Sports

Halle Berry’s love of UFC, from regularly attending fight nights to overseeing a weigh-in and starring as an MMA fighter

FORGET a glitzy showbiz event surrounded by her Hollywood peers, Halle Berry would rather be in the front row at a UFC fight night. The Oscar winner, 55, is a huge fan of the sport, pal of Dana White, and grew up watching boxing as a kid. But it’s MMA that really holds her attention, […] ...

FORGET a glitzy showbiz event surrounded by her Hollywood peers, Halle Berry would rather be in the front row at a UFC fight night.

The Oscar winner, 55, is a huge fan of the sport, pal of Dana White, and grew up watching boxing as a kid.

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Hollywood A-lister Halle Berry is one of the UFC’s most famous fans[/caption]

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UFC president Dana White and Halle Berry are pals[/caption]

But it’s MMA that really holds her attention, admitting if she wasn’t an actress it could have been a viable career path for her to follow.

Halle recently oversaw a tense weigh-in between Rose Namajunas and Zheng Weili ahead of UFC 268, where she was later seen in the Octagon holding a belt.

It’s all led to her passion project – directing a new Netflix film called Bruised – which she stars in as a fallen MMA star.

ENGLISH BOXING

Berry was born in Cleveland, Ohio to English mum Judith Ann from Liverpool.

As a child, she was engrossed by British boxing which fuelled her desire to see a good scrap.

“When I was a kid, like a little girl, like six, seven, eight, nine years old, English boxing was everything to me,” Berry revealed in an interview with the UFC.

“I spent a lot of time in front of the television. I was a kid who got into a lot of fights, so watching boxing and having that energy channeled in a professional way somehow healed my own hurts in a way because I got to watch others take it out in a way that seemed noble and admirable.

“I didn’t have a father in the house, so watching great fighters like (Thomas) Hearns and (Muhammad) Ali and Joe Frazier. Those guys, to me, were strong images of strong black man that I was missing in my own household, and that’s how I viewed them.”

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Berry was born to an English mum from Liverpool and loved boxing as a kid[/caption]

UFC TOOK OVER

Inevitably, Berry graduated to MMA. It is where she believes she could have forged a career, if acting hadn’t come calling.

“Would have been the best outlet for some of my anger frustrations I had as a kid,” she revealed.

“I think I would have chosen MMA over English boxing because there are so many art forms that are at play, and I think that’s what for me makes the sport so exciting.

“When women became a part of MMA, Ronda Rousey, and Miesha Tate, and Cat Zingano, all those girls came to the scene, I was widely excited by that.

“And I thought (if) this would have been an opportunity for me when I was younger, I definitely would have. I just connected to it.

“I’m still happy to see these women doing what they are doing in such a big way, and anything I can do to support it, I’m always looking to do.”

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If Berry didn’t become an actress, she might have become an MMA fighter[/caption]

JUST THE TICKET

Through the years, the former James Bond girl has been seen at numerous UFC events.

In 2018, she sat front row for UFC 232, as Cris Cyborg took on Amanda Nunes and Jon Jones fought Alexander Gustafsson.

She even went backstage to see Cris get her hands wrapped.

“I was at the Cris Cyborg fight when Amanda Nunes knocked her out. I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that fight would have gone down like that.

“I don’t know who would have won, you know both are amazing athletes, but you just don’t expect that to happen – or with Askren and Masvidal (UFC 239). So, the thing I love about the sport is anything can happen at any time.”

Most recently, she was ringside at UFC 268 – while before she watched the weigh-in at the event, looking glam in leather trousers and a black shirt.

“You know, Halle is incredibly passionate about the sport. She loves the sport,” Dana White revealed.

“She just did a movie about the sport that’s coming out soon. So, you know, I am gonna support her however I can and promote her movie.”

Berry watches Cris Cyborg get her hands wrapped ahead of UFC 232 in 2018
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Through the years, Berry has been seen ringside at multiple UFC events[/caption]

TWITTER@HALLEBERY

Berry poses for a selfie with featherweight star Brian Ortega[/caption]

BRUISED AND BATTERED

To show her love and appreciation for MMA, Berry directed and starred in the upcoming film Bruised.

It tells the tale of a disgraced MMA fighter, who finds redemption in the cage and the courage to face her demons when the son she had given up as an infant unexpectedly reenters her life.

Streaming on Netflix from November 24, she got into the role by doing four hours of MMA training every day, and then added an extra hour of strength training.

Both Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko appear in the movie that’s a love-letter to the sport.

However, in a training session with the current UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Berry suffered broken bones.

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Berry plays an MMA fighter in new film Bruised[/caption]

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Oscar-winner Berry trained for five hours a day to prepare for the role[/caption]

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Bruised is released at select cinemas and available to stream on Netflix from November 24[/caption]

“At first she wasn’t connecting with her kicks and finally I said, ‘Val you got to do it. I have to feel it, I’ve never done this. That’s why you’re here like give it to me,’” Berry recalled to US TV presenter Jimmy Kimmel.

“So she gave it to me and she broke two ribs. She was mortified.”

Bruised is released at select cinemas today, and is available to stream on Netflix from December 24.

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