The Game Changers: The Netflix Documentary Turning Meat-Eaters Vegan

“Nine days out from the fight, I started eating two steaks a day and it just came back to bite me on the ass.”
17:00, 29 Oct 2019

Settling down to watch an hour and a half of Arnold Schwarzenegger on Netflix usually involves guns, grenades and a whole heap of catchphrases, yet the latest film he features in could not be further from his usual.

The Game Changers is an in-depth documentary that covers the impact a plant-based diet has on both athletes and regular people, compared to a diet that includes animal products. Sounds boring right? Wrong. This ninety-minute masterpiece features some of Netflix’s best work, and we do not say that lightly. 

The documentary loosely follows combat expert and Ultimate Fighter champion James Wilks on his journey of self-discovery, starting from an assumed truth that most of us probably believe: eating meat is important as a source of protein and is crucial to aid muscle development. 

Athletes have long been convinced that a diet consisting predominantly of meat and carbohydrates is the best for their performance, yet during this documentary Wilks breaks down those misconceived preconceptions, one-by-one. 

The concept of manliness is dissected at the start of the show, starting by analysing the bones of Roman gladiators. In the decomposition, it is shown that gladiators were predominantly vegetarian, something that shocks Wilks and sets the tone for the rest of the film.

UFC champion Nate Diaz, in action this weekend against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244, is also featured on the documentary as the sport’s leading advocate for a plant-based diet. 

Conor McGregor was his opponent at the time; a meat-eating athlete who claimed to eat steak for every meal in the build-up to the fight and also ridiculed Diaz in the build-up for his diet, comparing himself to a lion and the American to a gazelle. 


He played the perfect role and fed into all of the stereotypes of a meat eater, yet on fight night - he could not match the energy levels of his opponent, who had only had eleven days to prepare and lost via submission in the second round. The Irishman pointed to one thing that let him down in the build-up:

“Nine days out from the fight, I started eating two steaks a day and it just came back to bite me on the ass.”

The documentary also focuses on another pair of plant-based athletes in Patrik Baboumian and Scott Jurek, who are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to sport. Farris is one of the world’s strongest men while Jurek is an ultra-marathon runner - yet both are fueled without the need for animal products and their journeys are tracked as they both look to achieve remarkable feats. 

Baboumian also comes out with one of the best lines of the entire piece:

“Someone asked me, ‘How could you get as strong as an ox without eating any meat?’ 

My answer was, ‘Have you ever seen an ox eating meat?’”

We also get our healthy dose of Arnie who talks us through his journey from meaty muscle man, who used to eat 15 eggs a day, to vegetarian, a move that significantly reduced his cholesterol. 

However, one of the highlights of the show comes as three Miami Dolphins players go through a whole range of tests to see how eating a plant-based meal affects their blood, compared to a meat-based meal, with stark consequences. There is even a test to see how the players’ overnight erections fair with the differing diet, which features some hilarious reactions with all of the Dolphins.

Packed full of analysis from doctors and medical professionals, this eye-opening documentary is one you simply have to watch, whether you are a carnivore or already munching away at a plant-based diet.

The Sportsman Documentary Rating: 9.1/10 

For more information on the documentary and a plant-based diet visit

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