‘Dana White Hates Warrior!’ Actor Frank Grillo Says UFC President Doesn’t Like Classic MMA Movie

It turns out 'Warrior' wasn't for everybody.

White Warrior
(via @danawhite, @goodcinefellas - Instagram)

Dana White isn’t a fan of the MMA movie, ‘Warrior‘.

The 2011 film revolves around a collision course between two fighting brothers, Tommy Conlon, a Marine, played by Tom Hardy and high school teacher Brendan Conlon, played by Joel Edgerton. The two enter a winner-take-all MMA tournament called ‘Sparta’ which has a $5M jackpot.

Frank Grillo: ‘Dana White Hates That Movie’

Warrior wasn’t too big of a hit at the time in 2011, but over time it has sat well with MMA fans and movie critics alike, scoring a fresh 84% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and an impressive 92% audience score. But, the UFC President wouldn’t share the same rating, according to one of the cast.

“Dana White hates that movie, hates it,” actor Frank Grillo said on ‘Inside Of You with Michael Rosenbaum’. “Because he feels like it’s not a good representation of fighters.

“I did a show, a TV series called Kingdom. He came to the set, he loved that because we kind of made that real, we kinda made it like the UFC. But, Dana White hates Warrior.”

‘A Movie That Caught A Life Well After’

Frank Grillo played the role of ‘Frank Campana’, the MMA coach for Joel Edgerton’s ‘Brendan Conlon’. The 58 year-old actor says ‘Warrior’ aged like a fine wine, especially since it was before Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy had their big break in Hollywood.

“I was Joel Edgerton’s trainer, an unknown Joel Edgerton, an unknown Tom Hardy,” Grillo explained. “It’s a movie that caught a life well after [it was released in 2011]. They didn’t market it, they didn’t know how to market it. It was Tom Hardy and Joel on a poster and said MMA. It looked like a fight poster. MMA wasn’t really mainstream right at that time.”

Grillo Says Co-Star Nick Nolte Changed His Life

In a cast filled with familiar names such as Kurt Angle, Rashad Evans and the late Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson lies Nick Nolte, who played a pivotal role as ‘Paddy Conlon’, the born-again father of the Conlon brothers. Grillo says Nolte changed his acting career forever.

“I didn’t [have scenes with Nolte], but I hung out with him the whole time. He actually changed my life,” Grillo said of Nolte. “Because Nick, up until then, I was like, ‘eh, acting, whatever, you learn your lines, you go do it’. And I’m like, whatever. I’m doing stupid sh*t. And he had this binder with— Nick is like the mad professor in real life. He’s got this giant binder with like papers and files and all kinds of sh*t moving around.

“I was like Nick, one day I just sat there and go, what are you [doing], what is in there? He said, that’s my character. So, over the course of like two or three months— we were there a long time in Pittsburgh— he kind of taught me how to break down a script the way he does it, and the way he broke down a character and he still does it.

“It changed my career. It changed my life. It changed the way I looked at acting,” Grillo continued. “I thought acting was kind of silly. I still do, but I understand how to do it in a far deeper way because of Nick Nolte and he got nominated for an Oscar in that movie.”

Published on June 26, 2023 at 2:01 pm
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