From Cage Fighting to MMA: Ashleigh Grimshaw Documentary (Part 1)

From Cage Fighting to MMA: Ashleigh Grimshaw Documentary (Part 1) Ashleigh Grimshaw is a British Mixed Martial Artist & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Black Belt signed to Bellator MMA. Fighting out of Team Titan, Grimshaw’s MMA career spans across two decades from being actively involved in the old skool Cage Fighting & Vale Tudo days in London, to a multi-billion dollar industry around the world.

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Ashleigh Grimshaw has shared a large part of his MMA journey with UFC veteran & close friend, Brad Pickett; from when the two of them started training together when there were only two MMA gyms in London. The two friends are still very close, working and training together in helping the current and future generations of British MMA fighters establish themselves such as UFC fighter, Nathanial Wood and many more.

This video is Part 1 of The Ashleigh Grimshaw MMA Documentary series.

CREDITS:

Edited, filmed & interviewed by, Anoop Hothi – Instagram @anoophothi

Find Ashleigh Grimshaw on Instagram @whitewolfmma

Featuring/special thanks to: Tim Izli, Jude Samuel, Nathaniel Wood, Brad Pickett, Urban Kings Gym & Titan Fighter Gym.

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“The Best Lightweight” in European MMA: Terry Brazier

“The Best Lightweight” in European MMA: Terry BrazierBAMMA two-weight world champion, Terry Brazier prepares for his Bellator MMA debut against Chris Bungard at Bellator Europe 1 on February 9, 2019 in this mini-documentary video filmed at, NFM Windsor on Boxing Day.

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Terry Brazier (10-1) won the BAMMA welterweight and lightweight world championships by defeating Alex Lohore and Rhys McKee, respectively, in 2018 before signing for Bellator MMA.

Having made British MMA history in a relatively short professional MMA career over the last three years, Brazier who, previously served in the British Army, has set himself some serious goals for 2019 and beyond at Bellator, including: winning his Bellator debut before intending to beat former UFC champion, Benson Henderson in America and then becoming the new Bellator lightweight champion by defeating the current champion, Michael Chandler.

However, first and foremost, Brazier has to defeat Scottish MMA fighter, Chris Bungard at Bellator Europe 1 and in this video, we see Terry Brazier training and sparring with his his team-mates at NFM Windsor, before flying out to Phuket, Thailand for the remainder of his fight camp for his Bellator MMA debut.

Credits:

Edited, filmed & interviewed by, Anoop Hothi – Instagram @anoophothi
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Find Terry Brazier on Instagram @terrybrazier
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Additional footage courtesy of, BAMMA.

Dan Hardy: How Full Reptile Collective is Linked With UFC Return and Supporting ‘Grassroots MMA’

UFC veteran, Dan Hardy, elaborates on how the Full Reptile Collective is linked to his eventual UFC return and is focused on supporting ‘Grassroots MMA’ in the UK. Speaking at Victory Fights 2, Hardy also explains why Adam Amarasinghe who, will be making his Cage Warriors 95 London debut, is a “special athlete”, after his KO win over Andrew Mendes at Victory Fight 2 and much more.

Dan Hardy is launching the Full Reptile Collective in-partnership with former (The Ultimate Fighter) TUF contestant and British MMA fighter turned head coach at NFM Windsor, Dean Amasinger and strength coach, Oli Richardson. The aim of Full Reptile Collective is to support British MMA and other combat sports by giving the fighters exactly the support structure that they need but currently lacking within the UK.

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Dean Amasinger on Dan Hardy Partnership, Reacts to Darren Till and Yoel Romero Missing Weight

NFM Windsor heach coach, Dean Amasinger on his younger brother, Adam Amarasinghe’s KO win over Andrew Mendes at Victory Fights 2 and his partnership with Dan Hardy: Full Reptile Collective; Amasinger also reacts to Darren Till and Yoel Romero missing weight in the UFC very recently.

With BAMMA 36 London fast approaching, Dean Amasinger also talks about Terry Brazier vs Rhys McKee which, headlines the event in a clash of champions for the BAMMA world lightweight championship and more.

