Monday, July 4, 2011

More MMA on Screen: "Cages" Puts New England MMA Under the Lens

Violence at it's best.

It's the 4th of July, and for the modern dysfunctional American family, that means plenty of burnt hot dogs, Granny's soupy potato salad, and lots of fireworks -- the homemade ones that leave bowling ball-size craters in your yard. Not to mention the crisply over-charred soy burgers and the same ol' played out war stories from the uncle with the wandering eye.

Sorry if I'm venting about my own 4th of July experience. Guess, I had to get it off my chest. But in between burnt barbecue and sips of cheap beer, I found this awesome video, the trailer to an internet video series called Cages.

"CAGES is a documentary web series featuring New England MMA athletes, unveiling their stories about life as fighters and the obstacles they face along the fight path."

The first episode of Benjamin Zidel's (Grown Up Boy Films) Cages tracks Sityodtong representative Tyson Chartier. The audio bites are violent and the soundtrack is sick. Here's the teaser:

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From the man behind the lens, filmmaker Benjamin Zidel:
About the author:
My name is Benjamin Zidel, I am 27 years old and in 2009, I graduated Full Sail University in Florida with a Bachelors degree in Film. I returned to my homestate of Massachusetts dead set on starting my video production company here in Boston. One of the areas of interest for me was the booming MMA scene here in the Northeast.

After spending some time getting acquainted with the local circuit, I realized these fighters were highly skilled, interesting people with relatable stories just pursuing a dream. I wanted to remove the "meathead" stigma attached to martial artists. They are not just brawny brawlers but husbands, fathers, college graduates and terrific role models. I wanted to give them a chance to tell the world how they got started and why they fight. As well as showcase the gyms that support them and the coaches that drive them, treating the gym as a TEAM.

I approached Tyson Chartier on facebook after I saw him fight at AFO's Summer Brawl in 2010. I was impressed with his performance and he comes from the most well established MMA school in Massachusetts, Sityodtong in Somerville. He was very interested in our project, trusted us and came on board.

I had recently moved to Somerville so making the connection there wasn't as difficult as I'd feared. A few email exchanges later and we were in the gym filming their sparring session.

Mark DellaGrotte was extremely gracious with his facility and everyone was very welcoming. I got to see the inner workings of a world class Muay Thai gym and a world class teacher train his students. It was an eye opening experience and with some luck, I can help all of the gyms in and around Massachusetts and beyond help establish themselves and their fighters as up and coming forces to be reckoned with. It's just the beginning for what I hope is a mutually beneficial project designed to help all involved, the fighters, the gyms and the promoters.

There are so many excellent fighters being placed on cards in the area and without proper exposure, the hungry fight fans might miss out on some of the best cage action in the country not named UFC. With CAGES, the goal is to create a buzz next time you see Tyson Chartier's name on the card or whomever we feature. You will be more inclined to seek out their fights now with a rooting interest for or against these people.

Currently looking for sponsors!

Episode 1 features Tyson Chartier and will be online July 14. We are working on setting up a Viewing party at a Boston area bar. Details to come.

Episode 2 features Andre Soukhamthath of Team United Muay Lao and will be available in August.

Our website,, will be launched later this month. There is a temp site up there now.

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