ONE Championship, in partnership with the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA), is set to host the 2019 GAMMA World Championship this 18-23 November at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The event brings together over 40 teams from GAMMA member nations consisting of world-class amateur mixed martial arts athletes and coaches.
Team Ireland will be lead by Shaolin MMA Head Coach Ben Davies, who has assembled a small team of fighters to bring to Singapore to compete in one of the world’s largest stadiums.
I asked Ben how he became involved & what it means to him to lead the Irish team in the inaugural GAMMA World Championship:
“Our Galway Team Shaolin MMA has been very active & successful & is affiliated under the Irish Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Association (I.A.M.M.A.A) & I was given this amazing opportunity by the amateur MMA association.”
“It means everything to me! Our premises recently burned down and we have been gym-less teaching in numerous locations for the last few months whilst our fighters stayed active in competition in support of the team. I was really struggling but the team and the whole MMA community of Ireland came together to support us & help us rebuild the place we call the Shaolin Temple. I had felt like quitting as I watched our gym burning. But the positive spirit of Irish martial arts lifted me! A few weeks after the fire I got the message asking would I be interested in coaching team Eire at G.A.M.M.A worlds. It was such an honor & opportunity I couldn’t say no to. It felt like fate after what had happened & I immediately started planning how to make these guys get better & develop in the time we had. Getting in fight condition, staying injury-free & with a positive warrior mindset. They will do themselves & Eire proud. “
Due to issues around the registration, Team Ireland is smaller than first imagined but, do not doubt that by this time next year the numbers will more than double. Fighters competing for Team Ireland are :
Dawid Milewski – 66kg
Dawid Milewski – 66kg
Nikola Ivanovic – 66kg
Darren Jordan – 70kg
Ruairi Broderick – 70kg
Jacek Zielichowski -77kg
Padraig Hannonn -77kg
Stephen Mullen – 84kg
Crevan Scrivens -84kg
All athletes taking part have been supported by Chatri Sityodtong & the full ONE FC machine, not only offering all athletes the financial help with travel & accommodation but, in addition the top male and female fighter will earn a contract with ONE Championship worth $100,000 US dollars each & the winner of each weight division will earn a one year training scholarship at Evolve MMA.
I asked Irish head coach Ben is well aware of the effects G.A.M.M.A & the importance of its development of the sport in Ireland?
“G.A.M.M.A is a global organization with links to OneFC one of the biggest MMA promotions in the world. It gives Irish amateur MMA fighters the opportunity & adventure to test their skills against the rest of the world. These championships will be held on the Eve of a OneFC event in an Arena that hosts thousands in Asia where martial arts is sacred & deeply respected. They are also making moves to get MMA into the Olympics. For I.A.M.M.A.A to be affiliated under G.A.M.M.A the future is looking bright for Irish MMA”
Dawid Milewski who is competing in 66kg weight division told me that
“it is a great honor and opportunity… its the law of attraction in action. Ireland had embraced the wave of Polish emigrants with kindness and understanding. It is my home since the year of 2005. Now its time for me to fight my Polish heart out for the glory of the Irish Fighting spirit. I am eternally grateful for this honor and well aware of the importance of the task ahead.”
I gave the last word to Paul Cowzer from I.A.M.M.A.A (Irish Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Association) who said:
“Best of luck to team Ireland in GAMMA and well done to the whole team getting prepared with short notice, this is just a start and the future competitions we will be sending larger teams and have more preparation time.”
All fighters arrive in Singapore over the next 24 hrs & the event will kick off on the 18th of November. Stayed tuned for all the Irish team results via the links below: