MMA Legends coming to Ireland Jan11

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					MMA Legends coming to Ireland
JOE caught up with MMA impresario John Ferguson to discuss the upcoming series of seminars with UFC Hall of
Famers Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.

It started as a rumour in early January that some big names from the international MMA scene were coming to
Ireland. “Yes I can confirm that Ferguson Sports Group have teamed up with NJM Promotions to bring UFC stars
including Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie to Ireland in 2011” John Ferguson told JOE over the weekend.

Ferguson, a successful promoter, manager of fighters and general MMA exponent expanded on how the deal came
about. “I was approached by NJM to see if I wanted to do a seminar in Ireland, but doing just one didn't interest me.
We then put together an exclusive deal where I would team up with NJM and bring a full series of MMA legends to
Ireland. It's a natural progression for the group really, we already have Europe’s largest MMA TV distribution with
Cage Contender and we are leading the way on MMA news and social networking with I'm really
looking forward to expanding our portfolio in 2011”

Constantly pushing the boundaries for MMA in Ireland, Ferguson boasts television deals in over 50 countries for his
Cage Contender promotion and recently hosted the Irish MMA awards ceremony on the 22nd January. Sixteen and a
half thousand votes were cast and the winners were Young Fighter of the Year: Alan Philpott, Female Fighter of the
Year: Aisling Daly, Coach of the Year: John Kavanagh, Team of the Year: Straight Blast Gym, Personality of the Year:
Rodney Moore, Promotion of the Year: Cage Contender, MMA League Teen Fighter of the Year: Ryan Curtis, MMA
League Adult Fighter of the Year: Danny Casey and Fighter of the Year: Norman Parke.

Broadening his portfolio of MMA wares the first seminar will be, MMA’s first global star, Ken Shamrock on March 2nd
hosted by Cork Sambo at Redmond’s Hurling & Football Club. This will be followed by a further three seminars with
Royce Gracie in June. These will take place in Cork, Dublin and Belfast. The seminars will be as much about
promoting the sport as tapping into some of the greatest minds in MMA. “There will be a half hour photo session at
the beginning, then a 2 hour training seminar and finishing with a half hour Q&A session” explains Ferguson.

A potential critic might question the relevance of Shamrock and Gracie in the sport today but Ferguson remains
philosophical. “Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. Let's be clear the guys are hall of fame legends, a
chance to spend time with and train with these guys is a massive thing” said Ferguson. JOE couldn’t agree more.

While Shamrock and Gracie may no longer be competing their presence in Ireland is significant in an international
context. Both UFC Hall of Famers actively tour the world imparting their wisdom and why wouldn’t they spend some
time in Ireland, given the increase in popularity of the sport and the burgeoning talent the island now boasts.
Ferguson has a track record in bringing MMA “firsts” to Ireland and whether you like the names or not, the series of
seminars represents another significant first in getting Ireland on the international MMA map.

When we quizzed Ferguson on whether the seminars would be annual events and if there was anything else coming
down the track, he assured us “Yeah and I will update you guys at JOE every step of the way”.

Fergus Ryan, January 2011

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