Ireland’s Ben Forsyth is one of the most promising rising light heavyweight stars in European MMA. Having won the IMMAF European Championship gold medal in 2015, Forsyth turned professional and has since reeled off consecutive wins, most recently over Pelu Adetola at BAMMA 26 in Dublin, Ireland. Just a few short weeks removed from that bout, Forsyth sat down to talk with MMA Latest today, where discussion quickly turned to how Forsyth feels his performance on September 10th after having some time to reflect – and, despite the win, he is not satisfied.
“I wasn’t happy with it at all,” he begain. “It kinda feels like I lost – Chris Fields always says that a decision is a loss, because you couldn’t finish him, and I kinda agree with that. Although, on the night, I was happy that I won, looking back on it there’s a lot of other things I could have done better. I dunno, he was awkward and it made me look shit I think.”
“I don’t know what it was, whether it was the arena or diet or fatigue, I just didn’t have that extra level that I usually have to perform. But that won’t happen again anyway. I need to be more ferocious.”
For Forsyth, his appearance at BAMMA 26 was the first time he got the chance to fight professionally in front of his fellow countrymen. He talked about how the experience was for him. “I almost felt like it was going to be a bigger night than it was,” he said. “When I found out I was lower down the card, that annoyed me a little bit, but I understand it I suppose because there are other guys who deserve to be higher up – they’ve been around longer. So I understand it completely, so maybe I just thought it’d be bigger but it was still brilliant, I wouldn’t take anything away from it. To sum it up, I’d say it was definitely memorable.”
“It was deadly to walk out just in that arena and it didn’t feel daunting. Nothing felt strange to me, just that it was a little bit bigger, so that was good to feel. I don’t know how it’d be walking out in front of 20,000 people – I’m sure that makes some sort of difference, but I’ll find that out someday.”
The build-up to Forsyth’s second professional fight was slightly unstable due to a number of opponents withdrawing from the fight, something which Forsyth believes, ultimately, is just part of the sport. “It does change it (my approach) a little bit,” he explained. “But not majorly. The first guy I was supposed to fight, Dave Sweeney who tore his knee, was a pure wrestler, then another was similar to Pelu. It was changing almost on a daily basis it seemed, and it got to the stage where John (Kavanagh) said ‘just match him, we will take whoever’. We found out it was Pelu about 3 weeks out, and watched some video on him with Will, one of my cornermen. You don’t need 8, 9 weeks to prepare for someone. At a really high level you might, but not at this level. So it (opponent changes) makes a little difference, but not enough. You should be prepared for everyone; that’s what MMA is. It’s not about just being a good boxer anymore – if you’re just that then you’re dead in the water, so I think you should be able to adapt to anyone.”
Opponents pulling out of fights is something far from alien in Forsyth’s young career to date. In fact, as recently as July 30th at Shinobi Wars 8, Forsyth was scheduled to meet Andrej Bochorz. However, he discovered at the last moment that he would not be fighting that night. “I was literally warming up,” Forsyth started. “There was two fights to go and then mine. They (promoters) just came in and said they had been trying to find me an opponent for an hour and apparently my opponent just called in sick. That has happened to me at amateur level before, you almost half expect it at amateur, but I really didn’t expect it at professional level. In retrospect, I’m kinda happy in a way that he pulled out because I don’t really want to fight guys with the record he had, but it would have been nicer to be 3 – 0 now rather than 2 – 0.”
BAMMA 26 itself was pushed back this year in order to allow each competitor on the card to undergo the necessary health checks and scans, such as MRI and MRA, as part of the introduction of new safety and medical procedures following the tragic death of Joao Carvalho in April. Forsyth has seen the quality of these new measures. “It’s a huge difference,” he said. “Some shows in the UK that I’ve been to, a doctor wouldn’t even come near you after a fight. You literally go backstage, cut your wraps off yourself and then go looking for your money. At BAMMA, we saw a doctor as soon as we came in, we already had to submit pre-fight medicals, MRI, MRA, everything. Then after the fight, before you talk to anyone, you’re taken to the doctor to get checked out to make sure you don’t need to go to the hospital. It’s really good and I’ll happily to do all the scans because I’m very aware of the risks, brain trauma being the main one.”
