The next documentary from ESPN Films’ Peabody and Emmy award-winning 30 for 30 series, “Chuck & Tito,” will chronicle the hot and cold relationship between MMA fighters Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz—from the very start of the UFC, through its rise in popularity, to present day. The film will air Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and will join the 30 for 30 library on ESPN+ on October 18, the same day as UFC Fight Night: Reyes vs. Weidman on ESPN2.
One was a kick-boxer, the other a wrestler. One looked like he’d been in a few too many fights, the other could have stepped off a movie poster. They were Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, “frenemies” from SoCal who brought millions of fans to mixed martial arts and supercharged the UFC. In this brutally honest 30 for 30 documentary, director Micah Brown recaptures their glory days while chronicling MMA’s unlikely history and success.
The memorable characters could fill an Octagon: UFC President Dana White, fighters Ken Shamrock and Randy Couture, the UFC Commentator Joe Rogan. But the story really belongs to the Ice Man and the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, whose second fight for the light heavyweight championship at UFC 66 in Las Vegas on December 30, 2006, marked the sport’s entry into mainstream culture.
“As individuals, Chuck and Tito each took turns being the face of the UFC,” said director Micah Brown. “As rivals, they were the most lucrative matchup in MMA history at that time. This film is important not only to celebrate their tremendous careers, but also to explore the psychology behind why fighters fight, and how those contrasting perspectives impacted them as individuals. And, more than that, ‘Chuck & Tito’ is about identity, friendship, and the cost of chasing your dream.
Brown is no stranger to the world of MMA. His documentary “Prison Fighters: 5 Rounds to Freedom” followed the story of a convicted murderer and former Muay Thai champion who joined a controversial Thai government program that allowed him to fight for his freedom. Praised by critics for his ability to unveil human conflict within the brutality of the fight world, Brown takes the same storytelling sensibilities to his first 30 for 30.
Original music for “Chuck & Tito” was composed and recorded by multi-Grammy Award-nominated producer and artist JT Daly. Known as much for his work with artists like K.Flay and PVRIS as his symphonic scores, Daly’s innovative music contributions to the film use actual samples of the fighters punches in songs.
Fans who are eager to check out the film can catch a sneak peek of the full documentary tonight at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Advance press screeners are available upon request.
About ESPN Films
ESPN Films has been an industry leader in documentary filmmaking since its inception in March 2008, producing more than 100 documentaries that have showcased some of the most compelling stories in sports. The high quality of storytelling, highlighted by the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series and the Academy-Award winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” has led to record viewership as well as multiple honors and critical acclaim. Additional projects from ESPN Films over the years have included 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX and the SEC Storied series.