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Exclusive interview with Catherine “The Alpha Female” Costigan

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Catherine “The Alpha Female” Costigan is one of Ireland’s most well-known representatives in the world of women’s MMA. She has experienced what it is like to fight in Ireland’s largest indoor arena as well as the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas. Although 2015 did not go exactly how she had wanted it to, she is not letting that deter her.

The Limerick native is currently sidelined through injury which has kept her out of action since late last year. “There is always general wear and tear and you pick it up as the years go on,” she began. “This year it just started to niggle. My lower back disks were a bit damaged before and the surgeon said ‘we can see some damage but it’s nothing to worry about unless it gets worse but always be aware of it.’ Something happened in the wrestling training before my camp in America. I knew it wasn’t right so I got another MRI. When I came back after Vegas, about two weeks before the BAMMA fight, I got the MRI results back and he said your disk is herniated on the right side and you’ve also got a trapped nerve on your spine.

Back injuries are a tricky thing and the timescale for recovery can vary quite a lot from person to person, but Costigan has a target in mind for her return to action. “I’m hopefully aiming for the summer time for definite,” she revealed. “This is the second week in the last month of recovery, which is a total of 12 weeks, and I’m doing everything at 100%: my physio, I’m eating right, making sure I’m doing as much as I can do to fix myself and recover, which is the most important thing.”

Costigan went on to talk about the next step in her recovery, which involves building her body up. “I’m then going on a strength and conditioning regime,” she said. “I noticed in America that the girls are very good at rehydrating up and getting their weight up. I’ve always known atomweight is small enough, but in Europe I was always a little bit bigger depending on which girls I fought. I just noticed that there’s a whole science behind it now and I really need to get onto that and build muscle. Maybe the weight cut will be a little bit tougher. but it has to be done.

In her last three fights, Costigan has fought for three separate promotions – Cage Warriors, Invicta FC and BAMMA, so she will not be short on options when she does make her return. “The great thing about any promotion I work with there’s always a fantastic relationship with them,” she stated. “I was a business manager for 10 years so I was always called up the office to give answers. That’s the attitude I have when I’m taking a fight or signing a contract. I’m signed to a multi-fight deal with Invicta, so I go to Shannon (Knapp) first and ask her permission. During the time I spent with her, it showed me a lot about how she runs her business and that she really cares about her fighters and giving an honest paycheque. She knows I need to work, so that’s why she let me go to BAMMA and I think BAMMA are coming back to Ireland this summer. With Shannon’s permission I would love to fight on that card.

That fight for Invicta came in Las Vegas during International Fight Week and just 2 months later, she walked out at the 3 Arena in Dublin. These were two big, but quite different experiences. “The first time I went out in the Helix, it was amazing,” Costigan said, before moving on to her experience in Dublin. “To go out in front of the 3 arena was another jump. It was slightly different to Invicta because not every Irish supporter was there. A good crowd from Limerick that followed me up to BAMMA, but everywhere I seemed to go I had a good following. Although, at BAMMA. it was shame Celine (Haga) didn’t make weight and I have no issue with Celine beating me. My issue is, I keep myself at that 51 kilos then she turns up she turns up with no intention of making weight. It’s frustrating.

She then went on to elaborate on the weight issue in the fight with Haga. “The armbar was sweet. I still can’t tell where it exactly came from cause she’s got a fantastic guard. But it’s tough when someone is so physically strong they can just hang on to you. I do think I gave her a fair fight, but I’d love to love a rematch, more than one with Amber (Brown).

Her Invicta opponent, Brown, will next fight for the Invicta atomweight title – something the Irish woman has her eyes on. “I’m certainly looking for that title. It doesn’t matter who holds it or if I fight Amber again. That loss just had to be dealt with. Conor (McGregor) may not fight Duffy again, but that doesn’t affect his record in a major way. It still sucks to lose, I won’t deny that. I saw Ronda (Rousey)’s issue with losing and I don’t want to commit suicide or anything, but you feel you locking yourself away and gaining back belief.

There were some who claimed Rousey’s reaction was over the top, but Costigan is not one of them. “If you read her book or listen to her mother, she is very tender and can get quite emotional quickly when she’s upset. I wasn’t a world champion when I lost and it was devastating, so imagine the hype the pressure behind her, then to lose.

Back to herself now, and with two loses in 2015, it clearly was not the best year for Costigan, but she would never put that down to misfortune. She looks at 2015 as a learning experience. “It was nothing to do with luck I made a bad decision,” she said, honestly. “I should have pulled out the fight. I discussed it with Shannon afterwards and she said ‘always take care of number one’. Then with Celine, never take someone who doesn’t make weight. I don’t believe in luck in fighting, I believe in working your ass off. I didn’t work my ass off last year because of my injury so this year, get rid of it and move on.

I learned a lot about what’s required at this level and to try train with as many experienced girls as possible. When I was in Vegas, there were around 10 pro girls in a class. In Ireland I’m lucky to have one and she won’t be at the level they are. They’re going 3 or 4 times a week training with each other so it’s a thing for me in the future to raise as much money as I can to go train in Tristar or to train with Mighty Mouse – I think he and his coach Matt Hume are amazing.

Away from fighting, Costigan is involved with selling tickets to BAMMA shows in Ireland, but not for her own benefit. Some commission earned from that goes to the Cork City Kids Club charity, which she explained a bit about. “It’s an amazing charity that brings to Disneyland once a year. The kids are very sick and for some of them this will be the only time they’ll see Disneyland. I think as a fighter, I have a role as an ambassador. BAMMA have helped, letting me give the commission. That money could easily be put towards my training camp, but I look at these kids in wheelchairs, kids that can barely breathe or something else and I think ‘every day I can get up, get out of bed and I can do what I love and these kids aren’t given the same thing’. So as a fighter, I believe we’re not just put here to be in the cage, we’re here to help others.” This incredible act of kindness is not seen every day and it is truly amazing what she is doing for these kids. Be sure to keep an eye on her journey as she aims to come back better than ever later this year.

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Exclusive: Alex Lohore “Didn’t Know” Who Richard Kiely Was Before BAMMA 32 Booking

Harry Davies

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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.

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.

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.

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BAMMA 31: Alex Lohore Knocks Out Nathan Jones with a Knee

Harry Davies

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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.

Round One:

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.

Official Result: Alex Lohore def. Nathan Jones via KO (Knee) Round One 4:13

You can stay updated with the official results of BAMMA 31 here, and also over at our Twitter page @mmalatestnews.

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BAMMA 31: Aaron Chalmers Wins by Knockout in 30 Seconds

Harry Davies

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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.

Round One:

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.

Official Result: Aaron Chalmers def. Alex Thompson via KO (Uppercut) Round One: 0:30

You can stay updated with the official results of BAMMA 31 here, and also over at our Twitter page @mmalatestnews.

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