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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Jimi Manuwa “Iooking at” UFC Fight Night Moscow, UK in Golden Period with “New Stars Like Darren Till”

UFC light-heavyweight, Jimi Manuwa declares: “I’m looking at September Moscow” and that “new stars like Darren Till” is one of the main reasons why the UK is in its ‘Golden Period’ of MMA; with British UFC star, Darren Till, having recently defeated, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at, UFC Liverpool.

The UFC had recently announced that they will be hosting their first event (UFC Fight Night Moscow) in Russia at the Olimpiyskiy Arena, Moscow on, September 15, 2018.

With it being reported as UFC Fight Night Moscow and not as a pay per view event, the UFC’s first event in Russia won’t (most probably) feature Russian MMA fighter and UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov but the addition of, Jimi Manuwa would add more interest for fight fans.

However, further announcements about the fight card are expected in due course and if Jimi Manuwa is set to fight on UFC Fight Night Moscow then who, do you feel Manuwa should be matched-up with?

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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.

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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.

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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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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?

BAMMA champion Terry Brazier on fighting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Alex Lohore

The stage is set tonight at Wembley arena for two former friends now foes in, Alex Lohore vs. Terry Brazier, headlining BAMMA 34 London in a much anticipated clash for Lohore’s world title. Terry Brazier is currently the BAMMA Lonsdale champion, winning his title against Walter Gahadza via first round submission at BAMMA 29; and emerging as one of UK MMA’s most prominent welterweights in recent years, with increasing popularity.

Lohore on the other hand, doesn’t seem to enjoy as much popularity on British soil especially for his recent Twitter feud with UFC veteran and British MMA legend, Brad Pickett. However, the impressive French fighter is on a 10 win fight streak with victories over a who’s who of UK and Irish MMA including: Richard Kiely, Nathan Jones, Dan Vinni and Colin Fletcher.

We conducted the interview with Terry Brazier after an evening training session in early January 2018 which, was a couple of days before he’d fly out to Phuket, Thailand for his six weeks fight camp in preparations for BAMMA 34 London; and his eventual ‘clash of champions’ with, Alex Lohore. What stood out most from both, witnessing his second MMA training session of the day and afterwards was: Brazier’s enthusiasm, resilient mindset and ambition – traits he has in common with other world champions I’ve interviewed in recent years – such as GLORY Kickboxing’s undisputed heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven.

Terry Brazier, we were saying how there’s some interesting history at the top of the UK MMA welterweight division at BAMMA. Yourself, Alex Lohore, Nathan Jones; the three of you were good friends once upon a time, even training buddies. But then things took a turn for the worst. Fill us in for especially those who aren’t quite in the know, what was the good history between yourself and Alex?

“Me and Alex, we’ve known each other probably going on four or five years. The guys at New Wave Academy, New Wave Academy is a great gym and we know the coaches there. They used to come down on a Saturday, which is our main sparring day, to train with us to get some good rounds in and yeah so that’s how I know them.

“Got some good coaches down there, Colin, Christian and Pierre. So I know the whole team that they’ve got down there. Me and Alex were friends and it went south once he signed for BAMMA.”

You were at BAMMA, he joined. You’re good buddies, training together; going on training holidays in Phuket. But why do you say it went south?

“So basically we were friends, we used to go support Alex, me and all my fans, when Alex didn’t have many fans in the beginning. He’s been out on nights out with me and my pals. He’d been to Dublin to come and support me in my fights and when I won the British title, I called out Nathan Jones, who was the other contender for the world title at the time and out of respect for Alex, he’s obviously my friend in the crowd watching, so I didn’t want to call him out out of respect.”


Credit: Photo by Marc Moggridge for BAMMA

“Called out Nathan and Alex took that to offense that his name didn’t get mentioned when all the lights and the cameras were on. So that’s why he took it, upon himself to really not mention my name in any of his post fight interviews. Although I’m the obvious contender for the world title, being the British champion.”

So out of respect, and friendship and camaraderie, you don’t call him out. He’s there as your guest in-effect. So you call out the most obvious rival at that moment in time, which is Nathan Jones, and you’re alleging that he got jealous because the limelight went on you two and away from him.

