Meet Judy Fitzgerald – The BAMMA BELLE who packs quite the punch

Have you ever wondered where the UFC , Bellator and BAMMA source the beautiful women who work the ring ? Is it a full-time gig ? At what stage of an event do they get called in ? These are the things that keep me up at night folks so i thought i’d go investigate […]

Have you ever wondered where the UFC , Bellator and BAMMA source the beautiful women who work the ring ? Is it a full-time gig ? At what stage of an event do they get called in ?

These are the things that keep me up at night folks so i thought i’d go investigate and was lucky enough to find Judy Fitzgerald BAMMA 26 Ring girl who I am sure will also fill our screens and the 3 Arena during the July 7 BAMMA 30 event.

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A Short Bio of Judy’s modelling career is called for at this point. Her career was kick started when she won the Miss Bikini Ireland contest in 2014. This brought her to prominence in newspapers, magazines, brand photo calls and modelling work has flowed ever since. She is currently signed with Assets modelling agency.

This would keep a mere mortal busy enough but Judy is also a qualified nurse and still works in this area part-time. To our overseas friends to get into a degree nursing course in Ireland requires a high level of academic achievement due to the demand outstripping the supply. So with this Limerick lady it is a case of brains meeting beauty.

At the moment Judy is commuting between her home in Limerick on the west coast and her modelling work in Dublin on the east coast but she is hoping shortly to move permanently to Dublin.

She tells a fascinating tale of what goes on behind the scene’s at a big event like BAMMA 26 and it certainly involves more than parading around the ring at the interval between rounds

First up she is on call for all events in the lead up to the actual fight itself. In this case that could involve the Fight Announcement, Weigh-ins or pre-fight press conferences.

BAMMA being one of the bigger MMA promotions in the world have huge social media output in the run up to fight’s and the Ring girls would also be involved in promoting the event through their own social media channels when there might be Interviews released or social media content released promoting the event.

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From talking to Judy she loves this type of event work and has recently hosted at Conor Mcgregor Events thrown by BAMMA before his Title fight against Eddie Alvarez in the Red Cow and Green Isle Hotels. She loves the buzz around MMA and is a huge Conor Mcgregor fan herself.

Her work with BAMMA has seen her appear on TV as a BAMMA BELLE (Spike TV, MMA TV and Channel 5 not mention streaming on numerous YouTube channels.

Photography by Thomas Moore and Ricardo Guglieminotti

Biography:

Judy Fitzgerald is an Irish model who became nationally recognised after winning the Miss Bikini Ireland model search. She went on to represent Ireland in the world finals of Miss Swimsuit International, in Cancun, which is renowned for being the world’s largest bikini model search. She competed against contestants from 80 other countries. Judy is a high profile model who has worked with the world’s leading photographers and featured in many national and international publications. She has attended many many high profile events including New York Fashion Week, the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix and Wimbledon to name but a few. Judy is also an actress who has worked on a variety of TV ventures, TV shows and commercials. She has also worked as a judge and host at various beauty pageants and social events. She is part of one of the biggest MMA companies in the world BAMMA, appearing on national television as a BAMMA Belle.

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Meet Judy Fitzgerald – The BAMMA BELLE who packs quite the punch

Have you ever wondered where the UFC , Bellator and BAMMA source the beautiful women who work the ring ? Is it a full-time gig ? At what stage of an event do they get called in ?

These are the things that keep me up at night folks so i thought i’d go investigate and was lucky enough to find Judy Fitzgerald BAMMA 26 Ring girl who I am sure will also fill our screens and the 3 Arena during the July 7 BAMMA 30 event.

17671198_10209501413993784_1612460790_n

A Short Bio of Judy’s modelling career is called for at this point. Her career was kick started when she won the Miss Bikini Ireland contest in 2014. This brought her to prominence in newspapers, magazines, brand photo calls and modelling work has flowed ever since. She is currently signed with Assets modelling agency.

This would keep a mere mortal busy enough but Judy is also a qualified nurse and still works in this area part-time. To our overseas friends to get into a degree nursing course in Ireland requires a high level of academic achievement due to the demand outstripping the supply. So with this Limerick lady it is a case of brains meeting beauty.

At the moment Judy is commuting between her home in Limerick on the west coast and her modelling work in Dublin on the east coast but she is hoping shortly to move permanently to Dublin.

She tells a fascinating tale of what goes on behind the scene’s at a big event like BAMMA 26 and it certainly involves more than parading around the ring at the interval between rounds

First up she is on call for all events in the lead up to the actual fight itself. In this case that could involve the Fight Announcement, Weigh-ins or pre-fight press conferences.

BAMMA being one of the bigger MMA promotions in the world have huge social media output in the run up to fight’s and the Ring girls would also be involved in promoting the event through their own social media channels when there might be Interviews released or social media content released promoting the event.

