Interview: UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren

Campbell McLaren talks to Kingdom MMA 'I would have never sold the UFC'

Thursday, 26 March 2015

John Shink tells Kingdom MMA that FCC 12 opponent Aaron Robinson is a "the final step"

By Alex Dillon @ADillon__

In the current MMA climate, many consider the flyweight division at any level to be boring but, for the UK MMA scene, this is the total opposite. Not only do we have a quality bunch of professional flyweights but, the amateur rankings are home to some real top talent. Saturday's fight at FCC 12 at the Bolton Macron Stadium see's amateur flyweight champion Aaron Robinson (3-2) defend his title against John Shink (6-0) in a fight which pits the two very best amateur flyweights against each other to see who is number one.

We caught up with Shink to get his thoughts ahead of the fight and much more.

Hi John, thanks for taking the time to speak to us during fight week, how has preparation gone for this fight?

Shink: I approach each fight the same way with a few tweaks at the end on camp depending on the style of the fighter. I feel really good.

In your last fight, you finished one of the brightest UK amateur flyweights in Connor Hitchens, how did it feel to put away such a talented youngster and cement yourself as one of the best amateur flyweights in the country?

I was sure that I could get the job done so I just had to prove it. I wasn't at my best on that day so it was more of a relief. As for the best amateur flyweight, It feels good but I'm looking to be the best flyweight at pro level.

You train at Morefire BJJ as well as Kaang Raang in Dunstable if I'm correct, how do you balance training at both gyms and can you tell us a bit about what  training entails day to day at both gyms?

I alternate between each gym on a daily basis. I do strength and conditioning every morning before I train in the evening. A typical Thai class starts with a drill to warm up our hands and leg. Then we get on to drilling techniques and spar at the end. Jui jitsu has a similar structure too.

You're fighting at FCC 12 this weekend against the FCC amateur flyweight champion Aaron Robinson, have you watched much footage of your opponent? If so, what do you think his strengths are and weaknesses you can exploit?

I've watched his fights and he has decent hands, good movement. But he his easy to take down. He hasn't fought for a while so he could have improved. My coaches will find out his strengths and weaknesses while we fight on Saturday.

The fight is widely considered as the two best amateur flyweights going at it to be crowned the best in the country, how does that make you feel?

I feel I already am the best. There can only be one, so I like that competitive feeling knowing there's no other that can take my place. Aaron is just the final step.

You've fought on many shows winning many titles but how much would it mean to you to win the FCC title?

FCC is a great MMA promotion with exciting fighters. Winning the FCC belt would mean a lot to me as I would be one of their champions. Also I would be taking it from the current champ. The feeling of achieving my goal cannot be described. But I know I will be very happy.

We understand you are turning pro in June, can you talk us through that move and also why you took this fight so soon after winning your last rather than just wait for the pro fight?

I didn't get injured during my fight with Connor and I want as many fight experience as I can in order to prepare me for pro. There are not many people at our weight class to fight and if I was to continue at amateur level I wouldn't be getting any challenging fights so it makes sense to turn pro.

What can those in attendance on Saturday expect from you?

I hope to put on a show and give the audience what they want, an exciting fight in all aspects!


Ashley Reece speaks to Kingdom MMA of pro debut "Every second I'm in that cage I'm going for the finish"

By Alex Dillon @ADillon__

Ashley Reece who currently trains out of Team Monkey MMA Academy in Manchester under Ozzy Haluk, has had a fantastic amateur career going 7-0 which included capturing the FCC amateur lightweight title and successfully defending it on numerous occasions.

This Saturday at FCC 12 at the Bolton Macron Stadium, he makes his much anticipated professional debut taking on Ian 'Willy' Williams (3-1). The man they call 'The Beast' has regularly touched base on how rough of a weight cut he has in the lead up to a fight but this time he says turning professional has made the weight cut easier for him "This weight cut has been the easiest one I've ever done , since I've turned professional I've taken things even more serious than I did my amateur career!" 

