By Caoilte de Barra
The President of International Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Australia (IMMAFA), Richie Cranny, announces a major shake-up in the Australian national team, which sees UFC veteran Brian Ebersole take the reigns as head coach.
Ebersole; who moved to Australia from Indiana, USA more than a decade ago, takes charge of the Australian team; currently ranked 7th in the IMMAF Senior team rankings.
Joining Ebersole in coaching the Australian National team will be Renato Subotic, Joseph Luciano and Ben Nguyen.
The new coaching team were present with team Australia at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships, which took place in Gold Coast from March 6-9. Over the course of his 16-year career as a pro, Ebersole has fought across the globe in a variety of weight divisions ranging from Lightweight to Heavyweight. He competed in the likes of Strikeforce and IFL prior to making his UFC debut back in 2011, where he made the walk to the Octagon on 8 occasions clocking a record of 5-3 in the UFC.
The 39-year-old decided to call it a day in 2016 in Melbourne, Australia, hanging up his gloves after what was his 71st pro bout. Along with his long-standing fight career, Ebersole was a Division I collegiate wrestler prior to his career. Along with that he brings a wealth of coaching experience from being the former head coach of two highly renowned gyms, Tiger Muay Thai and MMA and Evolve MMA. The rest of Ebersole’s coaching staff also boasts a plethora of MMA experience. Renato Subotic is no stranger to the IMMAF circuit as he was a coach for the Italian National Team back in 2017 & 2018. As a pro his MMA record stands at 2-0, with both wins coming by way of submission. His extensive combat sports experience includes being a member of the Italian Karate team paired with Boxing and Muay Thai bouts.
Likewise, Aussie, Joseph Luciano is another notable addition to the team. Having competed in 6 IMMAF competitions, Luciano has represented his country at IMMAF competition more than any other Australian athlete. Back in 2018 he secured gold in both the IMMAF Africa Open and IMMAF Oceania Open while competing as a Middleweight. He has featured for Australia in the World Championships on 3 occasions, taking home a bronze medal twice. Luciano is now 1-1 since turning pro, competing in the ONE Warrior Series promotion.Last of the newly announced coaching team, Ben Nguyen is known across the world following his time in the UFC where he broke into the top 10. In the UFC he competed against some of the best flyweights in the world, many of which are former title challengers. Nguyen is currently signed to the Asian based promotion RIZIN.
After helping IMMAFA secure 14 medals at the 2020 Oceania Open, 5 of which were gold, the eyes and expectation will be on the new ‘A’ team to help drive the nation into a top 5 position in the IMMAF world rankings.