17760321_10209501403433520_1293938577_n

From talking to Judy she loves this type of event work and has recently hosted at Conor Mcgregor Events thrown by BAMMA before his Title fight against Eddie Alvarez in the Red Cow and Green Isle Hotels. She loves the buzz around MMA and is a huge Conor Mcgregor fan herself.

Her work with BAMMA has seen her appear on TV as a BAMMA BELLE (Spike TV, MMA TV and Channel 5 not mention streaming on numerous YouTube channels.

Photography by Thomas Moore and Ricardo Guglieminotti

Biography:

Judy Fitzgerald is an Irish model who became nationally recognised after winning the Miss Bikini Ireland model search. She went on to represent Ireland in the world finals of Miss Swimsuit International, in Cancun, which is renowned for being the world’s largest bikini model search. She competed against contestants from 80 other countries. Judy is a high profile model who has worked with the world’s leading photographers and featured in many national and international publications. She has attended many many high profile events including New York Fashion Week, the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix and Wimbledon to name but a few. Judy is also an actress who has worked on a variety of TV ventures, TV shows and commercials. She has also worked as a judge and host at various beauty pageants and social events. She is part of one of the biggest MMA companies in the world BAMMA, appearing on national television as a BAMMA Belle.

‘The Carlow Kid’ – Taking the Cross-Country route to MMA Glory

‘ I want on that BAMMA 30 card – Big Time’   – Andy ‘ The Carlow kid’ Murphy BAMMA Featherweight

One of the aims of this blog is to bring you the real and hopefully unseen side of MMA as it pertains to the aspiring professional fighter trying to climb those first few rungs of the ladder. To that end I spent a happy afternoon interviewing Irish featherweight Andy Murphy, who based out of the Team Ryano Gym Kilkenny ( + Dublin and originally Waterford)

The first thing that strikes you talking to him is the absolute dedication and commitment he puts into pursuing his career dream of fighting as an MMA professional. You’d have to be in love with the sport to keep up the punishing schedule he keeps. First up. He has a full – time job as Fitness Instructor and supervisor in the Institute of Technology Waterford Arena. So there’s at least 39 hours a week gone straight away. Though he still manages to juggle in training sessions twice a day during the week and makes the weekly Saturday jaunt to Dublin to hook up with his head coach Andy Ryan and team-mates at Team Ryano Gym in Dublin. Did i mention he’s married to Marina and together they have one year old son Nathan? . Yes Life is busy and demanding but thoroughly enjoyable for Andrew as he reaches for the stars.

Andy’s route into MMA is probably one of the most interesting that I’ve heard. Simply put up to the age of 21 Andy Murphy was a Middle- distance runner. Cross country, Steeplechase and even 1,500 metres – a talented one to boot. He’s represented Ireland at International level at cross-country and represented the Irish Universities internationally as well.

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However having had 4 knee operations by the age of 21 – he decided he just couldn’t make it to an elite level in Atheltics and I suspect Andy isn’t the type to try and muddle along in the middle of the pack. As you can imagine that left a big hole in the then 21 year old’s life and around this time Murphy basically happened upon MMA by chance.

‘ When I walked up those stairs to my first sessions i had no real ambition to fight’

As he was chatting about this time in his life i was reminded of a Leonardo Da Vinci quote which i think sits very well on Andy’s shoulders

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things “

And boy has Murphy ‘happened to MMA’ – things quickly changed after that first session and 1 year in his coach at the time asked him did he want to take an amateur fight. To say he jumped at the chance is an understatement. Incidentally that first ever amateur bout was in O’Loughlin Gaels GAA hall in front of some diehards and a few befuddled football fans no doubt – so to go from that to fighting on cards in packed arenas in Belfast and Dublin is quite an achievement

‘I’m very happy with the hand I’ve been dealt so far’

Today he is two fights into his pro Career with 1 loss on his debut and 1 win ( a first round stoppage of Stephen Kilifin at BAMMA 28). These were two big fight nights one being in the SSE Arena in Belfast and the other in the 3 Arena in Dublin with thousands in attendance – yet he seemed to take to the pressure of the professional ranks like a duck to water especially in that BAMMA 28 win, with many observers saying it was finish of the night.

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A lot of the fighters coming into Irish MMA, especially maybe 5-10 years ago came from an old school boxing background whereas Murphy is completely different. He had literally no background. However what could be seen as an obstacle he has set to his advantage by becoming dedicated to all aspects of mixed martial arts. He is comfortable fighting in all areas and see this as a decided advantage.