Last time out, he faced Anthony O'Connor in what was easily fight of the night at FCC 11. Reece struggled early on but battled through to secure a dramatic rear naked choke finish. The sluggish start could be attributed to the tough cut Reece explains "The last fight I was in a horrible situation even before the fight started . I was very sick before the fight with stomach acid problems and lost 2kg vomitting 2 hours before the fight . My coach  wanted to pull me out but I had put in all of that time and  effort to get to fight night , I just wanted to fight even if i wasn't 100% . Anthony o Connor was a quality opponent and he really put the pressure on me the whole fight!. 
It really does speak volumes of his character in the way he battled on and managed to win, especially given that amateur's aren't paid like pro's. It's a symbol that Reece has taken his fight career serious all the way through.  

Fast forward to this Saturday and the MMA Monkey fighter realises his opponent Ian Williams has the experience edge with four pro fights but that hasn't fazed him "He does look experienced and I have trained extremely hard for this fight. I hope that come fight night we will be able to both bring the best out of each other" Said Reece.

With regards to the experience that Williams has, some people may see this is a risky fight for the debutant as some UK MMA fighters who turn pro are often are matched with a relatively easy opponent the first time out but not 'The Beast'. This is something he says head coach Ozzy Haluk has installed in him and the rest of the team from day one " My coach has never been a fan of giving us false confidence. If I go and steamroll somebody that isn't a threat then I see it as a waste of time . Alot of the fighters who fight idiots or journeymen usually get found out sooner or later!" If that line doesn't give you an idea of Reece's attitude and character then nothing will.

When quizzed on the prospect of winning the promotions professional lightweight title (previously held by Brendan Loughnane but now vacant) Reece stays grounded and focused on Saturday by stating "I'm just looking to beat as many people as possible , if I have earned a title shot with my wins then ill take it with both hands but until then I am 100% focused on Ian Williams". Grounded indeed, but if Reece continues his war path through the professional ranks you can bet your house he will be capturing that belt in the not too distant future.   

"I want to have a better professional career than I did as an an amateur. I'm looking to win as many titles as possible and stay undefeated!" Adds Reece.

His message to everybody for Saturday is simple. "Look for me to be better than I ever have been and for every second I'm in that cage I'm going for the finish. I'm a massive fan of bonuses so ill be gunning for one of them too"

Reece is hungry for the contest at FCC 12 in what should be an enthralling battle and if he can reproduce his amazing amateur performances, there's every chance he becomes one of the top UK lightweights in the coming years.

Catch him against Ian Williams at FCC 12 this Saturday at the Bolton Macron Stadium. You would be crazy to miss this debut.

Ashley would like to thank the following in the lead up to this fight:

" Id like to thank my Head coach Ozzy Haluk who has been coaching me since the beginning, were still gaining momentum everyday. Id like to thank my girlfriend for putting up with me over the years , she has made alot of sacrifices so I can achieve my goals . Id like to thank my family for continually supporting me" 

I thank All of the guys I train with at team monkey : Khalid,pav,javonne,junior , Sheldon, Andreas,Sean, Connor ,Paul ,  Hassan , Sian, hez and all the boys at proper gym 

Id like to thank my striking coaches Liam gray , mark van kyte and Eric noi of Oldham boxing club for all the help , 

My strength and conditioning coaches Zoran and Sean for beasting me at 6am when others are sleeping .

finally all.of my sponsors, Guds and Sandra at longlegs , Steve at Almighty Fightwear , Martin at peaceful hooligan and the main man Chris Simon of monkey nutrition ! Hope I haven't forgot anyone and if I have then I'm sorry ....

I also want to dedicate this fight to my cousin amy who has turned extremely ill over the weekend and ill be going  go visit her as soon as my fight is over!"



By Alex Dillon @ADillon__

BAMMA, have announced details of a major long-term broadcasting deal with Viacom on their newly launched Spike UK channel.

This landmark deal will see all BAMMA events broadcast live on the SPIKE TV UK platform and Channel 5. The first BAMMA event to be broadcast under the new deal will be BAMMA 20 live from the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Saturday April 25th.

MMA has gained a significant following in the UK and across the world, with the popularity growing at an enormous rate. The sport fuses influences from various combat sports and martial arts, comprising wrestling and striking disciplines which see the fighters battle both on the ground and whilst standing.