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Listen/download the podcast – The K1Anoop Show – on iTunes and Overcast.

Kenny Moyston Recaps Victory Fights 2, Sparring Michael Bisping and Brighton has a problem with MMA

Kenny Moyston and his partner Lily-May Gilbanks recap their second MMA event in Brighton last night, Victory Fights 2 which, was headlined by an emphatic KO victory by Adam Amarasinghe over Andre Mendes; and talks about sparring former UFC champion, Michael Bisping and the UFC veteran’s growing influence today. As well as the problems they encountered hosting MMA events in Brighton and much more.

Moyston is a former professional fighter (kickboxing and Muay Thai) now MMA striking coach to many MMA fighters including, Oli Thompson and BAMMA world champion, Terry Brazier.

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Rico Verhoeven vs Phil de Fries: “Can You Imagine That? Bloody Good Fight!”

K1ANOOP argues Rico Verhoeven vs KSW world heavyweight champion, Phil de Fries, should of headlined GLORY 54 Birmingham. After all, “can you imagine” the scale of British media attention “that” would’ve gained for such a “bloody good fight” compared to, the Rico Verhoeven vs Mladen Brestovac rematch?

Phil de Fries was recently crowned the KSW world heavyweight champion but the British MMA fighter has a huge fanbase especially in the north-east of England and has proved his technical proficiency with his MMA striking skills in past fights.

This clip is taken from a recent episode of, The K1ANOOP Show which, is a podcast about all things happening in Kickboxing and MMA; and provides an interesting perspective on niche combat sports from a UK perspective and much more.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest in Kickboxing and Muay Thai, plus, exclusive interviews by subscribing to the K1ANOOP YouTube channel and “like” K1ANOOP on Facebook too.

Listen/download the podcast – The K1Anoop Show – on iTunes and Overcast.

What British MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing Needs

What exactly does British MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing need so much more of or to do, in order to rapidly grow from being niche combat sports and establish themselves as mainstream sports?

With the rise of the UFC, Bellator and GLORY Kickboxing growing their presence in the UK with future plans for even more British MMA and Kickboxing events; and even gaining mainstream media attention from the BBC, BT Sport, Daily Star and TalkSports, only the UFC is really leading the way with increasing popularity with the general public.

So what exactly is holding back not only the likes of Bellator, BAMMA, Cage Warriors, GLORY and many of the other combat sports promotions here in the UK? Why aren’t more British fighters gaining much more recognition with the general public compared to UFC sensation Darren Till? And, why are Muay Thai and Kickboxing struggling compared to MMA?

Sports journalist, Andreas Georgiou and Anoop Hothi explored this and much more on The K1Anoop Show (podcast) recently.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest in Kickboxing and Muay Thai, plus, exclusive interviews by subscribing to the K1ANOOP YouTube channel and “like” K1ANOOP on Facebook too.

Listen/download the podcast – The K1Anoop Show – on iTunes and Overcast, every Tuesday.

Why Bellator 200 “Has Come Under Fire” in the UK

Bellator 200 London “has come under fire” in the UK for many reasons and not just because the fight card started to fall apart in fight week due to well reported injuries/pull-outs; and is now headlined by, Rafael Carvalho vs Gegard Mousasi. You’d think with the second biggest MMA promotion in the world returning to London would be delivering a much anticipated and huge event.

However, when compared to UFC Liverpool and reflecting on the the wider scale of operations for both MMA and Kickboxing promotions, both globally and especially here in the UK, there are some deeper issues influencing matters.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest in Kickboxing and Muay Thai, plus, exclusive interviews by subscribing to the K1ANOOP YouTube channel and “like” K1ANOOP on Facebook too.

Listen/download the podcast – The K1Anoop Show – on iTunes/Apple Podcasts and Overcast, every Tuesday.

