By Donal Long
MMA was brought to life in 1993, when UFC 1 aired. Since then, the sport has gained massive traction and created a huge following. As the sport continues to grow, people from all over the world are getting involved. Including many people in Ireland.
20 year old Brian Waters is a first year journalism student at BCFE. Training at SBG Naas, he found MMA in unusual circumstances.
“It first started in lockdown, two years ago now. McGregor was fighting Poirier for the second time. I had never watched UFC, I had never associated with MMA. I found it very entertaining.”
As for most Irish people, Brian’s attention was brought to the sport thanks to Conor McGregor. Who the journalism student “respects what he did for the sport.” Whose return to MMA would in turn lead to Brian’s journey into the sport.
Getting into MMA was a first for Brian as he never resonated with sports in his past. “Wasn’t into soccer, wasn’t into GAA, wasn’t into any of them.” Which added to his nerves going into his new sport of choice. “I was terrified. I remember the first day I went into the gym. I was never really athletic or I was never really into sport.”
Entering the gym, Brian was met by Bellator fighter Peter Queally on his very first day. However, his nerves were calmed when he “realised how friendly people were.”
As he began training, he grew more attached to the sport from the very start. “Once I got on the mat I remember thinking, this is it. This is the sport for me.”
Brian really resonated with how enthralling and immersive the sport of MMA is. “I think it’s the most real sport in the world. When I’m sparring or rolling with someone, I’m in the moment.” Which are elements that are largely beloved by people in the MMA community.
Over the course of the week, Brian will train four different sports in five training sessions. His programme includes jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, wrestling, and muay thai. “It’s intense, but they do it in a way that you won’t get burned out. “It’s very good to keep active. It gives me something to strive towards.” So despite being a student and training full time, he welcomes the demanding schedule.
In terms of his future in the sport, the BCFE first year mentioned : “I wouldn’t rule out pro. My goals for now are to have a blue belt in jiu-jitsu and have an amatuer fight.” Meaning he is happy to take his MMA future as it comes, but is still excited by progress.
MMA is one of the few sports that people are really able to pick up at an older age. So if you are someone who is considering picking up the sport in your teens or early 20s, Brian gave the following advice. “There’s no harm in trying it. It’s not going to be for everyone. It’s not going to be for a certain type of person. If it is for you, it will be for you. You’ll love it and it’ll change your life.”