Team Ireland team manager, Liam Og-Griffin has described the sport’s scene in Ireland as the strongest it has ever been, as he prepares to lead Team Ireland into this week’s amateur MMA SuperCup in Bahrain.
Griffin, travels alongside Finglas, Dublin facility Team Ryano head coach, Andy Ryan to Bahrain and a 12-strong team of amateur talent from Ireland, with the BRAVE CF promoted event slated to take place over the course of three days on March 9, 10, and 12.
Team Ireland will feature alongside Team Oceania in the opening quarter-final bracket of the MMA SuperCup on Wednesday this week, while Team Mexico draw Team Arab Champs, Team Bahrain draws Team Tajikistan, and Team Kazakhstan tackles Team Balkan Champs on the opposite side of the tournament bracket.
With the overall team victor of the MMA SuperCup netting a cool $100,000, the eventual tournament runners up will land a sum of $75,000 – with the best third place side earning a further $50,000 – in a bid to help develop the amateur level of the sport in each winning nation and region.
Speaking with Current MMA ahead of this week’s action, Team Ireland manager, Griffin, described the current lie of the land in Ireland in regards to mixed martial arts as the strongest the outlook of the sport has ever been.
“This is the strongest mixed martial arts in Ireland has ever been,” Liam-Og Griffin said. “Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see the event calendar filling back in with regional events all over the country and I believe that the past two years has reinforced for both athletes and fans the love and passion they have for the sport of MMA. We often don’t know what we have until we lose it. Now that we’re almost back to normal again, the energy and enthusiasm is better than ever. On top of that, we’re really seeing the fruits of the last 10 years of labour on the IMMAF (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation) circuit.”
“Ireland has always punched above it’s weight in international combat sport, and in recent years, amateur MMA athletes are getting more and more recognition for their achievements at the various championships overseas, which in turn is inspiring more and more younger athletes to follow in their footsteps,” Liam-Og Griffin said.
Pointing to the success achieved by Irish athletes, Griffin explained how the likes of recent Bellator features, Leah McCourt, and Sinead Kavanagh utilized the prior IMMAF success to really kick start professional runs.
With a 12-strong team jetting to Bahrain to compete during this week’s event, Griffin outlined a few notable names fans should keep a close eye on over the course of the tournament.
“All of the athletes chosen for the MMA SuperCup qualified for their place through the inaugural IMMAA National Championships so every single team member has earned their spot with top-class performances inside the cage,” Liam-Og Griffin said. “Jamie Abbott-Bissett is one of the most experienced members of the squad, having previously been a junior IMMAF European champion, he became a two-weight National champion this year having moved from flyweight to compete in the bantamweight division. Jamie has an extremely well-rounded game with crisp boxing, great takedowns, and serious Jiu-Jitsu skills on the ground.”
“Another highly spoken about athlete is Jordan Furey,” Liam-Og Griffin said. “He’s new to the IMMAF circuit but has shown a real killer instinct in all of his bouts to date in the welterweight division. With knockout power in both hands, his ability to generate power in ground and pound positions is frightening. He’s a fan-favorite for sure.”
“Kerry Ann Vernon is another standout,” Liam-Og Griffin said. “She came to MMA thought the Wimp2Warrior programe but in a whirlwind second half of 2021, she exploded onto the IMMAF scene, with a one-punch knockout at the Prague World Cup, along with two epic battles in Abu Dhabi at the World Championships. Kerry is a favorite with the MMA media with an inspiring mental outlook on both MMA and life in general. She is a great ambassador for the sport.”
Alongside Abbott-Bisset, Furey, and Vernon, Team Ireland consists of Jordan Bradshaw, Eabha Cruise, Cameron Clements, Andrew Barrett, Gustavo Burges, Denis Perry, with substitutes, Conor McCarthy, Lewis Byrne, and Sinead Ní Nuallain.