UFC strawweight, Aisling Daly, will be accompanying Team Ireland to the IMMAF European Championships in the capacity of coach and corner.
Fresh off her recent victory at UFC Fight Night Dublin, Daly “will be there in support of my SBG teammates who are members of Team Ireland. (Competitors) Richie Smullen and Lindsey Doyle are close friends and training partners of mine. Lindsey is also my nutritionist. Both are great fighters and I anticipate stellar performances for them both.”
Aisling Daly has been pivotal in the development of sports safety in grassroots MMA in the Republic of Ireland. On engaging Irish Consultant Neurologist, Professor Dan Healy, she helped pioneer the medical safety movement, Safe MMA – Ireland. Daly has been active as a spokesperson for the sport and key in the lobby that prevented MMA from a potential government ban in the country. With her support, the Safe MMA-Ireland group has been notably dynamic in recruiting national promoters to voluntarily sign up to a medical standard.
Regarding her role with the Irish Amateur MMA team, Daly commented:
“Amateur competition is so important. It gives fighters experience without having the pressure of (bouts) going on their records. It gives them an opportunity to hone their skills before making a step onto the bigger stage. It also gives athletes an opportunity to see if the sport is for them, in a less pressure filled environment. I wish I’d had a tournament like IMMAF open to me when I started fighting.”
The competing Irish team will be headed by John Kavanagh, coach to Daly and to Conor McGregor, under the Irish Amateur Pankration Association. The team scored 2 medals at its first showing at the 2015 IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas, with Frans Mlambo taking the gold (Featherweight – male) and Sinead Kavanagh the silver (Featherweight – female). John Kavanagh has since been recruited by Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad of Bahrain to coach his KHK fight team, following an introduction at the IMMAF World Championships which preceded ‘UFC 189: Mendes vs. McGregor’. Both Mlambo and Sinead Kavanagh have gone onto debut at professional level on flagship European show, BAMMA.
Returning to represent Ireland is middleweight Kiefer Crosbie, who reached the quarter finals of the 2015 World Championships to be defeated by British silver medallist, James Duckett.
Where Irish compete, a strong fanbase can always be expected; and so loud support can be anticipated for the following Team Ireland competitors for the 2015 IMMAF European Open Championships:
Deborah O’Sullivan – 115lbs Women’s Strawweight Meagan O’Loughlin – 125lbs Women’s Flyweight Lindsey Doyle – 145lbs Women’s Featherweight Aoife Murphy – 155lbs Women’s Lightweight Daryl Byrne – 125lbs Men’s Flyweight David Fogarty – 125lbs Men’s Flyweight Richie Smullen – 145lbs Men’s Featherweight Lee Hammond – 155lbs Mens’s Lightweight Thomas Martin – 155lbs Men’s Lightweight Mark Fairman – 170lbs Welterweight Sam Slater – 170lbs Welterweight Kiefer Crosbie – 185lbs Middleweight Ben Forsyth – 205lbs Light Heavyweight Dillon Manning – 205lbs Light Heavyweight Ryan Spillane – 265lbs Heavyweight