“We needed to do this after what happened with Joao, it had to happen. If we want to get the sport recognised by the sports council, we need to be really professional about it. That’s where John (Kavanagh), Dan Healy, Joe (Clifford) and the rest are really coming into it. They’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes that very few people know about.”
Forsyth recently attended UFC 200 and International Fight Week in July – an experience which he thoroughly enjoyed. The next time he visits Las Vegas, however, he wants it to be for a special reason. “I think the next time I go back, I would like it to be for a fight,” he smiled. “I’ve been there, I’ve done it and I almost feel like I have to earn my way back and that’s by getting to fight there, which might take a few years. I’m in no huge rush, because I know that I need to get the experience. By the time I get there, I want to be able to look at number 1 through 30 in my division and say that I can beat any one of them.”
Away from fighting, Forsyth is a host of a podcast alongside fellow fighters Cian Erraught and Will Fleury called What’s The Big Idea? It is a relatively new project, but one that they plan on growing in the coming months. Forsyth also has his own brand of coffee, which is something outside of fighting he enjoys. “I work for a company and train their baristas,” he began. “Within that company I started my coffee company called 8th Corner Coffee. It’s going slow, but I like that. It’s good to have something like that associated with me. Keith Jardine (who founded Caveman Coffee) is liking everything I throw up on the Instagram page, so maybe he’s thinking I’m doing something similar to him.”
As Forsyth’s MMA career is just beginning, another Irishman’s is coming to an end. Neil Seery announced that he will retire from MMA following his bout with Ian McCall at UFC Belfast. Forsyth gave his opinion on how Seery’s will be remembered. “A legend,” he simply stated. “He’s the people’s champion, everyone loves him. I’ve never met anyone who’s had a bad word to say about him. I think he’ll be remembered very, very fondly and he deserves it. He still works a full-time job, has a family to support, is fighting the elite in the world and he’s doing really well. Neil’s a legend and I think he showed that you don’t have to be a Conor McGregor to do what you’ve always dreamed of. I think everyone in Ireland, and everywhere, will respect him for that. He’s a legend, simple as that.”
His growing number of fans are wondering one thing: When will Ben Forsyth next fight? Well, Forsyth has an idea of when he would like that to be, and don’t expect it to reach the final bell. “There’ll be something in December. BAMMA might be coming back in December and BRAVE were onto me about possibly getting me matched-up on that, so it’s a toss-up between the two. But it’ll be December unless I get any more pull-outs, and I’ll be looking to get a finish. Like I said earlier, I fucking hate decisions and I’m not gonna let that happen again.”
Exclusive: Alex Lohore “Didn’t Know” Who Richard Kiely Was Before BAMMA 32 Booking
We spoke to the recently crowned BAMMA welterweight champion Alex Lohore, as he prepares to defend his title against Richard Kiely at BAMMA 32 in Dublin.
Lohore (13-1) won the vacant BAMMA welterweight title last month at BAMMA 31 in London. Fighting his longtime rival Nathan Jones on the night, Lohore knocked out “Mr Bag & Tag” with a knee in the first round.
Q: Obviously the rivalry between you and Jones had been going on for years, but you finished it in brutal fashion. Did you to speak to him after the fight?
Yeah I did have a chat with him. I was telling him that it was a great fight and we should train together sometime, but he was he wasn’t really keen on it. I guess he was still a bit sore about the defeat.
Q: In the cage after your win, you called out Richard Kiely, now you’re fighting him. Are you happy you got the opponent you asked for?
Everyone keeps saying I called him out, I didn’t call him out, he called me out! I didn’t even address his name, I said ‘this Irish kid has been running his mouth we’re going to go out there and shut him up.’ I didn’t even know who he was. He’s been mentioning my name and talking a lot of rubbish on my social media disturbing me and my fans.
