21 Jan 2014 09:00:52 AM
[EXCLUSIVE] Fighting in Plain Sight Director Edward Doty Discusses His Upcoming Documentary of Rafiel Torre, MMA’s Most Infamous Journalist Turned Con Man and Killer
(The Fighting in Plain Sight campaign video via IndieGoGo.)
By Jared Jones
Mixed martial arts was facing an identity crisis in the early aughts to say the least. The UFC had just been purchased by the Fertittas, who were slowly attempting to shed the “human cockfighting” label the sport had acquired in its early years. Although athletic commissions around the country were beginning to adopt the unified rules put into place by Jeff Blatnick, John McCarthy and Joe Silva, a large majority of fights on the local level were still contested in underground, unsanctioned events. There was no fame or fortune fueling these warriors of the early days; there was only passion.
At the center of all this was Rafiel Torre, a charismatic reporter, former undefeated fighter and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt who covered all aspects of MMA for such prestigious publications as ADCC News and Submission Fighter. Considered one of the most notorious journalists of his day by those closest to the sport, Torre interviewed countless top fighters in an effort to promote and help showcase the human side of mixed martial arts during a time when most audiences viewed it as borderline criminal.
In February of 2001, Torre announced that he was coming out of retirement, supposedly to settle a vendetta with a former student of his, the 300+ pound Ioka Tianuu. The fight transpired at King of the Cage 7 and, aside from being one of the most obvious works in the sport’s history, would ultimately serve as the catalyst to Torre’s demise. Four years later, Torre would be convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Attempting to chronicle this unbelievable story is Edward Doty, a filmmaker and mixed martial arts enthusiast who has been documenting the sport for some 15 years. His first MMA documentary, Life in the Cage, is a must-see for “real” fans of the sport, but it was Doty’s close relationship with Torre that spawned the documentary he is currently attempting to crowdfund through IndieGoGo, Fighting in Plain Sight. We recently sat down with Doty to discuss his love of the sport, the facade that was Rafiel Torre, and what he is looking to accomplish with Fighting in Plain Sight.
CagePotato: As an amateur filmmaker early in his career, was it the spectacle inherent in MMA that drew you to the sport?
Edward Doty: I began training in Traditional Martial Arts (Yang style Tai Chi Chuan and Jing Mu Kung Fu) in 1993. In the September ’93 Issue of Black Belt Magazine, I saw an ad for “Tournament to Determine World’s Best Fighter!” I called the number, and Rorion Gracie picked up. It was the line to the Torrance Academy. Being the punk 15 year old that I was, I asked, “Yeah, do you guys have an under 18 division?” clearly not realizing what it was they were trying to do. After a pause, he said, “No….18 and over only” and hung up.
A couple years later I was doing Forms Competition at the Ed Parker tournament in Long Beach, and SEG had a booth set up, advertising UFC 3 and showing UFC 2 on a small TV. The fight? Pat Smith vs. Scott Morris. My life changed at that moment. There was just something so authentic about it. It was exhilirating, kinda scary, but most of all, honest. I still appreciated what I was doing, but it became clear over the next couple of years that Martial Arts was never going to be the same, and that was probably for the better. Two months after turning 18, I fought in the Team USA Shidokan in 1996 and promptly got my face caved in. Even so, I still loved training, and I began BJJ at Jean-Jacques Machado’s academy in 1997. I still train, albeit sporadically, and am a Purple Belt under Eddie Bravo.
My freshman year of college I realized I wanted to take my equally passionate love of Film and make that my career. In 1999 while attending a Neutral Grounds show promoted by my friend Bobby Razak, I realized that there were stories within MMA that needed to be told. That was the genesis of my first film, Life in the Cage.Read More DIGG THIS