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Exclusive interview with James McSweeney following his release from ONE

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For all of you who don’t know, former UFC and K-1  fighter, James McSweeney has recently been released by ONE. This week we had the opportunity to speak with James regarding the situation. James explained to us his release by the promotion which seemed to be completely uncalled for and was quite a bizarre one to say the least. His release came about due to a recent Facebook post which he mentions in the story he had in relation to the situation:

“I signed with ONE FC 2 years ago, after 11 months I still was not given a fight , during that time I had fight offers come in for very good money so I asked if I could take as one had not given me a fight, which they said yes but if I lose it would cost me my contract, so I took the fights and won. eventually I got to fight in my 2014 but as a heavyweight I signed as a light heavyweight so I took the heavyweight fight as I wanted to fight and knockout Chris Lokteff in round 1, then august they asked me to fight Christian Kaminski as light heavyweight which I did and knocked him out in round 1 also, them December I fought Roger Gracie, but since then I have not had a fight which is 7 months ago, so no fight for 7 months which means no payment no sponsorship nothing. I had been asking to fight every week I would send email or text or call I even flew to Kuala Lumpur to a ONE FC fight show to try and get a conversation and answer of when I would next fight but nothing! I even tried to step in last min on 1 weeks notice to replace paul cheng when he pulled out against Igor Sabora, I contacted them the same day but was later told no I can’t stand in for paul and they are going to scrap that fight off the card which is very very strange! After almost two years of frustration I eventually put a small post on my Facebook saying, I have had no fight in 7 months I am ready to fight and always ready, I have not come this far in my career to sit on the sidelines and watch something has to change! 2 weeks later after that post I received an email from Matt Hume the matchmaker saying, Victor Cui, the president saw my post and instructed matt to release me from my contract. I feel this is a true blessing I am very relieved and got what I wanted.”

With such uncertainty regarding fights, it must be hard for someone to stay happy at a promotion. For James that was not the case, “I wish one championship nothing but the best in the future, when I did fight for them I loved the show and the fans, just I need to be more active as a fighter. I have goals I need to achieve before I hang my gloves up.” Despite the recent difficulties, James claims he would be happy to fight there again if there were more security and different terms regarding his contract. “I would fight there again, but would have to structure my contract differently and confirm how many fights per year, etc,” said McSweeney.

Fights were rare at ONE for James, although now with his release, he is a relieved man because he’s open to fight wherever he is offered. There was very little effort for him in finding interest from other promotions. He now tells us he in talks with other promotions, unfortunately, he cannot disclose who, “I’m sorry I can’t discuss who we are in talks with at the moment, but you all will see soon enough.” The announcement he mentions is certainly an announcement we will be keeping a close eye on as it could include the announcement of a fight. “I am looking to fight asap.  Hopefully July.” With all the talks around MMA, he also informed us about a return to kickboxing is on the horizons by simply stating, “I will be fighting K-1 for GFC in Dubai sept 18th.”

Switching between weight classes is a challenge for fighters who opt to make the decision due to its lack of stability, but offers more opportunities for fights. James is one of these fighters and seems to have no problem switching weight classes even though he expresses his preference to one.

“I prefer to fight light-heavy as its more my natural weight; I have to really overeat to be heavyweight and still to (feel) that big as a heavyweight. But I will do whatever it takes to stay busy as a fighter and if that means fight two weight classes then no problem.”

Fighting for the UFC is a massive achievement for any fighter. However, getting dropped must be quite a miserable experience. In his past being released, James left the UFC on a bad note. Lots of fighters may give up hope on returning, but James still has his sights on returning in the future. “The UFC is definitely on my radar to fight again I have unfinished business there for sure.” Both of the divisions, he fights hold the least amount of fighters in the UFC. If he proves a success in his coming fights he could be quite the addition once again.

