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Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson makes shocking transformation in new film about early UFC champion
Photo by Sam Hodde/UFL/Getty Images

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson makes shocking transformation in new film about early UFC champion

Johnson is playing former UFC heavyweight Mark Kerr.

Movie star and professional wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson released an image of his transformation into former MMA star Mark Kerr, one of the UFC's earliest champions.

Kerr won the heavyweight tournament at UFC 14, which was the early format for the promotion, and won two more fights at UFC 15. Between 1997-2000 Kerr had an undefeated record of 12-0 before he would struggle winning just three more fights over the next nine years.

Kerr's nickname was "The Smashing Machine," which was also the title of the 2002 HBO documentary that showed his struggles with substance abuse at the same time he began accumulating losses in the cage.

"The Rock" decided to adapt the documentary into a movie, with himself playing the heavyweight fighter. Johnson and studio A24 shared a photo of the actor from the film where he looks almost completely unrecognizable and a spitting image of Kerr.

'A true honor for me to pay homage & respect to this legendary MMA Godfather.'

Johnson has shared images and video for several weeks from inside gyms where he is doing MMA training as well as stunt choreography for the film.

"Working hard to learn and absorb everything I can," Johnson wrote on X.

"Mark was a two time UFC Heavyweight World Tournament Champion and World Vale Tudo Champion. A true honor for me to pay homage & respect to this legendary MMA Godfather, all MMA fighters, the MMA community and to all our athletes who've struggled with mental health and addiction," Johnson added.

The film also reportedly features former pro fighter Bas Rutten, who actually trained with Kerr when he was fighting. Also, current heavyweight fighter Ryan Bader is said to be in the film, BJPenn.com reported. Bader's most recent fight was in February 2024.

Bader was reportedly a recent add to the cast and is said to be playing another UFC legend, Mark Coleman. Coleman recently made headlines for rescuing his parents from a house fire that landed him in the hospital, resulting in a viral video of him recalling the heroic feat with his daughters.

The film is directed by Benny Safdie, who took the helm on the studio's "Uncut Gems" movie starring Adam Sandler, which featured several professional athletes and a focus on gambling.

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
@andrewsaystv →