Aaron Chalmers vs. Ash Griffiths | Bellator 200 preview

Aaron Chalmers vs. Ash Griffiths features on Bellator 200 London on May 25 which, Andreas Georgiou and K1ANOOP preview on this video as Chalmers MMA career hits new heights so rapidly. The Geordie Shore reality star, Aaron Chalmers, has won his first three professional MMA fights in a row, fighting previously for BAMMA but now steps-up to the world stage against, Ash Griffiths who’s fight record consists of, four wins but six losses from his previous fights.

Could Ash Griffiths derail Aaron Chalmers’ Bellator future and scupper a potential showdown for the Geordie with Kevin “Babyslice” Ferguson? Or, will Chalmers continue his winning streak and surprise the British MMA community and general public?

Keep up-to-date with all the latest in Kickboxing and Muay Thai, plus, exclusive interviews by subscribing to the K1ANOOP YouTube channel and “like” K1ANOOP on Facebook too.

Listen/download the podcast – The K1Anoop Show – on iTunes and Overcast, every Tuesday.

Joe Long: Bellator and Scott Coker “didn’t fly straight with the UK market”

Joe Long has had an interesting and influential role in the growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the UK, being at the epicentre of numerous combat sports events, including both the UFC and Bellator MMA’s presence on British soil. Long is one of two co-owners of sports management and marketing agency, Fighters Inc which, he co-founded with former world Karate champion, Paul AldersonThe two friends (and training partners) went into business together after Joe was forced to retire from competing (aged 22) in international Karate due to a serious knee injury; and would go on to manage the early professional boxing career of British heavyweight boxer, Dillian Whytepromote the UK’s first ‘hybrid’ combat sports event; and much more over the last 21 years.


With the UFC returning to London on March 17, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 127, K1ANOOP interviewed Joe Long for his perspective on the development and current state of niche combat sports (especially MMA) in the UK. Back in July 2002 when the promotion initially arrived for UFC 38: Brawl at the Hall, it was the first time that the UFC had hosted an event outside of the USA which, would undoubtedly impact the strong growth of MMA in the UK. A healthy volume of British fighters has since emerged on the world stage including: former UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping and former Bellator light-heavyweight champion, Liam McGearyThe evolution of British based MMA promotions, most notably: BAMMA and Cage Warriors, has also been impressive to witness; and provides British MMA athletes with more opportunities of making a viable sporting career too.

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One more time?

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The Joe Long interview took place at The Troxy in East London which, had survived ‘The Blitz’ during World War 2 and was recognised by English Heritage as being a Grade 2 listed building in 1991. The Art Deco designed venue which, has been entertaining Londoners since the 1930s, was once England’s largest cinema and in recent decades, has been hosting a variety of combat sports events too. Spending an hour and a half with Joe towards the end of February and having a candid conversation with him about his vast experiences and plentiful stories resulted in a YouTube mini documentary interview (playlist) series with Joe Long; sharing his stories from the last 21 years including: the UFC, Bellator, GLORY Kickboxing and so much more from the world of Kickboxing, Karate and MMA.

In this first instalment of articles derived from the Joe Long mini documentary interview, we discuss his relationship with Bellator and their CEO Scott Coker which, initially seemed to be heading in a very positive direction for both parties (but would badly disintegrate). As well as his opinion on how and why Bellator have not been anywhere near as successful in the UK compared to their closest/biggest rivals, the UFC.

Joe Long says Bellator have “diluted the brand” via BAMMA partnership

In 2014 and then 2016, GLORY Kickboxing were supposed to have returned to the UK and Fighters Inc were ready to facilitate GLORY’s return as they had done for GLORY 5 London, only for both of these proposed return-events falling through in the final stages, according to Long. Following the first and very costly mishap for Fighters Inc with GLORY, Long and Alderson had been in-talks with other global promotions as a precaution and when GLORY again didn’t complete, Bellator MMA would take the date and The O2 Arena via Fighters Inc instead, resulting in Bellator 158.


“Scott Coker came over here, see the arena. Fell in love with the arena and said that they wanted to do the show. They’ll either run it as their own show or they’re gonna sub-license the promotion out. Either way they wanted the date.”

