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Exclusive: Ireland’s top ring announcer talks to MMA Latest

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MC Noel O Keeffe was training at his local MMA club in Bray one night and started messing about doing walk out announcements for his fellow fighters at the time it was only a bit of fun. Fast forward to now and he is now known as the top ring announcer in the country and has just been assigned as the ring announcer for the prelim fights for BAMMA 22 taking place in the 3 arena on September 19th. O Keeffe told MMA Latest News:

‘How it came about is a little funny, I trained out in Legends mma in Bray under my coach Stefan Moraity, we had a club show coming up and one of the fighters Ben Forsythe was the main event, (now of sbg) As we were warming up on the mats Ben was taking his time getting ready, so I started messing doing a big walk out announcement for him, when I finished Stef said well thats you doing the MC for the show. So a week or so later I was suited and booted and on the mic for the first time’

O Keeffe has been announcing fights for three years now and has covered everything from MMA to Kickboxing to Muay Thai and has covered up to 30 fights and is now so active that he covers 2-3 shows a weekend. In terms of preparing for events O Keeffe says that preparation is key and he practises non stop in the lead up to an event.

‘Prep for a show, firstly I will always ask for a fight card as early as possible, to get the fighters names, this card can change in a heart beat due to injuries etc. But i mainly look for fighters nicknames or if the fighters has a difficult surname I would ask the fighter to say the name and write it down as it sounds. But yeah my neighbours are probably sick of me announcing names. But I would study tapes of fighters if I didnt know them also, just to get me excited for the match up, I believe a big part of what I do is my excitement for what is about to go down in the cage/ring, so if possible I watch some fights so I can transfer my excitement for the fight to the crowd’

O Keeffe who is responsible for getting the crowd ready and pumped up for the fights says its best feeling in the world being in the middle of two men who are ready to go to war but does say that’s it’s the fighters moment and they deserve to hear the roar of the crowd for all their hard work.

‘No other feeling in the world. When both fighters are in the ring they have put blood and sweat into their training and a are moments away from showcasing their skills, there is a strange atmosphere when both are looking across at each other. This is my favorite part I must admit, I start by announcing the weight class and general bout info, but then I turn to the first fighter and start to rhyme off their information, my heart is racing at this point as I go through their info and finally get to PRESENTING at this point I am normally right in the fighters face roaring out there name. Some fighters stand fedor esq stoned faced, other fighters go along with it and get into it with me,word for word and react by pointing throwing their hands up, fist pumping etc but this is their moment all their work is done and they deserve to hear the roar of support from the crowd!

O Keeffe who has been announced as the ring announcer for BAMMA 22 one of the biggest MMA shows in Europe. O Keeffe has accumulated a massive campaign on social media from many fighters and coaches pushing for him to get the position.

‘Yeah no doubt stepping into the 3Arena is something special but so are all the shows I do, whether its a young kid of 10 years of age or the Main event of Enfusion Live or Cage kings, all the shows are as equal, there is no doubt that Bamma being one of the biggest mma shows in Europe is huge for me, but I put as much effort into all my shows. In regards to the social media campaign, there is no doubt the support and messages and backing of all the fighters and fight fans along with media has helped me here. i can only tweet it out but Bamma aren’t gonna just give some Irish mouth piece on twitter the gig because he asked, but they had to listen when the support went fever pitch on social media. I have thanked people on facebook and twitter but it is hard to express just how overwhelming the support has been, all the rts,follows, likes and shares, just incredible’.

So what’s next for Ireland’s top announcer? O Keeffe says he’s just enjoying the present moment and will let the future take care of itself.

‘I never look past the next show but I have been booked also for Cage Kings in Cork, I am incredibly excited to step into the Cage down in Cork as Cork has one of the best fight atmospheres at these events and cannot wait to experience that for the first time. But going forward what will be will be, I am just gonna keep doing something I love to do and how lucky I am to do this, calling the best fighters in this country and abroad, who knows what the future holds, think I’ll just enjoy my journey doing it’.

To keep up to date with all the news on BAMMA 22 follow MMA Latest News on Facebook and Twitter.

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Interviews

Will Fleury discusses incident on “The Fighter” and upcoming bout on December 16th

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Earlier this week footage from EFC’s “The Fighter” emerged on social media. The video showed SBG’s Will Fleury being struck with countless illegal blows to the spine and to the back of the head. At first glance viewers would look and see the first strike then await the referee to stop the action and warn the other fighter. Unfortunately, that did not happen, at long last, the fight was stopped, however, instead of a disqualification win for Fleury. It was ruled a no contest. The video bodes the question to what the referee was doing as well as raising the awareness of fighter safety.

Following all the in cage drama, Fleury was forced out of the show after being told he was concussed despite no medical tests being done on him. With everything said and done, Will looks back on the situation with frustration after all the errors made by EFC.

