Fightland’s Best Photos of 2014

Fightland Blog

By Fightland Staff

Photo by IJfke Ridgley

We do our best to show mixed martial arts as we see ita beautiful expression of artistry and culture. This year, we worked with some amazing photographers who traveled to all corners of the world to capture the authenticity of fighting in all its forms.

It was such a great year for us visually that we put together our picks for the top 10 best and most important photographs featured on Fightland this year (in no particular order).

Photographer: Estevan Oriol
Subject: Floyd Mayweather

LA street culture photographer Estevan Oriol went through his archives so we could feature some of his never-before-seen work in the fight world. His first set was of a young Floyd Mayweather, shot in 2003 during the early stages of both men's careers. See the entire photo set here.

Photographer: IJfke Ridgley
Subject: Yancy Medeiros

Fashion photographer IJfke Ridgley visited UFC lightweight Yancy Medeiros and explored the Westside of Oahu, where the Hawaiian fighter grew up. Read more about her experience and check out her vivid images of the spots only locals get to see.

Photographer: Erena Shimoda
Subject: Christie Sullivan and Kristina Barlaan

“Underwater Therapist” Erena Shimoda usually takes portraits of cancer survivors, but her fascination with female martial artists inspired her to take this series of BJJ players. The Kimono has never looked so good.

Photographer: Rafael Duarte
Subject: Young Muay Thai Fighter

Rafael Duarte’s series called Thai Spirit: The Heart and Soul of Fighting was shot at Haad Rin Arena in Koh Phangan. Thailand is one our favorite countries to write about, mainly because Thai boxing is the national sport, and for better or worse, thousands of young people are born into the culture of fighting. See more here.

Photographer: Michael Christopher Brown
Subject: The Rwandan Defense Force

Magnum photographer Michael Christopher Brown’s work focuses on the “relationship between distance and honesty,” and places in transition all over the world. He's most known for having captured the world’s attention for documenting the Libyan revolution with a camera phone. While embedded with the Rwanda Defense Force in Bangui, Central African Republic, he stumbled upon the martial arts training sessions of the troops.

Photographer: Justin Staple
Subject: Conor McGregor

The Irish mixed martial arts star visited us in Venice Beach right before his fight with Marcus Brimage to film his episode of Moving Portraits: Title Shots. Looking back, we were blessed to catch a glimpse of the rising star before he became the most Googled athlete in Ireland, and the most prominent featherweight in the UFC. Watch Conor talk about his future here.

Photographer: Jake Burghart
Subject: Dustin Barca

Dustin Barca is an ex-pro surfer, fighter, and environmental activist. To us, he exemplifies the spirit of the martial artist, and has been fighting chemical corporations like Monsanto that engage in year-round pesticide spraying in Hawaii. We wrote about him, and made a film—sending Vice's very own Jake Burghart to capture Barca in his natural habitat.

Photographer: Theo Ehret
Subject: Andre the Giant

It’s difficult to pick just one from our collection of photos by Theo Ehret, the in-house photographer at the Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles from the mid 1960s until the early 1980s. Willard Ford made it possible to showcase these incredible images that remind us of how epic and important boxing and pro wrestling were to Los Angeles. See them all here and here.

Photographer: Jason Gould
Subject: Jamaican Boxer

These photos taken in Kingston reminded us of how ingrained boxing is in the neighborhoods of Jamaica. Check out the entire set, which features Youth Fight Night and the Boys Town Boxing Club.

Photographer: Stefan Kocev
Subject: Rickson and Kron Gracie

Stefan's portraits of the greatest jiu jitsu fighter ever and his family, at home in Rio De Janeiro, are the most intimate look the world has seen of the Gracies. After allowing us to show these photos, Stefan went on to contribute some of our most beautiful imagery all year long.


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Fightland's Best MMA Moments of 2014