Screened as part of NZIFF 2021

Mark Hunt - The Fight of His Life 2021

Directed by Peter Brook Bell

Helming this compelling documentary following one of New Zealand's sporting superstars, Kiwi director Peter Brook Bell charts how Mark Hunt overcame a challenging childhood to rise to global success – despite his best efforts to throw it all away.

84 minutes DCP



Mark Hunt
Julie Hunt
Lolo Heimuli
Ray Sefo
Peter Graham
Lucy Tui
Ariel Helwani
Jon Anik
Michael Shiavello


Bettina Hollings


Mark Chamberlin


Gary Sims

Aotearoa New Zealand films at NZIFF 2022 are proudly supported by


Mark Hunt: The Fight of His Life is a warts and all documentary following one of New Zealand's most successful sportspeople.

Mark Hunt remains a global superstar in both kickboxing and mixed martial arts, helping popularise the now phenomenally successful combat sport. Yet, as the documentary makes clear, Hunt has remained a rank outsider for the majority of his sporting career. This is highlighted in the film as Hunt singlehandedly takes on his employer UFC, persuading them to take a harder line with drug cheats.

Charting an almost Rocky-like trajectory, director Peter Brook Bell highlights Hunt’s career as it twists and turns in all directions. Focally, Hunt overcoming a horrendous childhood dealing with an abusive father, jail time and an adolescence spent on society's margins. No-one takes him seriously, bringing him in as a last-minute stand-in for kickboxing fights.

Despite this unpromising beginning, he almost immediately rises to global stardom. But with his increasing success also comes self-sabotage, challenging his own ascent at every step. By the time he joined the fledging MMA circuit, he was broke and seemingly washed up as a fighter.

Hunt is a compelling figure, showing just enough vulnerability to subvert the brutality of his victories. But these victories in the ring count for little until Hunt can overcome his demons.

His is a classic underdog story, cementing there was something remarkable about him from the outset. It's a sharp-eyed depiction of a figure who shouldn't have succeeded, but poignantly did so, because everybody wrote him off. — Brannavan Gnanalingam