Bellator Dublin Press Conference Quotes
Dan McConnell and Arwen Sheridan attended Bellator’s press conference in Dublin today. Fighters in attendance were Leah McCourt, Richard Kiely, Michael Venom Page, Paul Redmond, Ryan Scope, Peter Queally and Kiefer Crosby.
Having gone into her fight with Hatice Ozyurt with a torn rotator cuff, McCourt is eager to showcase her skill set now that she is fully fit. She will be facing England’s Kerry Hughes.
Queally was forced to pull out of the Bellator London card earlier this year due to ongoing injury concerns. He too reported being 95% fit right now and fully expects to be in peak condition come fight night.
The face off between Kiely and MVP was highly anticipated and did not disappoint. There were terse exchanges throughout the conference and fireworks ensued as the fighters gave us a taste of what to expect on Friday 27th September. Whether this was well choreographed pantomime, or a genuine scuffle is anyone’s guess!
Last night, Benson Henderson, the former UFC lightweight champion announced he will also feature on the card against newcomer Myles Jury.
There was a further announcement today. On the back of Keifer Crosby’s controversial DQ in Oklahoma, he treated the media to the news that he will be facing Liverpool’s Laurence Fitzpatrick (6-2) in Dublin. BDK had been set to face Myles Price, but Price “bitched out.” Crosby ascertains that his fight against Mike Jackson should have been stopped before the illegal knee. He still boasts an “undefeated” record.
The card for Bellator 227 is already stacked and David Green hinted we can expect further announcements in the coming weeks.
Following the press conference, the guys caught up with Coach John Kavanagh. When asked how important a role he believes Bellator are playing in raising the profile of MMA in Ireland, Kavanagh was unequivocal.
“They are coming here twice a year. They are giving fighters, I hate to use the phrase, but a ‘living wage.’ Guys can fight two, three times a year and that’s all they have to do…Right now Bellator is putting money in fighters’ pockets, gyms’ pockets an supporting the ‘MMA ecosystem.’ They are vital.”
This will be Bellator’s second Dublin card in 2019. When asked how the September show will compare to its predecessor, Kavanagh left us in no doubt that it will be bigger and better.
“I think it’s actually going to blow it out of the water. I thought the February show had some highlights, but this just seems to be a highlight card…There’s unusual fights in there with MPV and Kiely and then you have Benson Henderson, former World Champion. There’s something for everybody I think.”
Kavanagh is well known for his “Win or Learn” philosophy. When asked how Crosby might apply this principle following his illegal knee in Bellator 224, he laughingly suggested perhaps “win or be disqualified,” should be the new mantra.
“It was a little bit of a novicey type mistake to make, because in the heat of the moment you do something, but Kiefer is no novice. He’s experienced. He is very experienced in MMA and very experienced in kickboxing before MMA. So, disappointing that he would get caught up in the moment like that, but we will forgive and forget and learn from it.”
There has been a lot of talk in the media this week about TKO’s new regulations in relation to weight cutting. We were eager to get Kavanagh’s take on this. We asked the question as to whether he believes more promotions should implement such measures, or if it is down to individuals and their coaches to manage cuts responsibly.
He admitted that although he would like to leave it to the athletes and their teams, that it doesn’t seem to work.
“I think there’s actually a pretty simple solution. In the UFC USADA make surprise visits to Conor and Brad Katona and all my UFC based fighters to test them for PEDs. Why not check their weight as well? Give them an allowance, you can be 10lbs over your weight, or whatever. Some fighters might be like ‘oh now I have to move up a few weight classes,’ but everybody does…When I first got into MMA, my first thought wasn’t, great now let’s learn how to cut loads of weight…But now it has become part of the game. Let’s remove that.”
We couldn’t have a conversation with Kavanagh about weight cutting without asking for his thoughts on Sinead Kavanagh failing to make weight the last time out.
“It was very disappointing; this is her second time missing weight. It’s not on. I am not proud of that at all and Sinead had a cauliflower ear by the time I was finished talking to her about that. It’s something that she’s got to get better at and take a year-round approach.”
We would like to thank Coach Kavanagh and all the fighters who took the time out to chat to us today. We are looking forward to what promises to be an incredible night of fights in September.
Photo Credit: Bellator