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The Fighting Irish: Neil Seery
As part of our MMA coverage JOE will be taking a look at some of the big names in
Irish MMA – kicking off with a fighter profile of Dubliner Neil Seery.

Name: Neil Seery
Club: Team Ryano, Baldoyle, Dublin
Fighting Weight: Bantamweight

Fighters are often judged on their won-lost records and while for the most part that’s OK,
sometimes the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Look at BJ Penn’s record – a lightweight
with 15 wins and seven losses. What the numbers won’t tell you is he lost once to a
heavyweight and to welterweights three times. He also won at middleweight twice.
Likewise, if you judged 31-year-old Irish MMA fighter Neil Seery solely on his 7-7 record it
would be equally unfair. The numbers won’t tell you he is one of Ireland’s most experienced
and successful MMA fighters on the domestic and international circuit.
Neil has fought in Ireland, the UK and Lithuania and shared fight cards with MMA veterans
like Tom Watson, Seth Petruzelli and Rich Clementi. All his wins have been finishes – TKO,
KO or submission and he has fought in front of crowds in excess of 5,000. But more
importantly, the numbers don’t show you that Seery has won two championship belts in
different weight classes.
Seery had over 10 years combat sports experience – in karate, boxing and kick-boxing – by
the time he made his pro MMA debut at 25. Having changed clubs a number of times it was
suggested a move across Dublin’s north side to Baldoyle to join up with Andy Ryan at Team
Ryano would help him realise his potential as a fighter.
       Seery fought in the Bushido Lithuania Heroes event in front of
       approximately 5,000 people – and secured an armbar victory in under 30
       seconds without taking any damage.
Andy Ryan, judo black belt, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt and Irish MMA pioneer has more
to offer than most MMA coaches in Ireland and Neil is quick to acknowledge the importance
of his chosen gym. “It’s everything,” says Seery. “It’s so important. I’d have never got this far
if I hadn’t teamed up with Andy.”
In exchange for good coaching and guidance, Seery brings a solid work ethic to the Team
Ryano gym. Anyone who spars, rolls or grapples with Neil knows they have to go full bore or
deal with the consequences for whatever drill they may be doing. Fight training starts in
earnest eight to 10 weeks out depending on prior fitness. He’ll train six days a week with
Thursdays off.
Each day is an hour swimming after work followed by two-and-a-half hours of boxing,
grappling, MMA fight drills, strength and conditioning work. As with other amateur athletes,
training runs alongside work and personal demands which in Seery’s case means “running a
warehouse from 6.30am till 2.30pm, paying a mortgage and looking after my partner, three
kids and two dogs".
The last 12 months have been difficult for the fighter – he’s had five fights cancelled for one
reason or another. "2010 has basically been one big training camp," he points out. Since his
pro debut in 2005, Neil fought three times in 2007 with his year ending in June when a bout
finished with him fighting two-and-a-half rounds with a blown cruciate knee ligament. Once
recovered, he took to the cage four times in 2008 and five times in 2009.
So far Seery’s May appearance at BAMMA 3, the promotion that rose out of the ashes of
Cage Rage, is his only fight this year. His bid to keep fighting against better fighters has
often meant having to look abroad for suitable bouts.
Seery’s record supports the claim that he looks to fight the
best available – he won his seventh fight for the UFR
(Ultimate Fighting Revolution) 61 kilogram Irish title by
TKO in the second round. This was followed up three fights
later by claiming the British 63 kilogram championship with
his second victory in the Extreme Brawl promotion in
London in September 2009. The title wins then spring-
boarded Neil into fights in the bigger promotions across
In November 2009 Seery fought in the Bushido Lithuania
Heroes event in front of approximately 5,000 people – and
secured an armbar victory in under 30 seconds without
taking any damage. He then fought on the Cage Wars
Nightmare card two weeks later in front of a similar sized
crowd at the Kings Hall in Belfast.
Despite dominating with ground and pound through the first
round and being clearly on top, Neil got caught in a knee-
bar to lose early in the second. Then came some enforced inactivity as fights fell off until a
hard fought decision loss at BAMMA 3 in May at the LG Arena, Birmingham, in front of a
crowd of over 5,000.
Up next for Seery is a 13 November battle against up-and-comer Damian Rooney in Belfast
on the Cage Contenders card. True to form, Neil has a challenging opponent. Rooney has
spent some time training at UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes’ H.I.T. Squad. Win, lose or draw
Neil, with the full support from his family, will continue training and fighting. He’s not
worried about Rooney’s record of 7-1, as we know the numbers don’t tell you everything.

Fergus Ryan

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