Fans of MMA know well the sweet, dulcet tones of one Mauro Ranallo…Well, the intense, frantic vocalisations of Mauro Ranallo. He’s a man who has provided colour commentary for some of the most legendary contests in combat sports and sports entertainment over three decades. Those who have seen interviews with Ranallo know that he wrestles with his mental health on a daily basis.

It’s a subject he discusses openly and honestly in a bid to remove the stigma attached to mental health issues. The next step, it seems, is to release a documentary, Bipolar Rock ‘n Roller, that chronicles the career of one of the most recognisable voices in combat sports. This documentary also looks at the true extent of Ranallo’s daily struggles through candid personal interviews, behind the scenes footage, and detailed accounts from those closest to him.
 

It looks confronting, to say the least.

 
Ranallo has bipolar disorder, a condition that is said to affect approximately 3.2% of Australian males and 3.6% of Australian women. According to the Black Dog Institute, people experiencing bipolar disorder face depressive and manic episodes that vary in intensity and duration. Depressive episodes can be characterised by low mood, hopelessness and extreme sadness. In manic or hypomanic episodes thoughts and ideas race, there’s little needs for sleep, risk-taking increases, and delusions of self-importance can take over. Acute manic episodes can result in hallucinations. It should be noted that this is not an extensive list of symptoms and any diagnosing needs to be done by a medical professional.

The documentary was shot by a friend of Ranallo, Haris Usanovic, and was produced by Brian Dailey. Though a first-time film maker, Usanovic’s relationship with Ranallo gave unprecedented access into the life and struggles of a Bipolar Rock ‘n Roller, to take an unflinching look at the effects of mental illness.

Over the last several years, I allowed my best friend, Haris, to film me at my lowest points as well as at my highest”, said Ranallo. “The idea is simply to show others who suffer that they are not alone and that, even when the outlook is bleak, you can overcome and achieve success. Mental illness is a life sentence – there is no cure – but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.

With a career that has spanned over 30 years, Ranallo’s hopes that through this deeply personal portrait, he might inspire others to persevere in pursuing their dreams, despite the challenges facing them. Bipolar Rock ‘n Roller will be released on May 25th, during mental health awareness month.


Bipolar doesn’t go away by itself. It needs long-term management. If you’re struggling and need help, you’re not alone. Talk to someone you trust, talk your GP, or contact Life Line Australia: 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636.