: Bad Blood makes its way to home video in an impressive digibook format that includes a glossy booklet that provides a brief intro on the rivalry, followed by stats and career highlights for both fighters. Similar to other UFC releases on Blu-ray, the 1080p image, while full of detail and color, seems a bit over-processed at times with blinding whites. Seriously Anchor Bay? Another UFC BD release with a sonically flat 2.0 mix? The bonus features earn a definite gold star, and include Liddell and Ortiz's fights from both UFC 47 and UFC 66 and a 27-minute featurette called "Countdown to UFC 66" that offers a bit more detail on the rivalry and UFC 66 itself.
These match-ups would ultimately land one of the men a job as UFC Executive VP of Business Development and one selling a line of custom-made t-shirts. I'll leave it to you to decide who walked away with the brass ring. There is definitely more than a hint throughout this release that the UFC as an organization clearly lands on one side of this battle.
This is a must-own release for UFC fans that features a strong AV presentation and an above average assortment of bonus features.
Review content copyright © 2011 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 150 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Fights