No one makes it to this level without starting somewhere and the routes of a fighter always interest me as you get to see the origin of their Martial Arts background. Everyone must start somewhere and for James it was the core of stand-up along with replicating a movie. “I began martial arts when I was 5 years old and it was Muay Thai and kickboxing. I had a lot of energy and also wanted to be like the movies… Jean-Claude van Damme. (Laughs)”

Every fighter has their own personal daily routine suited to them; juggling training, coaching, family and even working for quite a few fighters that aren’t making major money. Therefore, when talking to fighters, I like to get an idea of what a day in the life of a fighter is like. James gave me an insight to his interesting, yet humorous daily life as he alters his training life and his home life. From working hard at the gym, to walking the dog, to reading his daughter a bedtime story, he describes to me his typical day: “A typical day for me is, I get up at 6 a.m., have my breakfast: granola and yogurt with lemon water. Then go do my strength and conditions at unit 27 at 7 a.m. for just over an hour. Then straight to muscle bar to have my after fuel and pick up my meal plan for the day.  Go home just in time for my daughter to wake up at 9 a.m. then play with her, take her to the beach and feed the fish. Go home, sleep for 2 hours, wake up, eat and get my things ready to go teach my class at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket. I teach my sledgehammer striking system for 1.5 hrs to a packed out class, grab a quick protein drink on the way home, then go home to rest. Then, 7 p.m. that night, hit pads with my coach Roberto Flamingo for close to 2 hours of hell (laughs).  Then, just in time to make it home, walk my dog on the beach with my family, then get my daughter showered, read her a bedtime book every night, then get her off to sleep and then watch some television shows with my wife before bedtime.”

So there, you have my exclusive interview with James McSweeney. It is clear to say he has had a rather successful career to date with more to come. Be sure to keep an eye on James in his coming fights. Follow him on social media on Twitter and Instagram @mcsweeneymma.

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EXCLUSIVE: Jack Shore talks Cage Warriors 87 Opponent Change, Pressure and Being Ready for A Big Opportunity

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Jack Shore, a promising up and coming Welsh Featherweight who will be fighting on his fourth main Cage Warriors card in only his sixth professional fight. Despite his opponent, Federico Mini, dropping out days prior to the event, Shore isn’t concerned ahead of the opponent change. “Just another fight, I’m ready for anything come fight night and I’m looking forward to the challenge”. Cage Warriors have confirmed that Shore will now be fighting Italian, Mattia Galbiati.

Shore last fought at the Newport Centre, Wales at Cage Warriors 83, defeating his opponent Konmon Deh convincingly with a first-round submission. The crowd was electric for both his entrance and when his opponent tapped due to armbar, “I have a massive following and they like to make themselves heard on fight night, it’s getting bigger and bigger every time!”

Whilst using his extensive grappling to win the fight, the Tillery Combat MMA Academy fighter was very aggressive with his strikes on the ground, “I believe my grappling style is very different to what people are used to seeing and that’s why it’s entertaining to watch. I’m always looking to advance and put the pressure on, but I also try to use punches and elbows to set up my transitions.”

Being undefeated throughout his amateur career (including winning the IMMAF European Championships), to then continue being undefeated throughout his early professional career, Shore has a mature mindset for such a young fighter to how the sport works, “Obviously no one wants to lose but you have to be aware that it’s a possibility because anything can happen in this sport. But by being aware it allows me to train and prepare correctly to do everything I can (do) to prevent that from happening.”

Whilst growing up, Shore states that he wasn’t the most confident of people, “As a kid growing up I was never the world’s most confident person.” Cage Warriors being on BT Sport within the UK, being the biggest European MMA promotion, and having the following Shore has, he feels no pressure of fighting, “But as far as MMA is concerned I don’t feel any pressure at all. There’s obviously the fight day nerves but anyone will tell you I deal with them very well and am more than comfortable in that environment.”

With the current revolution of MMA in Wales occurring, former Cage Warriors fighters Brett Johns, Jack Marshman and John Philips all in the UFC, Josh Reed who has just come off a title shot with Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood, Lewis Long being the best Welterweight in the UK. It brings a realistic opportunity of making the UFC, “Definitely. Since the first bunch of Welsh guys have been signed to the UFC it’s shown for guys like me, Lewis Long and Josh Reed that what we are pushing for is no doubt achievable. I believe that if we keep doing what we are doing then that dream won’t be too far away.”