Regarding the deal, Marie-Claire Dunlop from Spike had the following to say: "For the launch of Spike in the UK, we are delighted to have BAMMA on board as part of our ‘Fight Night’ sports offering. Featuring the very best of British and going out live on Saturday nights, Spike will be the UK’s exclusive home of this must see entertainment.”

BAMMA CEO David Green said: "We are delighted to confirm a long term partnership with the newly launched Spike UK channel. Spike are a powerhouse in the sport of MMA, and we believe that they are the perfect strategic partner to further grow the sport of MMA and the BAMMA brand. This deal will offer BAMMA an unrivalled reach to the domestic TV audience, and continues BAMMA's position as the most watched MMA events in the UK.”

Official BAMMA partner Lonsdale has been synonymous with British combat sports since its launch in 1959. A spokesperson for Lonsdale said, “Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world so as the suppliers of MMA clothing and equipment the association with BAMMA and Spike TV was a natural fit.”

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

BAMMA confirmed as new channel on ESPN Player

By Alex Dillon @ADillon__

Special three-event promotion for fight fans across Europe

-Exclusive pay-per-view content on ESPN’s live streaming service

ESPN Player will be providing fight fans across Europe live coverage of the BAMMA in a three event special promotion. As a new channel on ESPN’s live streaming service, BAMMA 19, BAMMA 20 and BAMMA 21 will be broadcasted live to subscribers across all of Europe (excluding the United Kingdom).

BAMMA is a form of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), thus follows the regulatory rules of US state athletic commissions – the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. In BAMMA, two fighters battle in an 8-sided cage using various techniques and disciplines including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Olympic wrestling and Thai boxing in an attempt to seal victory by stoppage (either knockout or submission), or by the judges’ decision if a fight lasts the distance.

BAMMA 19 will be broadcasted live on ESPN’s live streaming service on March, 28, 2015 from Winter Gardens, Blackpool, England. Two belts will be on the line – Jack McGann will take on Marc Diakiese for the Lonsdale British Lightweight Title and Andy De-Vent will try to overcome Conor Cooke for the Lonsdale Middleweight crown. Both McGann and Diakiese are in the fledgling stages of their MMA careers and are unbeaten going into their bout.  Andy "The Lions Paw" DeVent will face off against Irishman Conor "Da Crook" Cooke - who is looking to earn the first title of his career.

Charly Classen, Vice President, ESPN EMEA said:
  “Further to the agreement with EFC for upcoming events, BAMMA is a fantastic addition to ESPN Player. MMA is growing rapidly and we are delighted to provide a platform for even greater expansion - by bringing live and on-demand action of Britain’s biggest fighting franchise to European audiences.”

Ashley Bothwell, BAMMA MD, added:
“ESPN is renowned the world over in the sports broadcasting arena, and we are delighted that three BAMMA events will now be available across Europe on the ESPN Player.  This service offers our European fans an exclusive opportunity to watch all the intense BAMMA action live.”

ESPN Player’s coverage of the events includes all undercard fights (the events are usually around 4 hours in duration). Packages include a BAMMA Event Pass, a BAMMA Double Event Pass and a BAMMA Triple Event Pass, starting from €7.99. For all pricing and other information visit

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Undefeated Bantamweight Pannie Kianzad signs with Invicta Fighting Championships

By Alex Dillon @ADillon__

Undefeated bantamweight Pannie “Banzai” Kianzad (7-0-0) has signed with Invicta Fighting Championships. Sources have confirmed the new addition to Invicta’s roster.

The 23-year-old Swedish star recently captured the inaugural Cage Warriors Fighting Championship Women’s Bantamweight title this past November with an impressive 5-round unanimous decision victory over Eeva Siiskonen.

Since making her debut in 2012, Kianzad’s aggressive striking style as well as a dynamic personality have made her a rapidly growing star on the European/UK MMA scene in particular. Strong wrestling and powerful knee strikes have highlighted the undefeated Swede’s performances.

She now joins the expanding Invicta FC bantamweight division featuring Tonya Evinger, Irene Aldana, Miriam Nakamoto and Kelly McGill.