“The situation was a mess on a number of levels. There was huge potential in the show if they’d let me fight on. But they’ve made a series of inexcusable errors that have led to this ridiculous situation. I think they wanted to brush this all under the carpet and pretend it never happened. They basically treated me like I was a problem that they didn’t want to have to deal with.”

When looking at the in-cage issues Fleury does not blame EFC, as it was, of course, the referee’s fault. The manner in which they went about removing him from the show amongst other things is something he found speculative though.

“The EFC is a promotion, their goal is profit, not fair sport. In fairness, they can’t be held accountable for the referee’s incompetence. But, how they decided to deal with it afterwards was very questionable.”

Currently, in MMA, fighter safety is one of the most talked about things, from weight-cutting to late stoppages. Ireland, in particular, takes extra precaution with the introduction of Safe MMA. In his bout, Fleury’s safety did not look like it was in the best interest of the referee. Fleury recalls meeting the ref a week later and showing him the footage only to be taken back and annoyed at the referee’s response of not seeing any issue.

“If your role as a referee is to ensure fighter safety, he clearly failed miserably. Honestly, I think he’s just not competent for the job. I don’t know how long he’s been involved in the sport for but I met him at a show a week later and showed him the video. He didn’t really think any of the shots were to the back of the head, I got so angry, I couldn’t talk to the guy. Also, It was called a no contest because my head was moving apparently that doesn’t make sense either”

Considering his health was at risk due to the referee’s actions, Will is feeling fit and well with no issues coming out of the fight.

“Yeah, it honestly seems fine. I genuinely felt fine right afterwards and in the days after too. I was winning challenges in the house 16 hours after the fight. looking at the footage is very grim tho, who knows what sort of damage its done in the long term, hopefully very little”

For those who don’t know, Will is scheduled to fight Gordon Roodman on December 16th. Not exactly pleased with the new fight offer, he is glad to finally be able to showcase his abilities but doesn’t see this fight as any consolation for what happened.

“I wouldn’t say pleased. But it gives me a welcome outlet for my frustration and I finally have a platform to show just how good I am at whooping ass. No, It’s not really a consolation. I don’t think they give a shit about what’s fair. They just reckon they can make money from me. You can expect a 1st round TKO/KO”

Will has a very close friendship with teammate Ben Forsyth, having fought before he detailed how they became friends afterwards. After mentioning how it’d be cool to fight on the same card as Ben he details that getting those ever so scarce fights at the higher weight classes come first.

“Ben contacted me about becoming less of a twat so I gave him some advice and things blossomed from there. Yeah, that’d be great but our number one priority for both of us right now is just getting the fights.”

Will then went on to detail the hardship in getting fights on the regional scene.

“Yeah, it’s a serious struggle especially when you’re known to be a good fighter and people are trying to look after their records. there’s also just not that many guys. I’ve fought twice and I’m already the best Middleweight in Ireland. If it were up to me I’d have a lot more but still, that shows you how few guys there are. and if anyone has an issue with me being the best Middleweight in Ireland make 84 and I can prove you wrong”

For those who haven’t seen the footage mentioned above, here it is. Be sure to keep an eye out for Will in his upcoming bout a few weeks from now.

EFC was approached for a comment on this footage, however, have unfortunately not responded.

This is how my time on TF1 ended. 15 elbows, 11 directly to the back of the head, 3 to the spine with the other elbow after the referee tries to stop him. I had been dominating this fight up to this point and was keen to continue (I have to full fight footage proving this). I was told I couldn’t. The fight was declared a no contest rather than a DQ as I was “moving my head”. I was then booted out of the tournament because I was “concussed” (never did any tests to prove this and I was winning challenges in the house 16 hours after this happened) I was the best fighter in that house by a considerable distance and would have smashed any of the other 10 contenders if given the chance. I proved it in every training session and every legal moment in any of my fights. I’ve been denied the chance to earn a decent contract and get my title shot. I’m Will Fleury. I win shit these fucks have disturbed the natural order and I will restore it. #Bullshit #TF1 #irishmma #EFC #mmanews #mmafighting #trykeepmedown #rawbastard #resilientbastard

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BAMMA

Today’s MMA news round-up

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Today has been a pretty busy day when it comes to MMA news. We’ve had it all today from new champions to commissioners being slapped to fighters being flagged by USADA. It’s been hectic to say the least so here are the highlights of today’s news.

