News

MMA stars furious with scumbags who ruined UFC night in Dublin

NewsBy Daragh Keany
Cathal Pendred in action against Tom Breese
Cathal Pendred in action against Tom Breese

Two of Ireland’s biggest MMA stars have lashed out at the few scumbags who ruined UFC Dublin last weekend at The 3Arena, when bottles and other missiles were thrown into the octagon when Paddy Holohan lost the main event to Louis Smolka.

Cathal Pendred, who lost his welterweight division bout with Tom Breese on the night, fumed: “I was not aware of the trouble at the time, but I have seen the footage since.

“Anyone who threw missiles into the octagon, or anywhere around the 3Arena, is an idiot. They are not real MMA fans, they are just there for a piss-up.

“The real MMA fans stood up and applauded Smolka for winning. What is most disappointing is that those pictures will be shown around the world. The vast majority of fans are amazing, though.”

Aisling Daly, who beat Ericka Almeida convincingly at the tarnished event, agreed with her fellow Straight Blast Gym team-mate that it was “disappointing to see”.

However, she also added: “These events can attract a bad element. Just look at the BAMMA 22 event in the same place in September. There was trouble at that as well, only that time it was the English fans who did it because they weren’t happy with the results. 

“I wish it didn’t happen. Especially from Irish fans. I don’t want the fans’ passion to stop, they just need to know the line.

“I will never forget the reception I got when I walked in. My trainer told me before we left the changing room: ‘Allow yourself a few seconds to take it all in, but then get back in the zone.’ 

“It was like a drug, to be honest. It has been a few days now since the fight and I am struggling to come down off the high of performing in front of a home crowd and then winning.”

Cathal added: “It is a little different for me, obviously, as I lost. Losing on Saturday was worse than my loss a few months ago [he lost to John Howard in July on a split decision]. I made a few mistakes and I didn’t make it to the bell. Plus, it was in front of my friends and family. I’m still hurting to be honest.”

So what is next for these two icons of Irish MMA? 

“I am aiming for UFC London in February,” Ais ‘the Bash’ Daly excitedly revealed. 

“I’ll give myself a  break from the really heavy training and dieting, but I won’t go nuts. I binged for a day or two, but even this morning I was back on the steak and avocado for breakfast. I want to be ready in case I get the call.”

The “call” the number-15-ranked fighter is referring to is for UFC 194 in Las Vegas in December, where Conor McGregor takes on Jose Aldo in the most anticipated fight in UFC history. 

Further down the fight card that night is the little-publicised strawweight fight between Tecia Torres (ranked 5th) and Michelle Waterson (11th) and Daly knows that she would be a contender to step in should one of them pull out. 

“I’m not a fan of travelling to fights as I perform better at home. But I would definitely say ‘yes’ to that.  Conor has been huge for the sport. He has given us all a huge opportunity to make some money from this and do what we love.”

One of those opportunities is the reason the Sunday World met the stars in the salubrious Morrison Hotel in Dublin. The pair have signed up to front the campaign for the new Assassins Creed game. 

“I can’t wait to get stuck into this game,” Pendred revealed. 

“I tend to get hooked on games easily so I have to avoid them in the run-up to a big fight, but now that I am taking a break I can give this a whirl.”

Aisling added: “I’m not much of a gamer, but I enjoy them from time to time. This game is all about a male and female assassin working together so that’s why they thought myself and Cathal would be good for this.”

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is out now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and will be available on Windows PC from November 19.