- Ireland makes history with first National Amateur MMA Championships
- “We plan on demonstrating to all the teams at the SuperCup why we are known as the Fighting Irish”, says Head Coach
On the weekend of February 18-20th 2022, the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA) held its inaugural All Ireland National Championships, crowning Ireland’s first ever National Champions in all weight classes.
After 3-days of competitive action, the resulting Gold medalists were awarded first place on the Irish amateur MMA team for upcoming IMMAF events, the BRAVE MMA SuperCup in early March and the anticipated IMMAF European Championships in May.
“We’ve known for a couple of weeks now that Team Ireland will first face Team Russia in the opening round of the SuperCup. According to the Team Bahrain Head Coach, Eldar Eldarov, ‘Russia got an easy draw for the SuperCup’, but Team Ireland doesn’t ever arrive just to take part,” said IMMAA Team Manager Liam-Og Griffin.
“We’re a small island on the edge of Europe, without government financial backing and yet here we are handing it out to anyone who stands in front of us”, says team Ireland Head Coach Andy Ryan. “For 10 years, Ireland has fielded teams that have consistently featured on the medals tables. We have multiple IMMAF World Champions and are always up for whatever challenge is laid down in front of us. We plan on demonstrating to all the teams at the SuperCup why we are known as the Fighting Irish”.
The official team roster for the MMA SuperCup is as follows:
Female Flyweight – Eabha Cruise (SBG HQ)
Female Bantamweight – Kerry Ann Vernon (SBG Cork)
Male Bantamweight – Jamie Abbott-Bissett (Ryano HQ)
Male Featherweight – Jordan Bradshaw (CMAC)
Male Lightweight – Andrew Barrett (SBG Tullamore)
Male Welterweight – Jordan Furey (SBG HQ)
Male Middleweight – Cameron Clements (OMMA)
Male Lightheavyweight – Denis Perry (SBG Strabane)
Male Heavyweight – Gustavo Burges (SBG HQ)
Female Bantamweight – Sinead Ni Nuallain (SBG HQ)
Male Feather/Lightweight – Lewis Byrne (Ryano HQ)
Male Welterweight – Conor McCarthy (SBG Naas)
Andy Ryan (Head Coach)
Liam-Og Griffin (Team Manager)
ABOUT THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Held in SBG HQ, the historic 3-day event was run to mimic a full international IMMAF Championships. Each morning at 8am, the fighter weigh-ins took place with the Medicore Medical team completing pre-fight medical checks on every athlete. Hand wraps were taken care of by Inside-Out-Care and at 10am sharp, the first bout was already underway.
“There’s a different feel and energy to an IMMAF event compared to a Saturday night commercial event”, says IMMAA Team Manager Liam-Og Griffin. “The International events are conducted with military precision with no hype or drama….no DJs, no disco lights. It’s a big step forward for the athletes hoping to travel abroad in coming months/years to experience that feeling domestically so that they know what to expect on the IMMAF stage”.
Team Ireland Head Coach Andy Ryan was hugely impressed by the level of competitors throughout the weekend. “I was very proud of every single athlete all weekend long. We had a few newcomers that shook things up and a mix of experienced athletes proving why they hold the ranks they do. We could have selected 2 or 3 teams from the pool of athletes who came to perform this weekend. What’s more is that this championship has now set the bar for all future qualifiers. We’ve found a formula that works and this is going to raise the level of Irish MMA enormously over the next couple of years”.