Halle Berry found out the hard way about the perils of being in the cage with Valentina Shevchenko, one of the world's best MMA fighters.
Berry, the Hollywood A-lister, said Tuesday on "The Tonight Show" that she "broke some bones" during a movie fight scene last year with Shevchenko, the UFC women's flyweight champion. Berry enlisted Shevchenko's help for the upcoming mixed martial arts movie "Bruised," which Berry also directed. Berry plays the lead role and Shevchenko helped train her, in addition to being in the film.
"[Shevchenko] had to throw some real kicks and I have to really take them and that really broke some bones," Berry told Jimmy Fallon. "She's a beast. But I couldn't have asked for a better teacher, a better scene mate, a better fight partner. She just brought so much reality to it for me. At times I felt like I was really fighting."
Shevchenko told ESPN that she didn't want to discuss what Berry's injuries were in detail, but she knew the star actress was in a lot of discomfort toward the end of filming.
"I'm not sure I can say it if she didn't say it by herself," Shevchenko said. "But I can say for sure [she broke something]. The last date of the filming she was working out and stopping and taking time because of the pain. But she finished all filming and she did great."
Shevchenko, ESPN's No. 2 pound-for-pound women's MMA fighter in the world, said the injury likely came from an accident while the two were grappling on the ground during a fight sequence.
"It was kind of an accidental thing, turning to another side or something like that," Shevchenko said. "I kept a lot of control in all my moves. Even when I was pretending that I am hitting hard, I didn't hit hard, because every time I'm trying to have a lot of control and I did have a lot of control. It was not something from my side, it was just a wrong move.
"In martial arts, even when you're trying to protect yourself as much as you can it's happening anyway. It's a fight, there's a lot of movement happening. It's a lot of angles."
Berry said the referee for their fight scene was an actual MMA referee and he told her that at times it felt like she and Shevchenko were actually going at it. Berry and Shevchenko have remained friends and Berry was in attendance to support Shevchenko at UFC 247 in February. On that card, Shevchenko defended her title by beating Katlyn Chookagian by TKO.
"She just brought so much power and authenticity to our fight scene," Berry said of Shevchenko. "It's par for the course."
Shevchenko said the key was making things as realistic as possible.
"It definitely was not just softly touching each other," Shevchenko said. "It definitely was not. Because even if you're pretending to hit with a kick, to make it look good for a movie you actually have to throw real kicks. The difference is you're throwing it to the body. You're not throwing it 100% power, but powerful enough to feel it. Definitely you're not throwing to the nose or the shins or any dangerous parts. But there's still a lot of power there, because you want to make movie look real."
By the end, Shevchenko said Berry "had real bruises all over her body" in addition to what they described as broken bones.
"I started kind of very careful," Shevchenko said with a laugh. "She's like, 'Hmm, it's not strong enough. Give me your power. Hit me harder.' Every time until the end she was claiming she needs more power. More, more."
Berry said "Bruised" was scheduled to come out this fall, but the release date is now unknown due to factors caused by the coronavirus pandemic.