Kianzad currently trains out of Rumble Sports in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A date and opponent for Kianzad’s debut have not been set, but we could expect to see her in the Invicta FC cage as early as July.

VIDEO: - UFC 189 Aldo vs McGregor World Tour Embedded Vlog- Episode 3

By Alex Dillon @ADillon__

On Episode 3 of UFC 189 World Championship Tour Embedded, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and challenger Conor McGregor go Hollywood in Sin City. Their day starts with custom suits and talking toilets, then moves on to sound stages, body doubles and a live shoot on the Las Vegas Strip. UFC Embedded is an all-access, behind-the-scenes video blog following the stars of July's UFC 189 on their World Championship Tour. Tickets for UFC 189 are on sale Friday, March 27 at 10 am PT at

UFC Fight Night 62 Maia vs LaFlare Review

by Ash Cooper @LUFCCooper

Despite all the injuries and short notice matchups, UFC Fight Night 62 was a good, entertaining event. It was a night for finishes, with nine of the twelve bouts avoiding the judges scorecards. It was also a good night for the Brazilian fans, with the majority of local fighters winning, and terrific BJJ skills were showcased in seven submission victories.

In the main event, grappler Demian Maia ended Ryan LaFlare's 11 fight unbeaten record, in a one sided tie. Maia was able to take LaFlare down with ease, and scored a takedown in every round. Despite being much more decorated on the ground, Laflare was able to frustrate Maia, and defended well off his back.

Maia was able to control the fight on the ground for all five rounds, but never looked like finishing the fight despite having many opportunities to submit LaFlare. Maia mounted LaFlare several times during the fight, and had a tight arm triangle locked in towards the end of the fourth round. LeFlare was able to escape though and scrambled well to get back to his feet. More dominant than impressive, Maia was able to dominate the fight from start to end and despite tiring in the final round, never took any damage. All five of LeFlare’s UFC fights have now gone to a decision.

In the co-main event of the evening Erick Silva was able earn another first round stoppage victory, by tapping veteran Josh Koscheck with a nasty guillotine choke. This marked the first time Silva was able to win two fights in a row in his UFC career. After dropping Koscheck early with a left hook, Silva was aggressive right from the start and was able to lock a tight guillotine choke in against the cage, forcing Koscheck to tap.

It’s now five losses in a row for former title challenger Koscheck, who will speak to Dana White about his future in the UFC. Koscheck started the fight aggressively and was able to land a few nice shots against the cage, Silva was too fast for Koscheck though and was able to tag him often. Koscheck has now been stopped in his last four fights, three of them in the first round.

Leonardo Santos extended his unbeaten run to nine fights by submitting Tony Martin in the second round. Santos was far superior on the ground, and was able to take Martins back right at the beginning of the second round. Santos was patient with the choke, and despite Martin defending well at the beginning he was left with no option but to tap.

Amanda Nunes made it three straight first round finishes by stopping Shayna Baszler. Nunes hurt Baszler early with a kick to the body, and continued to punish her with brutal kicks. Baszler was sent to the canvas by a powerful leg kick, and Nunes jumped all over her finishing the fight with a barrage of hammer fists.

Blackzillians star Gilbert Burns was able to snatch victory with 40 seconds of the fight remaining. Alex Oliviera seemed to be having the perfect UFC debut, winning the first two rounds with ease, out-striking Burns and causing his left eye to swell badly. Burns needing a stoppage to win the fight, took Oliviera down early in the final round. Burns was trying desperately to lock in an omoplata, Oliviera escaped the attempt but was unable to stop Burns transitioning from one attempt to another. Burns was finally able to lock in an armbar after a tight triangle attempt. Burns showcased terrific BJJ skills and a good chin as he ate plenty of uppercuts in the first two rounds. Alex Oliviera was submitted for the first time in his career.

In the first fight of the main card, Pepey was able to earn a performance of the night bonus, by submitting Andre Fili in the first round. Pepey used a flying triangle attempt to set up his submission, and despite Fili’s best efforts to wriggle free Pepey was able to finish the submission. Pepey pushed the pace from the beginning of the fight, and was very patient with his triangle to finish the fight.  Fili has now been submitted twice in his UFC career.