Whilst having such a successful start to his professional career, and with the attention, this young Welshman is bringing, Shore is in no rush for the Cage Warriors belt, but is prepared if the opportunity arises. “I’m just taking one fight at a time. I’m aware that I’m still young in terms of my pro career so I will continue to fight whoever Cage Warriors put in front of me. Should a big opportunity like that present itself I’ll make sure I’m ready.”

Shore seems to be mature for someone of the age of just 22, the future seems bright for the young Welshman. Jack Shore fights on the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 card Saturday, 14th October at the Newport Centre, Newport, Wales. The event will be free-to-air on UK sports channels FreeSports, as well as be on UFC FightPass and via the red button on BT Sport.

Check the main card out for Cage Warriors 87 below:

Lewis Long vs Roberto Soldic (Welterweight)
Craig White vs Matt Inman (Welterweight)
Jack Shore vs Mattia Galbiati (Featherweight)
Aiden Lee vs Ludovit Klein (Featherweight)
Aaron Khalid vs Ross Houston (Welterweight)

By Ieuan Thomas.

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Battle Arena 47 Preview: Five Title Fights in Bedfordshire

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Battle Arena fight cards almost always provide us with some of the most entertaining amateur MMA bouts you will see.

This Saturday’s Battle Arena 47 card in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire promises to continue the trend with five… yes five title fights.

Mathieu James, fighting out of MD Fight Club, takes on the Norweigan Johane Stromsnes in a featherweight bout to kick off the card. Followed by a lightweight fight with Max Pearson from Rising Crane MMA taking on Birmingham’s Bahtar Oryakhil. Pearson’s last appearance on Battle Arena was a split decision win back in February and he looks to take his Battle Arena record to 2-0-0.

Skipping through the undercard, Erland Limanduik Myhr vs. Lee Anthony certainly raises an eyebrown. Anthony, who is moving up to lightweight after two previous featherweight bouts, looks to shake off a decision loss last time out in April and regain the form he showed in his Battle Arena debut where he knocked out his opponent after just 38 seconds. Anthony who stands well over 6 foot will look to use his height advantage to out strike his opponent.

Callum Birkenshaw from SLKMMA in Bedworth puts his undefeated 3-0 record on the line against Liam Hardy from Mcleods MMA in a welterweight fight. In his last fight, Birkenshaw used his kickboxing skills to perfection, showing off 101-varieties of kicks and effective takedowns to stroll to a decision win over a resilient and super tough Jack Lake.

Now… time for the title fights! Our first of the evening sees Molly Lyndsey fight Megan Norman for the European title at 63kg. After a dominant display in her Battle Arena debut showing, Lyndsey was then outclassed on the canvas against Magdelina Giec, who’s very credible judo and jiu jitsu eventually led to her dislocating Lyndsey’s elbow.

Giechas now gone on to represent Poland at the World Games in jiu jitsu, so Lyndsey shouldn’t grade herself too harshly as she looks to take the European belt against Norman.

Next up is the bantamweight European title as Rob Masters defends his belt again, this time against Badar Khalid from Prime MMA in Dunstable.

Masters, who likes to start quickly, came back from a long lay off with a split decision win over Ollie Southam to retain his belt last time out, however Masters himself said via his Instagram.

Masters fights Badar Khalid who trains with Battle Arena featherweight champion Duncan Djillali. This should benefit Khalid mentally with the champions mentality oozing out at sessions looking at that belt hanging in the gym. Khalid is moving down a weight class for this bout and it looks to be an extremely exciting fight.

Two more title fights follow as Fred Sjolie defends his European lightweight title against the Irishman Shane Geraghty who fought just 4 weeks ago, choking out his opponent in the process.