1. Conor McGregor causes havoc at Bellator 187

Yes, that’s correct, Conor McGregor at Bellator. Following the win of his teammate and friend Charlie Ward at Bellator 187 the UFC Lightweight Champion entered the cage to celebrate with Ward, however, their celebrations did not go to plan. Referee Marc Goddard wasn’t pleased with this in the slightest and tried get McGregor out. This didn’t go down too well as McGregor confronted the referee who initially pushed him. See the video here:

This unfortunately was not the only incident as Conor appeared to slap an official who tried to get him off the top of the cage.
Credit to @BryanLaceyMMA for this one

2. Bellator to hold 8 Man Grand Prix for Vacant Heavyweight Championship

Earlier today it was confirmed by MMA Fighting that Bellator would crown a new Heavyweight champions following a report from MMA Junkie. There is no official dates yet, however, they do hope to start on January 20th and crown a new champion by the end of the year. There are some big names bidding to become the new champion, they are:

Fedor Emleianenko
Frank Mir
Matt Mitrione
Roy Nelson
Ryan Bader
Rampage Jackson
King Mo Lawal
Chael Sonnen

3. Anderson Silva flagged by USADA for potential doping violation, out of UFC Shanghai Main Event

Former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva failed a USADA doping test and was pulled from the UFC Shanghai Main Event. The sample was collected from an out of competition test on October 26th. This is now his second time failing a doping test. Last time he was hit with a one year suspension and a heavy fine. No more information on the matter has been made available yet in relation to suspension.

4. UFC newcomer Grant Dawson also flagged by USADA for potential doping violation

USADA had a field day today in terms of fighters testing positive for doping. Grant Dawson, who has yet to even get a date for his debut was flagged for a sample collected on October 18th. The 23 year old was signed after impressing on Dana White’s contender series where he scored a second round submission on Adrian Diaz.

5. Martin Nguyen becomes ONE Championship’s first ever two division champion

Featherweight Champion Martin Nguyen stepped up to Lightweight to clash with title holder Eduard Folayang in effort of making history. Many ruled Nguyen out but he silenced all critics when viciously knocked out Folayang to take home another title. See the knockout here:
Credit to @Jolassanda for the video.

 6. All but one fighter make-weight for UFC Norfolk

Things were running smoothly today at the UFC Norfolk weigh ins until Matthew Lopez stepped up to the scales for his bout with Rafael Assuncao. He weighed in 2.5lbs over for his bout. The fight will go ahead, however, Lopez will lose 20% of his purse. Both Pettis and Poirier successfully made weight for their Main Event fight tomorrow night.

7. One new BAMMA champion while Lahore defends his belt in style

Despite some streaming troubles for the first two fights, BAMMA finally got one up in time for fans to see the final 3 fights. In the World Flyweight Title fight, Andy “Taz” Young fell lost his belt to Spaniard Daniel Barez via Majority Decision, After being docked a point in the opening round Barez came back strong to take home the World Title.

In the Main Event of the evening then, the anticipated match up between Alex Lahore and Richard Kiely went down. There was a lot of hype surrounding this one in the build up to the fight but it went as planned for Lahore. The champion pressured for a takedown in the first until finally succeeding, following some work on the mat it looked as if Kiely was about to gain some advantage on top. Only for Lahore to lock in a Kneebar and finish off the fight retaining his belt.

8. Cage Warriors 89 gets a shake up

The Cage Warriors Belgium card had an incredible addition today as they announced via newsletter that Karl Amoussou will defend his belt against Dominique Steele in the Main Event. The fight for the Vacant Heavyweight Championship was then demoted to co-main with a change in opponents for Mauro Cerilli. Dutchman Nills van Noord stepped up to face the Italian after Light Heavyweight Champion Karl Moore was forced off the card due to injury. This dampened his hopes of becoming the first Cage Warriors two division champion since Conor McGregor.

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Conor McGregor

McGregor hints a title unification bout with Ferguson on Irish TV

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UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor made his first appearance on Irish television following his mega-money fight with Floyd Mayweather last night on the famous ” The Late Late Show” where he talked about post Mayweather, potential fights, fatherhood and promoted his movie ” Notorious” which follows McGregor from his first headlined PPV against Chad Mendes to win the interim featherweight title to the second fight with Nate Diaz in August 2016.

One of the notable talking points on the show was that McGregor stated he is currently in talks with UFC about a new contract and a potential fight with the new UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson seems likely to be his next fight to unify the titles.

McGregor has yet to defend his title since winning it in Madison Square Garden last year at UFC 205 and has come under criticism for not defending the title after moving up a weight class to capture the lightweight belt but the Irish man said he wanted to put the division right again by unifying the titles.

The host asked if a potential fight would happen on St Patricks Day in New York but McGregor dismissed the fight by saying ” Leave St Patricks day to St Patrick, I’ll have St McGregor Day”

McGregor also spoke about a potential trilogy fight with fan favorite Nate Diaz and stated that a trilogy fight between the pair would have to be contested at 155 pounds for the title after fighting twice at welterweight.

As of right now, no decision has been officially made on who or when McGregor will next fight but with the recent announcement that UFC would be holding a PPV in Boston in 2018, many have speculated that a potential return for McGregor would take place in the TD Garden as the Irish man as competed in Boston twice and been victorious on both occasions over UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and Denis Siver.

Expect many questions to be answered by the Notorious one in the coming weeks as negotiations for his return to m.m.a seems to be on the horizon.

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