The inaugural IMMAF World Cup Prague is continuing to make history, this time in the shape of an All-Ireland team being brought to an IMMAF competition for the very first time. Previously, athletes from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have entered and competed on separate national teams.
Andy Ryan explained that the idea of an All-Ireland team was spoken about from the very beginning but did not amount into anything until recent years.
“When IMMAF first originally started in, myself and Danny Corr sat down together and we tried to have a country team but it developed into two separate teams. The guys were cross-training together, the country is a very small country so it was better for everybody and for the sport to really grow.”
Upon arriving in Prague, Danny Corr also highlighted the historic moment of the amalgamation.
“Very historic time we’re having here, the Ulster MMA Association and Irish MMA Association have amalgamated and now we’re here as senior and junior teams about to embark upon our first haul of world medals.
Amateur MMA has been thriving across Ireland with countless medals returning to their shores over the years. Outside of competition, it has also been making waves with Danny Corr being active both before and throughout the pandemic by engaging in Youth MMA development, he was notably recognised for his youth project “Fight to Unite” founded in Northern Ireland but expanded more recently into a cross-border peace project.
Amongst the team in Prague are some familiar faces. 2019 World Silver Medalist and 2017 WAKO World Kickboxing Champion Shauna Bannon will be returning to IMMAF competition in the hunt for gold. Former Junior World and European Silver Medallist Trevor Makengo will be making the step up to the senior level in hope of furthering his IMMAF success.
It would be remiss not to also mention the highly touted Stephen Costello who is hoping to sign off his amateur career with a bang before pursuing a pro career with Bellator MMA.
Across the Senior and Junior tournaments, the unified Irish team is entering 26 athletes in total consisting of 22 athletes from the Republic of Ireland and 4 athletes from Northern Ireland. The full squad is as follows:
Kian Mccarton – Men’s Jr Flyweight (125 lbs)
Kiya O’Sullivan – Jr Flyweight (125 lbs)
Megan Hamill – Jr Flyweight (125 lbs)
Sarah Carney – Jr Bantamweight (135 lbs)
Sinéadh Ní Nualláin – Jr Bantamweight (135 lbs)
Ryan Keogh – Jr Featherweight (145 lbs)
Liam Hand – Jr Featherweight (145 lbs)
Emmet Corr – Jr Lightweight (155 lbs)
Max Gunning – Jr Lightweight (155 lbs)
Alex Fagan – Jr Welterweight (170 lbs)
Dara Ward – Jr Middleweight (185 lbs)
Caitlyn Hadfield – Strawweight (115 lbs)
Gary Rooney – Flyweight (125 lbs)
Eoghan Teague – Flyweight (125 lbs)
Taylor Quinn – Bantamweight (135 lbs)
Shauna Bannon – Bantamweight (135 lbs)
Kerry Ann Vernon – Bantamweight (135 lbs)
Brandon Myers – Bantamweight (135 lbs)
Damien McKenna – Featherweight (145 lbs)
Patrick Moran – Featherweight (145 lbs)
Lewis Byrne – Featherweight (145 lbs)
Solomon Simon – Lightweight (155 lbs)
Adam Mcenroe – Welterweight (170 lbs)
Stephen Costello – Middleweight (185 lbs)
Eoin Sheridan – Middleweight (185 lbs)
Trevor Makengo – Heavyweight (265 lbs)
The MMA World Cup Prague is live-streaming for international audiences at IMMAF.TV from 8 to 11 September for just $/ £/ € 3.99. Broadcast is to commence daily at 10:30am CEST with an estimated run time of up to 6 hours. Subscription packages to the channel are also available, offering access to IMMAF’s forthcoming live events as well as its Championships archive, which includes the recent European Championships.
For fans in the Czech Republic, tickets to attend the MMA World Cup Prague at the UNYP Arena Prague are available to buy here. The event will also be broadcast nationally on Nova Sport 1 and on CSMMA channels.
For daily tournament information:
- visit immaf.org
- register with tournament platform https://mynextmatch.com/ and follow the live schedule, results and brackets in the Event Finder
- follow @IMMAFed on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & TikTok