Dwayne Johnson is in New York for UFC 244 festivities, as the popular actor and former pro-wrestler is set to award the “BMF” title belt to the winner of Nate Diaz vs Jorge Masvidal on Saturday night.
“The Rock” also made an announcement during a UFC 244 press conference, that he is set to produce and star in a biopic about MMA pioneer Mark Kerr.
“I’m proud to say that myself and Seven Bucks Productions are going to make a film about the life of one of your founding fathers, the pioneering founding fathers, ‘The Smashing Machine’ Mark Kerr,” Johnson announced.
“Mark Kerr’s story is such an incredible story. Here’s a guy who won the two-time heavyweight tournament (in) the early stages of UFC, and here’s also a guy who also went over to PRIDE. He had this incredible run, as many of these warriors have, and I wanted to shine a spotlight on this man.”
Johnson will veer away a bit from his usual action and comedy roles, and will star in a biopic that involves a lot of drama. HBO produced a popular documentary called “The Smashing Mashine” about Kerr’s life, which detailed his accomplishments in MMA along with his battle with addiction to painkillers.
“I think what’s interesting about Mark Kerr’s story is, yes, he achieved so much in his life, he was a Smashing Machine, undefeated for a long time,” Johnson explained. “But also like all of us and like a lot of these fighters, he battled these demons. These demons of addiction, these demons of mental health, these demons of getting out and the pressure of fighting in front of 20, 30, 40, 50,000 people and what that does to somebody.
“So here’s a guy who has gone through it all and hit rock bottom, but the best part about Mark Kerr, like all of us in this room — and like these fighters by the way, all these warriors — everyday you get up, and you want to do a little bit better tomorrow than you did today.”
Kerr, now 50, was a dominant force during the early days of MMA. The former NCAA Division I wrestling champion won three tournaments in the first year of his MMA career alone, including the UFC 14 and UFC 15 heavyweight tournaments. He went over to PRIDE and dominated the field as well, adding on to his overall record of 13-1 (1 NC) from 1997 to 2000.
He had a rough patch in the following years, battling addiction and other issues, and dropping 10 of the final 12 bouts of his career.
Johnson, who is known for being one of the busiest men in Hollywood, didn’t announce a timetable for this project that he will produce and star in.
In 2019 alone, the former WWE star’s production company has been involved in films such as Fast & Furious: Hobbs and Shaw, Shazam!, and the upcoming sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level.