“Yeah, that’s it. Simple as that. It’s just childish. I’m a sportsman, Nathan’s a sportsman. Me and Nathan have trained together recently, but if it comes up that we gotta fight each other, we’ll fight each other. Because that’s what sportsmen do.”

“Unfortunately for Alex he takes things very personally. He’s very childish and he’s made it so he’s cutting relationships. So he’s burning bridges. Let’s just say when I beat him and he loses his winning record then he’s gonna have nothing going for him. I’m still gonna have all my friends, all my sportsmen around me that I train with, I haven’t upset anyone.”

Upsetting people, burning bridges; if we go back to when he fought Nathan Jones, there was a lot of allegations around homophobia, comments by Alex apparently?

“Oh it wasn’t apparent it’s on video. If you check on YouTube you can catch Alex saying Nathan Jones looks gay. I don’t know what gay looks like. It’d be nice for Alex to clear that up actually, if he could draw us a picture of what gay should look like. Be interesting. But that’s Alex for you. Very childish. Very, takes things to heart, takes things very personally. Each to their own. He’s not championship material. He’s not a champion. A champion should be a real sportsman.”

A role model?

“A role model to younger children; respect his opponents, respect everyone else in the division; and not call out two and O guys.”

Leading up to a fight, there’s a lot of noise around Alex Lohore as we found out when the fight got officially announced.

“Yeah, that he didn’t know about apparently.”

Yeah. Let’s clear this up. When did you receive the contract to fight Alex? Because I know, because BAMMA told me, that he handed in his contract, signed, the night of BAMMA 33 up in Newcastle. So when did you receive your contract and hand it in?

“About a month before that and he’s the BAMMA world champion currently. He can’t pick and choose his opponent. If you’re a world champion of an organization, you need to be willing to fight anyone in that division.”

“You can’t pick and choose, calling out a two and O guy, and then I’m the obvious contender for the world title being the British champion and he thinks that I’m not worthy or he stated that I’m not worthy enough to fight for the world title, although he called out a two and O guy. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”

Two and O guy is obviously Richard Kiely who he fought in Ireland not too long ago. You say he’s two and O,

“Two and one now.”

Two and one yeah, to be correct. Has experience as a kickboxer, but then it’s like, you fought a kickboxer not too long ago,

“Yeah, Niklas Stolze

Who is quite well rounded with his MMA game and had a lot more experience.

“Yeah a lot more experience. I think he was a lot more decorated as a K1 fighter. A lot more rounded as an MMA fighter and he had a better record than me. He was eight and one at the time. They were the people I fought to get to where I am. He’s at the top of the BAMMA tree as such, and he’s fighting people at the bottom or he wants to fight people at the bottom. He’s running scared from me. BAMMA basically made him sign that contract and told him he’s gotta fight me. So here we are.”

Have you got it on good authority he was told he’s got to fight you?

“I believe so. I believe so. Being a world champion you can’t pick and choose your opponents. Who else did he want to fight in that division? Or he didn’t, he was willing to leave the welterweight division to fight someone else and not fight me. Just says it all. He’s running scared. He’s trained with me. I used to beat him up in training, I used to get the better of him in training and I’ll annihilate him on March 9th, Wembley arena.”

Brad Pickett and Linton Vassell have both given their opinions about how Alex initially reacted to the announcement – to touch upon that they reinforced – You’re a champion, you fight whoever you’re told.

“Yeah, I’ll fight anyone in the welterweight division. I’m the British champion. I’ll fight anyone in the welterweight division because I believe in myself and I believe that I’m better than where I’m at right now. I believe I’m better than beating Alex and I’ll prove that within the next year. I’ll win it and I’ll defend it. A couple of times, gainst real opponents.”

It sounds to me like, when it comes to mental warfare between the two of you, you’re footing, your trenches are dug quite deep and well connected to get around him and get in his head because you know him so well from the past.

“I’m not really interested in that. I’m not really interested in getting in his head. My skills and by ability in the cage is enough to beat Alex. I don’t need to get in his head. He gets in his own head. He gets upset with himself.”

“That kid takes things so personally that he’s gonna wind himself up to the point of exhaustion. So I don’t have to do anything in terms of that. I’m just gonna train to be the best that I can be on the night and I’m gonna turn up and get the job done. Mental warfare towards Alex is unneeded in this fight I believe.”

When it comes to actual warfare, you know about that from first hand experience. For anyone doesn’t know, can you give a little snap of your military background for us?

“Yeah I was in the army for a number of years. Tours of Afghanistan. I was with Irish Guards Regiment and then moved on to Power Street Regiment. Worked on my tour and then on leaving the army come straight into MMA. I got asked to leave the army for having PTSD.”

Yeah that’s something I was saying to you before, what you and I have got in common is dealing with PTSD. When you left a handful of years ago in the army that would have been 2013?

“Yeah, about that yeah.”

Was getting into mixed martial arts is that way of dealing with the emotional turbulence?

“Not intentionally. I just walked into a gym in Windsor, met Dean Amasinger, fought in an interclub four days later and at that point Dean said what I’ve got, he can’t teach, so stick around. And I haven’t looked back since. Dean’s actually helped me personally. My other coach is Eddie Kone, Kenny Moyston, they’ve all helped me mentally and physically, get to where I am today and yeah it help with the PTSD massively. Nothing any of these fighters say or do phase me one bit from what I’ve had to deal with mentally do you know what I mean?”

It’s well reported, everyone’s seen it on the news. We’ve either grown up in the 90’s or revisited.

“It’s hard for anyone imagine how hard it is on people and their families. It’s not something you get used to. It’s something I’ve mocked myself personally. It’s probably Karma coming around and bit me in the arse a little bit how I’ve got it now. But I’ve mocked people in the past, you know, ‘man up’ and get my mini violin out and them sort of comments. But when you’re actually dealing with it, you realise how serious it is. Just because you can’t see it, it’s actually a life changing injury.”

The invisible injury.

“Yeah exactly.”

So it wasn’t planned it just happened randomly, getting into mixed martial arts, and a handful of years later yourself and Dean Amasinger are stronger than ever. Better than ever, things are great at MFM. Moved gyms and everything like that as well; and you are a BAMMA champion.

“We’re growing, we’re growing as a team.”

And you’ve got a clash of champions come March. But you said you’re going as a team. How has that team shaped up, do you reckon the last couple of years, to coincide with your emergence at the top of the domestic scene?

“I put everything every minute of every day into what I do. I wake up in the morning, I commute, if I’m not commuting I’m training. I commute to Eddie Kone’s. The way I see it, in England he’s probably the best Jiu Jitsu coach in MMA; Kenny Moyston’s the best striking coach for MMA; Dean’s the best MMA coach for MMA, do you know what I mean?”

So I’ve got the dream team of coaches. I’ve got to commute for it, don’t get me wrong, it’d be amazing to have them all under one roof. But such is life. It’s like today. I drove up to Spirit Dojo Legacy in Nottingham, trained with Paul Daley, one of Dean’s connections. I’m going out to Thailand on Friday to train with Eric Uresk, Phuket Top Team, another one of Dean’s connections.

So no matter where I go in the world, or where I go in the country, it all stems from my initial coaches and them putting me on to people and helping me grow. So as I’m getting better, my coaches are expanding, teams are expanding, I’m mixing it up with different teams, just adapting really.”

Yeah to go from Berkshire, Windsor from the M4 all the way to Nottingham then down to Brighton and then into East London, that’s a big, massive triangle Christmas tree in itself. You mentioned the commute there. How do you balance that with family, cause you’ve got kids now as well; and being in-partnership here NFM and anything else you’ve got going? How do you make this all a viable career? Because it’s a dream for everyone.

“The answer is I honestly don’t know how I fit so much into the day. Obviously my wife Amy, she’s amazing. If I’m training and we’ve got the kids, we’ve got four kids between us and a newborn son, which is from Amy, and they’re all supportive. Sometime the kids come and train.”

“The other week I couldn’t get a babysitter so Dean was holding my 8 month old baby whilst coaching me. You just make it work. We’re all family men, we’ve all got kids, and we’ve all got a dream and if you pull together you can make anything work. Team work makes the dream work as they say.”

For anyone, whatever age they are, whether it’s something to do with martial arts or in other fields in life and they feel that something’s holding them back, that taking that risk because they’ve got responsibilities, they’ve got a job that’s making ends meet, to pursue that dream, what would you say to them from your experiences?

“It’s an excuse. If you want to make anything work, you can make it work. Life’s too short to “if that, maybe”. A lot of people sit in the pub when they’re 60 year old saying “I’m gonna do that” or “I wish I’d done that.” Just do it. Everyone finds it hard. To be successful or doing anything you like’s not easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it. If you believe in it and you believe that you can make it successful and you’ve got a good family around you, good friends, then you can make it work.”

“I’m not the only person that does it. A lot of other people do it. I know UFC fighters that are still working. They work a nine to five and then train in the evenings. People don’t get the pay everyone thinks you get. I’m very, very lucky.”

“I’ve got some amazing sponsors that pay for all my training, my trips, my flights and all that. I am very lucky. But I’ve gone out there and got that. Or my wife has sent my sponsor packs out and she got my sponsors. You need to be proactive. People’s not gonna give it to you. They’re not gonna knock on your door and say here’s a sponsorship, go and train for six months. You’ve gotta go out there and get it.”

I remember an old interview of yours when you touched upon that. You said how you and your wife send out 100 media packs, and only one person got back to you.

“Yeah, they’re still sponsoring me today. They’ve just paid for all my flights to Thailand. All my accommodations, everything. So it pays.”

“So yeah I’ve got a few sponsors that are really good to me. A few sponsors that chop and change, but primarily it’s about just going out there and getting it, do you know what I mean? That’s important. People are not gonna knock on your door to support you. You need to ask them. You need to get out there and be proactive. That’s what I’m doing.”

Social media, where can everyone find and follow you?

“Terry Brazier on Facebook, I think Terry Brazier on Instagram and Twitter as well.”

Instagram’s your main thing isn’t it?

“Yeah Instagram and Facebook are my main things. I’m not really a tweeter but I’m sure I will be.”


How to watch BAMMA 34 on ITV4 & Unilad | Image via BAMMA

Linton Vassell warns Liam McGeary he’ll “choke him out again”, wants ‘King Mo’ rematch

Bellator light-heavyweights, Linton Vassell and Liam McGeary, have been fuelling a potential rematch between themselves on Twitter recently and Vassell spoke to K1ANOOP about returning to action as swiftly as possible at, Bellator 191 and BAMMA 33  in Newcastle; warning the former Bellator champion, “he’ll choke him out again” and that he wants a rematch with, ‘King Mo’ Muhammed Lawal  in 2018 too.

Linton Vassell vs. Liam McGeary rematch in London, March 2018?

“I wanna fight, I wanna get back in there and right this wrong from November. Liam tweeted me and said he wants that rematch. I’m more than welcome to have that rematch but there’s other guys out there as well. Obviously, Bellator whoever they got for me I’m gonna sign that contract.”

Last month, ‘The Swarm’ had lost by second round TKO to defending Bellator light-heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader at Bellator 186 and had been unbeaten for, two years and two months prior-to that defeat; including, a third round submission of Liam McGeary at Bellator 179 in London which, handed the former champion his second career defeat.


Bellator 186: Ryan Bader vs. Linton Vassell | Image via Bellator MMA on Twitter

Vassell’s “shortlist” includes Gegard Mousasi & Phil Davis to kick-start 2018

“There’s a shortlist but a lot of them are taken-up but there’s still names like Mousasi, Phil Davis, they’re not taken. Bellator have just gotta come up with a name that I want fight and take them out. These are the people I gotta fight then so be it. I wanna fight in that London show, March. I want that world title back, well not back, I want that world title!”

“Liam knows I want it. We’ve been tweeting back and forth. I said again, I’ll choke him out again, simple tingz. He thinks it won’t be so simple but it will happen.”

“I’m no joke, people do underestimate me and you know, I’m always the underdog. Yeah, I’ve lost a few fights. Just because you’ve lost a few fights it doesn’t mean you’re not where you should be or where I’m at.”