The co-main event sees a regional title fight in the bantamweight division which is bursting with talent as George Caruna takes on Tom Gibbs for the belt. Both fighters will be high on confidence as they fight off the back of wins so expect to see an explosive bout.

Finally, the main event. Jaye John vs Duncan Djillali, for the British bantamweight title.

Another title fight from the bantamweight division? How good is this weight class in Battle Arena?

Djillali started the year brightly racking up three wins before suffering an extremely controversial decision loss. Feeling that he deserved another chance at a title, Battle Arena gave this to him. In comes Jaye John.

A post shared by Jaye John (@jaye.john) on

John fought and was defeated just two weeks ago, so as you can imagine his bravery is admired for stepping back into the cage so soon with the chance to win the British title. We expect Duncan to keep the fight standing up to show off his extremely credible boxing skills.

Battle Arena is renowned for being one of the biggest amateur MMA shows in Europe so expect fireworks, expect finishes and expect some stars to break out.

Full fight card below:

Mathieu James (MD Fight Club) vs Johane Stromsnes (Front line academy) – 66KG
Max Pearson (Rising Crane MMA ) vs Bahtar Oryakhil (Counter Combat) – 70KG
Attila Hanzel (SBJMMA ) vs Tyler Thomas (Hells Pit) – 84KG
Louise Dempter (BMAC) vs Anna Askvik (Pancrase Stokholm) – 52KG
Harvey Stacy (RGA Bucks) vs Lionel Alexis (Bedford MMA) – 77KG
Erland Limanduik Myhr (ILA MMA) vs Lee Anthony (Elite TC) – 70KG
Hanna Ingram (5 Elements) vs Danielle Hutton (Team Walhead) – 66KG
Liam Hardy (McLeods MMA) vs Callum Birkenshaw (SLKMMA) – 77KG
Mark Kelly (Rising Crane MMA) vs Melvin Galdal (Frontline Academy) – 70KG
Jack Fletcher (RGA Bucks) vs Elijas Paknys (Frontline academy) – 84KG
Molly Lyndsey (5 Elements) vs Megan Norman (Hells pit) – 63KG – European Title
Rob Masters (Rising Crane MMA) vs Badar Khalid (Prime MMA) – 61KG – European Title
Shane Geraty (Samsons Martial Arts) vs Fred Sjolie (Frontline Academy) – 70KG – European Title
George Caruna (Mcleods MMA) vs Tom Gibbs (Elite TC) – 61KG – Region Title
Jaye John (Combat & Exercise) vs Duncan Djillali (Prima MMA) – 61KG – British Title

Written by Jack Wright

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Cage Warriors 84: Results

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Cage Warriors returns to the Indigo @ The O2 Arena in London, England with Nathaniel Wood headlining the card against Marko Kovacevic for the vacant bantamweight title.

The card also features a light heavyweight co-main event between Kenneth Bergh and Norman Paraisy as well as Matt iNman taking on Brad Wheeler in the welterweight division.

Stay tuned to our Twitter for live coverage!

Main Card (Live on BT Sport and UFC Fight Pass)

Cage Warriors Bantamweight Title: Nathaniel Wood def. Marko Kovacevic via TKO (punches) after 3:41 of Round 1.

Light-heavyweight: Kenneth Bergh def. Norman Paraisy via submission (guillotine) after 2:13 of Round 2.

Welterweight: Matt Inman def. Brad Wheeler via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)

Lightweight: Alexander Jacobsen def. Tom Green via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

Welterweight: Craig White def. Hakon Foss via submission (guillotine) after 1:18 of Round 1.

Prelims (Live on SPORTbible Facebook)

Lightweight: Steve O’Keeffe def. Sean Carter via submission (heel hook) after 2:10

Catchweight (177lbs): Thomas Robertsen def. Phil Wells via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Middleweight: Mirko Jurkovic def. James Webb via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Flyweight: Sam Creasey def. Iurie Bejenari via submission (rear-naked choke) after 3:41 of Round 1.

Bantamweight: Darren O’Gorman def. Bryan Creighton via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 2.

 

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