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Nick Jonas MMA series: Are the cast of ‘Kingdom’ real UFC fighters?


From 2014 through 2017, the Jonas brothers’ Nick Jonas appeared in the MMA-themed series Kingdom on DirecTV. The three-season narrative centres on the lives of a group of athletes from a California MMA gym.

In the movie, Jonas plays Nathaniel (Nate) Kulina, a young gay fighter from a fighting family whose father Alvey runs the gym.

Along with Frank Grillo, a lifetime devotee of combat sports, the show also stars Jonathan Tucker, Matt Lauria, Kiele Sanchez, Joanna Going, and Matt Lauria. However, none of the main characters in Kingdom are UFC fighters or professional fighters.

The ensemble received training for the programme from former UFC fighter Joe Stevenson, who also acted as instructor ‘Daddy’ on film. Greg Jackson, a longtime trainer for Jon Jones at the JacksonWink MMA facility, also contributed to the fight choreography.

Matt Lauria, who plays champion Ryan Wheeler, was trained by former Bellator bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta.

UFC fighters featured as Nick Jonas’ opponents in KingdoM

In season 3, Diego Sanchez, a former UFC lightweight, competed against Nate Kulina of Nick Jonas. He is scheduled to make his BKFC debut this Friday. Season 2 also included Joseph Benavidez, a former UFC flyweight title contender.

Pearl Gonazalez, a former UFC fighter who is now a bare-knuckle competitor, made an appearance as a fighter in one of the season 2 episodes. Matt Hughes, a former UFC Hall of Famer, and Kenny Florian, a former fighter who is now a colour analyst, have both made several appearances.

It was crucial, according to producer Byron Balasco, that the fights didn’t appear staged. As a result, he chose to pair his actors with genuine MMA fighters.

“We don’t need to use a lot of stunt doubles because we have real MMA fighters fighting alongside them. It seems more genuine and emotional.” (credit: Deadline)

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