“Fight Church,” a new documentary that examines the relationship between Christianity and mixed martial arts — and even follows a group of fighting church pastors — is set to open later this month.
“Can you love your neighbor as yourself,” the movie’s trailer asks, “and at the same time knee him in the face as hard as you can?”
TheBlaze reported about the film almost two years ago during its fledgling, Kickstarter stages; now “Fight Church” is set to premiere April 24 at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, then on April 25 at the Nashville Film Festival, according to the movie’s Facebook page.
“We’ll just be a couple of God-fearing men punching each other in the face,” one fighting pastor explains in the trailer, which also depicts kids putting on the gloves and headgear and going at it.
“Jesus never tapped out,” another pastor says. “He came to finish what he needed to do.”
A priest interviewed in the film expresses his disapproval of the MMA fighting as ministry: “John says love one another. This is not love.”
“Fight Church” features former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, both of whom explain how their faith allows them to fight, Fox News noted.
Oscar-winner Daniel Junge (“Saving Face”) is one of the film’s directors.
The “Fight Church” website says the film “is made up of passionate, genuine people from all walks of the Christian faith who are trained and prepared to provide practical and spiritual care to fighters, coaches other members of the MMA community and their families.”
MMA pastor Paul Burress, featured in the movie, defended his passion for pugilism in an interview with ABC News.
“We don’t fight out of meanness,” Burress, of Trinity Church in Rochester, N.Y., said. “We have no hate or bitterness in our heart.”
Here’s the trailer: