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Irelands First Sanctioned ISKA MMA event

In recent years mixed martial arts has taken root in Ireland, with clubs popping up all over the country making it easily accessible for newcomers to take up the discipline. With so much interest and promising talent in the country it was only a matter of time before a fully sanctioned official event was organized to pit these fighters against each other under a world recognized governing body of the highly respected ISKA, the event being Clan Wars.

Clan Wars took place on Saturday August 8th 2009 at the Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown, when Ireland seen its first fully sanctioned MMA event under the quality governance of the world’s most prestigious martial arts body the ISKA. Getting the ISKA on board was a priority for the organizers who want to promote Clan Wars as a professional, safely governed event and shake off any previous MMA stereotypes that were tagged by people who did not fully understand the safety and quality measures that are taken or the training and effort put in by the fighters.

It has been stated by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in a published report of over 1270 fights exposures in the period March 2002 to September 2007 that “Injury rates in regulated professional Mixed Martial Arts competition are similar to other combat sports; overall risk of critical sports related injury appear low” The emphasis must therefore remain on the word regulated. At all times control and supervision in accordance with the rules must be adhered to in order to maintain this fact.

Clan Wars aim is to help build MMA’s future in Ireland to show-case Irish talent and also to ensure quality events that will show that Ireland is catching up quickly with the rest of the world with shows that everyone can enjoy.

I spoke to Paul Mc Laughlin (One of Clan Wars Promoters and IFS.NI coaches)
“MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world and with help from a quality sanctioning body such as the ISKA will only help promote the sport in a positive light, provide high quality shows with the tightest regulations and strict medical health and safety policies. We have 3 doctors at cage-side along with 5 paramedics who are fully equipped with the latest medical equipment ensuring an extremely safe event for all the participants. One thing we HAVE to ensure is that the safety of participants is paramount and this aspect is our number one priority.”

This aspect of the event was exceedingly well planned with full coverage of risk assessments, Health and Safety Policies, Insurance cover and Pre/Post fights health checks. It showed an extremely high safety benchmark.

For a newly staged show I was impressed with the professionalism and attention to detail that the organizers had shown. From the strobe lighting effects, to seductive ring-girls, to the bellowing walk-in music the tone of the night was set as in-your-face sports entertainment at its best and it certainly carried it out. But glitz and glamour aside, this night would have been meaningless without the fighters. 

With nine local clubs showcasing their best talent at Clan Wars it was exciting to see promising, well-trained professional athletes get in the cage and put everything they had learned in the long gruelling months spent in training into action.
With 14 fights in total over the course of the night ranging from D class to C class, the variety of different disciplines was a credit to Irish martial arts. The fights themselves where very well matched as a lot of them went to the judges’ decision, which is rare for MMA events of this size.

The fight of the night was the battle between James Gallagher from Revolution BJJ at Queens Uni and Andy Young from Frames Tia Jutsu. This was a classic striker versus grappler fight which was a war to the end with both fighters giving it their all. The fight went to the judges and James Gallagher was declared the victor. This would be an excellent rematch to see from what promises to be two great prospects for Irish MMA.

Submission of the night went to Joe Fry from Israeli Fighting Systems Northern Ireland with a lightning fast takedown and arm bar in 8 seconds against another of Irelands great up and coming fighters Andrew Falconer representing Juku Ryu Ju Jitsu in Larne. Well done to Joe for an impressive display of speed and technique. The crowd was obviously impressed as they erupted with massive applause and cheers for young Joe.

I have been to similar boxing and martial arts events in the past and I must say the quality of Clan Wars 2 totally went beyond any of my expectations regarding professionalism, quality, entertainment and regards for the safety of its competitors. It was excellently run and will definitely promote MMA in a more positive light in Ireland.

I can not wait for Clan Wars 3 in Feb 2010 which will be held at a much larger event I am told and see the first fully sanctioned Pro fights with fighters competing from all over Ireland and England; hype for this has already begun with a large crowd expected from all over Ireland after the success of Clan Wars 2.

Reported by Marc Turbitt, Irish Daily Mirror.

10 August 2009

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