We often view UFC fighters as invincible or god-like people who are immune to the normal everyday trials & tribulations of life. This is assumption is very far from the truth and oppositely, many fighters have gone through hell just to have an opportunity at making it to the UFC. Philadelphia’s Joe Pyfer is a prime example of a fighter who has tackled major adversity in life in order to reach his current levels of success. Director of Joe’s new documentary “Journey to the UFC” Chandler Henry wanted to tell the traumatic life story of his long time friend Joe Pyfer. In the media, we focus on the glory & success that is highlighted after each of Joe’s wins. Despite having a very dominant rise to the UFC, Joe had to overcome a lot of trauma in his life to get to where he is today. This documentary gives a unique inside look into all the ups and downs of Joe’s life, a rare glimpse into the difficult upbringing of a high profile UFC fighter.
Joe Pyfer is 2-0 in the UFC with two first round KO’s. A stand out on Dana White’s Contender Series, Joe capitalized on the opportunity with a very powerful start to his UFC career. Training out of Marquez MMA and Webb Fitness & MMA, Pyfer is among the best fighters in Philadelphia. Competing at Fury Grappling 7 in May and hoping to book another UFC fight ASAP, Pyfer’s rise to the top isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Along with training and fighting, Pyfer has also been working on this documentary with Chandler Henry for the past year. Having a completed movie under his belt, Pyfer doesn’t care for the “Hollywood” accolades but rather wants to spread his message to children & people struggling in similar circumstances around the world.
“Journey to the UFC”, Joe Pyfer’s rise to the UFC
Having met in high school, Chandler Henry always looked up to Joe Pyfer as a “real life super hero”. However, behind Joe’s shining persona, Chandler knew there was more to Joe’s story. Without spoiling too much from the film, Pyfer had a very difficult upbringing. An abusive relationship with his father, being abandoned by his family, sleeping on a park bench, and facing near career ending injuries, Pyfer had anything but an easy climb to the top of the UFC. Through strong-will and perseverance, Pyfer was able to survive the trauma, and Chandler did a fantastic job of honoring Joe’s story. The documentary gives viewers an inside look at something both harrowing and extremely humanizing, a relatable story for far too many people. The documentary premiered on May 4th at Dream Live at American Dream in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Alex Davis & Disruptive Sports Group hosted the event for Joe Pyfer. In attendance was coach John Marquez of Marquez MMA, UFC analyst Laura Sanko, UFC veteran Eddie Alvarez, and much more! The audience reception was great and reportedly left most of the viewers in tears. Be on the look out for the film to release VERY SOON on streaming platforms yet to be announced!
Joe & Chandler’s Message
The most important part of this documentary to both Chandler & Pyfer was getting their message out across the world. Having an abusive past, Pyfer wants this documentary to reach those in need, struggling similarly to how he did. Joe says it was important for him to find something he loved to get him through the hard times. MMA was what Joe put his focus on and it gave him something to fight for through the abuse at home. Joe also says it’s important to find your family. Although Joe never had a family at home he felt a part of, he was lucky enough to form bonds with MMA mentors, wrestling coaches, and his new MMA team members, all who he considers to be family to this day. There will always be people who struggle, but there will also always be people who care, and Pyfer says it’s essential to find those people & interests in your life to get you through the trauma.
This isn’t a movie made only for UFC & sports fans, but rather a movie that anyone on earth can appreciate and take something away from. Everyone goes through hard times, many worse than others, but at the end of the day we can all relate to some form of trauma in our lives. This movie is a reminder that no matter how hard life gets, no matter how impossible it may seem, we are all human and we can all fight to see a better day. Joe Pyfer might be a professional UFC middleweight fighter, but his message is to everyone. You don’t have to be a UFC fighter to conquer your battles, you just have to be human.
Watch the entire interview with UFC middleweight Joe Pyfer and director Chandler Henry above.