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Ex-Ireland AM presenter Aidan Power is packing a punch as Bellator MMA's Showtime host

In his presenting role, Aidan (43) gets to work with some of the biggest names in the business
Aidan Power

Aidan Power

Bellator's Josh Thomson

Bellator's Josh Thomson

Bellator's Josh Thomson in action

Bellator's Josh Thomson in action

Pundit Aidan with former MMA champion Josh Thomson

Pundit Aidan with former MMA champion Josh Thomson

Eugene Masterson

AIDAN Power may be one of the biggest TV presenters on the MMA scene but even he still grimaces at nasty moments between fighters in the octagon.

The former Ireland AM presenter - who along with Anna Daly and Laura Woods had their ties with Virgin Media mysteriously cut last autumn - in now a transatlantic host on Bellator MMA's Showtime programmes.

"I remember the first show I did with Bellator was in Birmingham, and for that show they had me stood cageside, so I was literally two feet from the cage.

"I had never been that close to the action before. If someone gets cracked in the chin, it's like being hit with a baseball bat," Aidan tells the Sunday World.

"That didn't alarm me at all, but it's more two or three feet away from you some guy who is put into a very compromising submission position and their arm or their leg or their heel is being bent in the direction that if it's bent any more, something is going to pop or break.

"That's harder to watch than any sort of impact, or punch or kick."

In his presenting role Aidan (43) gets to work with some of the biggest names in the business.

"Josh Thomson is my pundit at the desk, who is a former two time MMA world champion," he explains.

"One of his many claims to fame is he's the only guy to knock out Nate Diaz, who many people subsequently got to know for his couple of fights with Conor McGregor.

"Then you have John McCarthy, who is one of the most instantly recognisable faces in MMA because he was a referee for many years, but he has also been in MMA since its inception and he was also heavily involved in the writings of the rules of the sport.

"So he is like one of the like founding fathers, they are two of the people I have worked with for some time and we've a good American crew. It's a joy, especially at this stage of my career."

Bellator's Josh Thomson

Bellator's Josh Thomson

Aidan has been with the show for nearly three years, but because of Covid didn't get to host until the last few months, which has included fights in Dublin, Paris and London.

"Growing up, obviously MMA wasn't around as it is now as a sport," he recalls. "But growing up I was always a big boxing fan from a very young age.

"And then when MMA started to become this underground thing and you could get VHS back in the days... I've always had an interest in it.

"Then obviously it exploded this side of the water seven or eight years ago.

"I had done some work on boxing.

"Then for this opportunity to come along and present itself, and with such a big organisation like Bellator, which is a major promotion, was just a dream come through."

Aidan has tried out close contact sport himself.

Pundit Aidan with former MMA champion Josh Thomson

Pundit Aidan with former MMA champion Josh Thomson

"I'd be quick to point out that my level of involvement is primarily for fitness. I did a couple of white-collar fights for charity and things like that. I train in a boxing gym.

"I train in a jujitsu gym as well, and I'm planning on doing a few more things, but at 43 the body isn't as good as the mind," he smiles.

"It's important for me because as you know it's a highly technical sport and it's one thing watching two guys in a stand-up striking but when it hits the ground you're bringing into play so many different martial arts, and it's important for me to have an understanding of what is happening on the ground."

Bellator's Josh Thomson in action

Bellator's Josh Thomson in action

He has seen Conor McGregor up close at several Bellator fights and has got to meet his trainer.

"I've had the great pleasure of meeting John Kavanagh a bunch of times, because he has got many fighters involved in Bellator and he has been very welcoming to me into that MMA world.

"I've picked his brain on fighters before and he is a hive of knowledge and he's a really good person," he says.

Aidan is currently presenting a podcast in association with Chadwick's on DIY called Under Construction, in which he co-hosts with the firm's commercial director Pat Moore and interviews a range of experts.

"I'd certainly be enthusiastic about it but I'm not very good at it, but that wouldn't put me off trying to do something," he replies when asked if he's any good at DIY.

"Usually I'd have to call in the experts to fix it.

"Growing up, a lot of my friends when it came to making decisions in school went down the route of becoming tradesmen, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and so on.

"I ended up in the business of talking for a living.

"So I have plenty of people I can call on and rely on. I would have a genuine interest in it. I do love those type of programmes on TV, house renovation programmes, DIY shows and things like that."

Doing a DIY show on TV like Baz Ashmawy also tickles his fancy.

"I've always wanted to appear on TV in a pair of Snickers," he laughs. " I'm reliably informed they make everyone look 10 per cent better looking.

"It's not something I have actively pursued. Baz is just perfect for a show like DIY SOS because it's a renovation programme, it's a construction programme, but it's also so much more than that.

"There's a human interest aspect to it and I think Baz is just perfect at marrying all that together and bringing his own ability to it and his own warmth, he's got a unique style in that way."

He is coy about his departure from Ireland AM and Virgin Media.

"It's just not something I like to talk about. The only thing I would say on it I have been around this industry long enough to know that things don't last forever and you have to be adaptable and open to change and to be able to roll with those punches and be open to new things and exciting things," he says.

- The Under Construction with Chadwicks podcast is available now.

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