‘Journey to the UFC’: Joe Pyfer opens up about overcoming trauma in new documentary

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We often view UFC fighters as indestructible people who are immune to the normal everyday trials and tribulations of life. This assumption is so far from the truth and quite oppositely, many fighters have battled 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 the current success he has in MMA. Director of Joe’s documentary “Journey to the UFC” Chandler Henry wanted to tell the difficult life story of his long-time friend. On television, we see the glory and success that is highlighted after each of Joe’s wins.

Despite having a very heroic rise to the UFC, Joe had to overcome 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 upbringing of a high profile UFC fighter.

Be Like Joe Pyfer

Joe Pyfer is 2-0 in the UFC with two first round KO’s. After being a stand out on Dana White’s Contender Series, Joe capitalized on the opportunity with a very hot start to his UFC career. Training out of Marquez MMA and Webb Fitness & MMA, Pyfer is among the elite fighters in Philadelphia.

Competing at Fury Grappling 7 in May and hoping to book another UFC fight ASAP, Pyfer’s rise to stardom isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Along with training, he has also been working on his documentary with Chandler Henry for the past year. Having a completed movie on his resume, Pyfer doesn’t care for the “Hollywood” accolades, but rather wants to spread his message to children and those struggling in similar circumstances around the world.

The story of 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 powerful personality, Chandler knew there was more to his story. Without spoiling too much from the film, Pyfer had a very difficult upbringing. Having 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 sport.

Through sheer perseverance and determination, Pyfer was able to push through 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 story all too relatable for far too many people.

The documentary had its premiere on May 4th at Dream Live at American Dream in New Jersey. Alex Davis & Disruptive Sports Group hosted the event. In attendance was coach John Marquez, UFC analyst Laura Sanko, UFC veteran Eddie Alvarez, and many more. The audience reception was great and reportedly left many viewers in tears.

Be on the look out for the film to release VERY SOON on streaming platforms yet to be announced.

Find Something You Love

The most important part of this documentary to both Chandler & Pyfer is getting their message out across the world. Having an abusive past, Pyfer wants this documentary to reach those who are struggling similarly to how he did.

Joe felt it was important for him to find something he loved to get him through hard times. MMA was what he 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 in your life to get you through the trauma. This isn’t a movie made only for MMA fans, but rather a movie that anyone on earth can appreciate and take something away from. Everyone goes through hard times, some 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 persevere for a better day. Joe Pyfer might be a UFC fighter and on the rise to superstardom, but his message is simple. You don’t have to be a UFC fighter to conquer your battles, you just have to be human.

About Post Author

Jake Noecker

Jake Noecker is a Philadelphia based MMA Content Producer who conducts fighter interviews for The Scrap. You may also know him from his UFC betting article for BetQL Network or as the producer of the 'Tapped Out' podcast on Audacy Sports.
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