“So we was running a lot of shows with the The O2. We literally booked the whole of The O2. We couldn’t sub-licence it because to would’ve been too much money for us to sub-licence it. Another company sub-licenced it and they run the Bellator show as part of the SENI weekend. We were supposed to do a hell of a lot that never happened through no fault of our own.”


“However, we were responsible for bringing that show to the UK, whether it was sub-licence or not, we was the ones that opened the door and got them in-front of the UK audience and the arena and secured them the arena. So that was the Bellator story and then; I’ve got to say, really let down by Scott Coker, really let down. Talking about Dillian Whyte – a bit of a downtime in my career – same with Scott Coker.”

“Everyone talks so highly of Scott and he is without doubt very professional. However, he didn’t – as far as I’m concerned – didn’t fly straight with the UK market.”

“The last show that they did in London, Fighters Inc were supposed to be working on that on a full-time basis and it never come to fruition. We was told we had a deal and it never come to fruition; and when I say we had a deal, I got a phone call off Scott Coker on New Year’s Day that year; saying we’ve got a deal, we wanna work with you; then it just went quiet for so many months. Never heard from him.”


“It was really weird, it was almost like there was other people involved trying to again that mentality of block us out. Whether or not that happened, I don’t know. whether it was Scott’s own decision, I don’t know. Whether or not it was Viacom’s decision, I don’t know but we as Fighters Inc were promised a gig from Scott Coker, to do the promotion – same sort of thing as GLORY – for Bellator for the London show and that never come to fruition.”

“Scott knows we were disappointed with him. I’d say the same thing to you on camera as I’d say to Scott on the phone or to his face. We felt let down and that was a kick in the teeth, last year, year before – kick in the teeth.”

“Our PR person actually done the PR for them for the whole show but we didn’t get to do what we was told we were going to do, which was; execute different marketing, staffing etc etc. So the relationship with Bellator kind of went its own way. But then you know, Scott invited Paul [Alderson] and I to the show. Went and watched the show, great show, I enjoyed the show.”

“I think the brand is a great brand but I also think that they’ve made the wrong moves in the UK with Bellator. I think they’ve diluted the brand by what they’ve done with BAMMA, personally that’s what I think.”

“As far as I’m concerned, Bellator’s the second biggest MMA brand in the world. You should be coming over here doing what UFC done and that’s actually what excited us as a a company that someone else was coming to the UK; with a great promoter as I say he’s a great promoter, Scott. But they didn’t for us do what they said they’d do and we felt kinda let down by that.”

How Bellator could re-strategise their marketing in the UK and Ireland

For someone with 21 years experience in sports marketing to complain about the (lack of) communication skills at one of the biggest MMA promotions in the world which, just happens to be owned by a global media conglomerate in Viacom, is very alarming indeed. Usually, this kind of problem is something that one would stereotypically expect to find with an inexperienced small-scale promoter on a local/domestic scene, lacking resources.


If MMA is to continue developing as the fastest growing sport in the world then surely the leading MMA promotions who, are fortunate enough to be their own media companies (Viacom also own Spike TV which is Bellator’s broadcasting partner), should have much better lines of communication both internally and externally?

“BAMMATOR” – Bellator’s partnership with BAMMA in both the UK and Ireland, has so far involved three co-promotions from, February 2017 to March 2018 but unless Bellator were to takeover BAMMA is this really the best branding exercise Scott Coker can be executing in the UK let alone Europe?

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Nevertheless, in an interview with Peter Carroll, Bellator featherweight James Gallagher who, fights out of SBG Irelandmade some strong but fair points of view that correlate with some of what Joe Long had to say about Bellator’s branding and marketing strategy in Ireland and the UK:

“Bellator definitely has it in their power to become the biggest international promotion when it comes to the European market, but they need to drop BAMMA if they want to do that. They need to come over here with a proper Bellator card and f**k all the rest of the mixing promotion stuff. If they put on their own card they can really show people what they’re about. BAMMA’s involvement takes away from Bellator.”

After all, how many British MMA fans were entirely happy with the initial announcements about the UFC Fight Night 127 London fight card earlier this year?