Liam McGeary def. Egidijus Valavicius at Bellator 122 | Image via Bellator MMA.

“I was the first person to beat him, not beat him, first person to choke him and finish him. Phil Davis fought him and laid on him for 25 minutes, you know what I mean? He laid on him for 25 minutes and couldn’t finish him. He came up against me and I was able to finish him.”

However, McGeary is currently recovering from hand surgery from breaking his thumb, after withdrawing from Bellator 185 against, Bubba McDaniel for was initially reported as “an undisclosed injury”.

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Unfinished business with ‘King Mo’ Lawal still lingers

Vassell’s previous loss was in September 2015 against, Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 142: Dynamite 1,  a joint MMA and kickboxing event with GLORY KickboxingDespite losing a two (not three) round, semi-final against Lawal via unanimous decision, Davis was unable to fight in the 4-man tournament final due to injury; and was replaced by, Francis Carmont instead of Linton under controversial circumstances which, ‘The Swarm’ is clearly not happy about.

“I’d love a rematch with Mo, somewhere down the line that will happen. I want that fight. Same as when I lost to Newton, even though I lost, straight back to the gym, had that rematch and I got that win. So that’s a fight that’s got to happen, for myself, we had a two round fight. That wasn’t enough, ended-up breaking his ribs, he wasn’t able to continue. Unfortunately, the commission said I wasn’t but I was but anyway that’s another story.”

“It’s a combat sport, these things need to happen so yeah a rematch against Liam. Obviously, he wants that rematch so that will happen, I’m up for that and definitely a rematch against Mo.”

UK MMA is growing in strength & Aaron Chalmers impresses ‘The Swarm’

Whilst enjoying the fights at BAMMA 33 after Bellator 191 was done and dusted, Geordie Shore reality TV star, now professional MMA fighter, Aaron Chalmers stood out for Vassell along with, Ryan Scope who, defeated UFC veteran, Mikael Lebout for the BAMMA lightweight championship via split decision.

“There’s some good fights. I can’t remember his name but the Geordie shore guy…Aaron Chalmers won in a great knockout. Ryan Scope won as well. It’s a good event. I missed the Bellator, I turned up late but yeah its good so far, you know, I’m enjoying myself.”

Later today, Aaron Chalmers will guest on, The MMA Hour with Aerial Helwani along with fellow Britsh fighters: Darren Till, Stevie Ray and Pietro Menga, a clear sign that UK MMA has established itself now as a real force to reckon with on the global stage – something that Vassell reinforced too.

“When I was here fighting in the UK, I felt like it was slowly going up but I feel like us boys fighting over States and all over the world are bringing names; brining the spotlight onto us.”

“They had the ‘British Invasion’ Bellator did, UK won. They had me, Page, Daley and Cheick Kongo, all the top boys fighting, we won. Obviously Liam was on there as well.”


Paul Daley, Image via Bellator MMA

K1ANOOP will report again in due course as the situation develops further.

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Featured Image: Original images via Bellator MMA.

BAMMA 33 video: Aaron Chalmers calls out Kevin ‘Baby Slice’ Ferguson for 2018 after first round TKO win

Aaron Chalmers explains calling-out, Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr, for a mega fight in 2018, after an emphatic first round TKO win over, Karl Donaldson at BAMMA 33 in Newcastle; and, is “very confident with how quick” he’s “gaining experience in the gym”. The Geordie Shore star now has three wins out of three fights so far on his professional MMA record & believes a potential fight with, ‘Baby Slice’ is viable on a joint Bellator-BAMMA event in 2018.

Watch more BAMMA 33 interviews on YouTube.

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UCMMA 50: Mike Neun on retirement fight against Andy Cunningham

Mike Neun vs Andy Cunningham will feature as the co-main event for UCMMA 50 in London for the UK1 (kickboxing) heavyweight title on February 4, 2017. The title fight will be a rematch between the two heavyweights who, had previously fought each other last year, with Cunningham stopping Neun in their previous encounter. Neun explains why this rematch will be his retirement fight and shares some deeper thoughts and opinions on the changing landscape of MMA and much more.


UCMMA 50: Neun vs. Cunningham

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