Q: The finish against Jones was picture perfect. From the elbow, to the right hand, to the knee, was it the best of your career?
Yeah I think it is, by far! It was perfect technique. I knew as he was going he back he would try to duck in for the takedown. Because I was throwing the head kick anyway all I needed to do was just switch it to a knee. I couldn’t ask for any better.
— BAMMA (@BAMMA) September 15, 2017
Q: Given it’s in Dublin and Richard is Irish, How do you feel about going into enemy territory at BAMMA 32?
That’s great, that’s why I’m doing it! I need to be comfortable in every environment, so going out there will test. I wanted to be on the Dublin card, now I can teach him a little lesson too, I can’t wait.
Q: As you know the Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers has brought a lot of attention to BAMMA recently, what are your thoughts on him?
He’s good man. For someone who doesn’t come from a fighting background and does reality TV stuff, he’s doing good. How can people say he should fight someone more experienced, because he is taking guys that are on his level and he’s doing good.
He’s helping MMA fighters because he has got a big following so more people are going to be watching MMA and learning about MMA so it’s a good thing having him on board.
Opponent announced in the next few weeks
The team has asked Bamma for an opponent with pro wins
— Aaron Chalmers (@AaronCGShore) October 6, 2017
BAMMA32 will take place at the 3Arena in Dublin on November 10th. Tickets are now on sale at ticketmaster.ie. The card will air live on both UNILAD’s Facebook page, and Dave.
BAMMA 31: Alex Lohore Knocks Out Nathan Jones with a Knee
In the main event of BAMMA 31, Alex Lohore knocked out Nathan Jones with a vicious knee to become the new BAMMA welterweight champion.
Jones (11-6) returned to BAMMA after fighting at Bellator 179 in May, where he submitted Umer Kayani in the first round. It was his first title fight under the promotion, as he stepped into the BAMMA cage for the sixth time in his professional career.
The self-proclaimed “future of French MMA” Lohore (13-1) was riding a 9-fight winning streak as he made his BAMMA debut on the night. Like Jones, “Da Kid” last fought at Bellator 179 stopping Dan Vinni, who was scheduled to face Walter Gahadza tonight, but the fight was cancelled.
Lohore backed up Jones to the fence and landed some good knees to the midsection. It was evident pre-fight animosity was carried into the cage as both men swung with bad intentions in the first. Jones secured a takedown and looked to wrap up a guillotine choke but Lohore defended well.
After Jones and Lohore broke from a clinching position, Lohore landed a beautiful step-in knee and sent Jones crashing to the canvas unconscious.
— MMA Latest (@MMALatestNws) September 15, 2017
Official Result: Alex Lohore def. Nathan Jones via KO (Knee) Round One 4:13
BAMMA 31: Aaron Chalmers Wins by Knockout in 30 Seconds
In the second fight of his career, Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers knocked out Alex Thompson in just 30-seconds at BAMMA 31.
Chalmers (2-0) made his pro debut back in April at BAMMA 29, when he submitted Greg Jenkins in the first round. “The Joker” had spent his training camp at UTC in Birmingham for this fight, alongside the likes of Yannick Bahati and UFC welterweight Leon Edwards.
Thompson (0-1) had previously fought at BAMMA before facing Chalmers, but on the amateur circuit. Making his pro MMA debut on the night, “The Iron Born” was riding a 4-fight losing streak coming into BAMMA 31, and had taken almost a full year away from the cage.
As the round opened up, Chalmers and Thompson began to exchange on the feet. A left uppercut from “The Joker” had already knocked Thompson out on the feet, and as he was falling to the canvas Chalmers landed a right hand to finish the job.
— MMA Latest (@MMALatestNws) September 15, 2017
Official Result: Aaron Chalmers def. Alex Thompson via KO (Uppercut) Round One: 0:30
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