The Four Nations Championship was a resounding success. The feedback from those who were involved has been glowing, and the future of amateur MMA in the UK and Ireland looks bright.
England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales came together from the 1st-3rd of July to compete in an amateur mixed martial arts competition in Liverpool, England. The bouts commenced on Friday evening and continued until the finals and medal ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
There were a number of competitors who shined. England’s Shanelle Dyer won gold after a contest with Ireland’s Sinéadh Ní Nualláin which was given a standing ovation. Scotland’s Kunle Lawal won ‘athlete of the tournament’ after three strong performances in the Welterweight division. Jack Dunleavy, also from England, submitted both of his opponents with Anaconda chokes – rendering both unconscious – to win gold. Wales’ Roan Crocker wrestled his way through Sean Clancy Jr. and Rhys Hughes to take the #1 spot on the podium. And Ireland went 10-1 in the competition for an exceptional team performance.
The competition was made possible by a large team of volunteers. EMMAA Head Coach Paul Kelly cornered athletes with his team of Christian Smith, Dave Lee, Patrick Martin and UFC legends Vaughan Lee, Molly McCann and Dan Hardy. Nick Peet helped to spread the word of the tournament and supported the media team in covering the event. UFC referees Dan Movahedi and Leon Roberts officiated. IMMAF President Kerrith Brown was in attendance, as well as Gosha Malik and Caolite de Barra. Paddy Pimblett and his dog Lenny also showed their support.
The event was organised by EMMAA Vice President Paul Reed, who worked hard for months to make The Four Nations a success. He said after the event:
“Ultimately, the quality of the fights was out of this world. No real injuries, no issues, the competitors behaved incredibly well and were really respectful, and the feedback from them is one of the benchmarks for me. They loved it and were thankful for the opportunity. They got a few bouts over the weekend, and when I hear that from the competitors, it makes it all worth it.
“For me, to sum it up, it was massively successful, rewarding, and a massive step forward for EMMAA. There is nobody who can deny that this is the way forward for amateurs.”
“I think we’re doing things incredibly well. Look at the medical standards and the officials, all UFC level. Look at the standards we’re putting in with the staff; it’s the highest level. People come and compete in their bouts at the weekend, knowing that this is in a safe environment and well looked-after. Ultimately, we’re invested in this. We’re not a show with pressure to make margin, this is just an investment in athletes, and without a doubt, it’s the way forward.”
(Quote via Caoilte de Barra, IMMAF).
The IMMAF European Championships are set for autumn which England, Ireland and Wales will be looking to take part. Scotland has used The Four Nations to found the Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Scotland and is aiming to submit a team at the Arnold Classic in September.
The Four Nations was a historic event. The momentum created will be used to continue to grow MMA in the UK and Ireland. Thank you to everyone who made it such a success.