‘ I feel now that i am good in all area’s of the game and I really don’t give a shit what direction a fight goes’

His Jiu-Jitsu coach is Rory McCann and Murphy places strong emphasis on No-Gi Jiu-jitsu in his training to date. Murphy mentioned several times how important his team mate Myles Price has been in his career and made it clear that he thought Price himself has all the skills and attributes to be fighting in the UFC – as of this minute.

One of the things that set’s him apart is his Cardio – all those years running haven’t been wasted. I certainly don’t expect to ever see the sight of him gassing out in the middle of a second round

“You Better check your engine before you fight me” 

What is impressive to me about ‘The Carlow Kid’ is how quickly and how much he learned from that first professional defeat. He very quietly and quickly set about assembling the missing pieces.

He uses the services of Richard Shanahan as his sports psychologist and  Joe Walton now as his nutritionist. Why ? I think he didn’t feel happy with his preparation for the weight cut before his debut fight and as he said about the fight itself

‘ I wasn’t fearful but I was more hopeful of winning than actually executing it’

Needless to say no such problems arose in his 2nd professional bout.

Talk inevitably got around to the just announced BAMMA 30 Card for July 7 in the 3 Arena in Dublin.  I asked him if he had any preference for a featherweight match-up in terms of personality or style and he said

‘I don’t really care – at this level you’ll be fighting good guys anyway’

A quick scan of his social media reveals he is both popular and grounded – he has built up a big following who are eager and encouraging about his career so it’s easy to understand why there is a groundswell of interest in who he might be fighting at BAMMA 30. He’s fighting fit at the moment and ready for that next step in his career. And like his box-fit classes the audience is getting bigger all the time

Finally i asked Ireland’s answer to Frankie Edgar how would he like fans to think of him and he simply revealed

‘ Andy Murphy is fighting on that card I want to go see that’

Well put. Indeed so would I.

Meet James Gallagher – The Next Big Thing at Bellator 180

” If it was any other 20 year old i would probably hold him back” Coach John Kavanagh

John Kavanagh of SBG Gym and Conor Mcgregor fame isn’t given to hyperbole but with rising Bellator star James Gallagher it’s hard not to be impressed. As the old baseball scouts used to say ‘ He’s a kid you can dream on’.

If your an Irish MMA fan you’ll probably already know that James has been added to the big Bellator 180 card in Madison Square garden on Saturday June 24th 2017.  Bellator are hoping this will be their biggest ever event and the card is stacked. It show’s how highly Scott Coker and the organisation think of him that he’s been added at this early stage.

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Also, seasoned MMA fans will be familiar with Gallagher’s record as a professional – it’s 6-0 with 5 out 6 wins coming inside the distance via submission. When you consider that he is still only 20 years old it is quite phenomenal.

Not being funny but Conor Mcgregor was nowhere near this state of maturity and preparedness as a 20 year old. Not even fucking close. His performance in his last fight in Belfast on the Bellator 173 card was very impressive. Especially given the added pressure of performing in front of his hometown fans in a packed SSE Arena. He basically whooped Medvedovsky inside the 1st half of the first round. Take a look at his fight record record below and note how he turned professional as an 18 year old !!

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While his fight record is impressive we will add a note of caution as we tend to with any beast of a Grappler. What will happen when he meets a standout puncher with good grappling defence?

Well we won’t have to wait much longer to wait find out folks – as i think we’ll get a couple of these questions answered in Madison Square Garden on the 24th of June.

Chinzo Machido comes from a famed MMA family and will be by far the best striker that Gallagher will have come up against. Judging by the reaction on twitter and social media this is a fight that fans are excited about. While the main card here is stacked it is relying on the drawing power of Hall of Famer’s whose best days in all fairness are probably in the rear-view mirror. This fight gives Bellator 180 a great taste of the young talent in the organisation and is a great shop window to what will be hopefully a large and engaged American audience.

Gallagher is a good-looking kid and shares that Conor Mcgregor sense of style and swagger outside the Octagon (although polar opposites inside it) and he will be used heavily in the promotional side of things  and i have already seen plenty of Retweeted photos of himself and Scott Coker since the announcement. It’s a big next step for the 20 year old from Strabane but one i expect him to take comfortably in his stride

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Artem Lobov – A Russian Hammer forged in Ireland

‘ I’m also just glad i don’t have to be sparring with that motherfucker anymore’ – Artem on Owen Roddy

‘ I left Russia when i was 13. I learned to fight in Ireland’ – Artem Lobov

#UFCNashville is fast approaching and for UFC Featherweight Artem Lobov, it his one and only opportunity to steal the limelight and star in his very own main event with Cub Swanson. In the home of the Grand Ole Opry it’s time for Artem to bring the house down or exit stage left through the paupers exit. Unfortunately that can be the brutality of the UFC.

Artem Lobov fights out of the John Kavanagh – Straight Blast Gym – and he is one of the old schoolers of the Kavanagh regime. In fact , Kavanagh in late 2016 , said he has travelled more with Artem than any other fighter under his tutelege.

Inevitably any conversation about Artem involves talking about Conor Mcgregor. Artem has sparred more rounds with Conor than anyone on the planet. As the Russian Hammer put’s it himself

‘ I am training with the best guy on the planet on a daily basis’

artem Conor

More than that the two are very close. In fact in an interview last year John Kavanagh revealed that so brutal were the sparring sessions between the two that he had to put an end to them, much earlier in Mcgregor Training Camps for fear of injury or leaving his best stuff on the training mat.

One of the side effects of the massive explosion in Mixed Martial Arts in Ireland due to Mcgregor is that Straight Blast Gym has expanded beyond all recognition and has affiliates all around the country. This has led to Kavanagh expanding his team of trainers and to this end Artem is being coached , for this fight, by none other than Owen Roddy who would be one of the real pioneers in Irish MMA.

Artem is delighted with the set up and revealed as much in an interview with MAC Life productions. He considers Roddy that rare beast a former fighter with natural coaching ability and a talent for breaking down complex movements and sequences simply. The other side of it is

‘ I’m also just glad i don’t have to be sparring with that motherfucker anymore’ – Artem on Owen Roddy

Artem’s professional record is a mixed bag as you can see below. However he was guilty of taking fights everywhere and anywhere earlier in his career. He is currently on a 2 fight win streak in the UFC and this is most definitely his shot. He is Ranked 37 versus Cub Swanson’s 5. If he loses – a top 10 fight could be a long time coming around again.

Artem Fight Record

Due to the fact he and Cub are headlining this event it puts near the top of pay scale for the event as a whole – this means he has been able to plan to head out to Nashville a whole two weeks before the event to acclimatize and also he is in a position to bring 2 sparring partners with one of whom is the highly in demand Peter Queally.

Artem has spent a lot of his career in the Peter Queally sparring position – for Conor Mcgregor. On Saturday April 22nd 2017 we’ll find out , as he emerges from the shadows, into the Octagon,   if he can handle ‘The Ring Fire’ as well as his illustrious friend.

 

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The Insider’s case for Mackenzie Dern

 

“We’ve been checking her out. She’s a little bad ass,” – Dana White on Mackenzie Dern

I caught this little snippet Dana gave to reporters while frantically researching interviews and fight footage in the run up to #UFCLondon. I noted and filed it away under the heading ‘Investigate further’ when the dust settles on the #UFC fight week in London.

When Dana White comments publicly like this on an a relative unknown (unknown outside of BJJ circles at least) it got me thinking of Conor McGregor’s  start to UFC life 4 and a bit years ago. Mackenzie has a definite buzz around her as my research of the past couple of days has found out.

Yet the bare facts of her life as a purely MMA fighter are not exactly overwhelming, Mackenzie has a 3-0 record as a professional MMA fighter. Yes Folks that’s 3 …..not 13 or 30….3 professional fights. She has won all three fights one via submission and 2 via decision. Oh yeah AND in two of these three fights she has fought at a catch-weight due to difficulties making the specified weight.

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However here is where a little deep diving helps to understand the hype and why Dana dropped that quote at the beginning of this article. As a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner Mackenzie Dern is a fucking Thoroughbred Racehorse. If she was Royalty…we’re talking the British Royal family not some fucking queen of a tribe of muck savages. Simply put her Dad is Wellington ‘Megaton’ Dias and her Stepmom is Luciana Tavares. Dias is BJJ gold. Simple as that and he has been training her more or less from the age of 3. Rather than fumbling any further trying to explain this just take a look at her biography below and pay particular attention to the lineage.

Mackbio

On careful examination of her issues with weight cuts in her last two fights it should be noted from above she is comfortable at 125-130 lbs. However in her last fight she was trying to hit 115. Now you can take it as given this girl does not suffer form a work ethic problem or dietary one either probably – however at 5’3″ she probably rightly concludes that as a possible MMA and ultimately UFC fighter she’s going to need to make that 115 cut. Why? – Well simple ….you start going up to the next weight class your coming against taller girls with longer reaches and punching power. At this point i am not exactly sure as to the nature of this aspect of her game as i haven’t seen enough of it – but you can be sure that getting punched in the faced takes getting used of – and if it was me i’d want to be getting my striking game developed in that 115 StrawWeight division while at the same time having the rockstar grappling to fall back on.

Just a quick note on the social media / Media side of things. The girl is really attractive and has an Instagram following that currently stands at 376,000. Based on a quick review of her social media i’d say she is a sponsor’s wet dream. Conor Mcgregor came into the UFC as double world champion and so does Mackenzie Dern and for some reason, as the future unfolds,  i don’t think that comparisons between them will end there

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stats taken from the great BJJ Heroes Website