Transitioning from Fighter to Coach
September 02, 2016
I came from a family with boxing in its DNA. I had relatives on both sides of my family that had competed in the sport of boxing but my grandfather on my mother’s side was a great professional middle weight fighter. In 1982 I started in traditional martial arts, although boxing was what I wanted there were no boxing gyms in the area and my love of fighting and being a massive Bruce Lee fan had me temporarily satisfied with Okinawa Karate. Then I went to Kenpo, tae kwon do and then finally I found a gym a little over an hour away and started my amateur boxing career.
I would turn pro in the sport of boxing in 1993. After moving from Maine to Massachusetts in 1993 after the first UFC I started to study Jeet Kune Do. This would be my first exposure to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. My focus though was on my boxing career. In 1999 I moved to Portland Maine where I studied Choi Shin Do under Master Seung O Choi. A brilliant man who showed me the science behind martial arts and my focus became on body mechanics application for MMA. In 2003 I received my black belt from Master Choi. It was one of the only martial art belts of certifications I kept or even cared about at that time. Belts didn’t mean anything to me up till then. I had been to so many schools where I would spar with black belts and had no respect for their fighting ability. I believe that was the “street” kid mentality I had where the belt was only a symbol of the time and knowledge a practitioner had acquired not their ability in combat. Then my martial arts really took up speed. In 2004 I would start training with Mark Dellagrotte in Mauy Thai. 2005 I was a contestant on the Ultimate Fighter 2. Also in 2005 I would start really focusing on my grappling with Jorge Gurgel. My strengths switched, By the time I retired I had more wins by submission then knock out. I would continue to learn and learn many different arts. In 2004 I opened Team Irish MMA Fitness Academy. In 2007 I opened Team Irish MMA Performance Training Center. My passion for fighting was gone but my new passion was coaching and teaching. I would go on to train and work with UFC fighters, from world champions to top 10 contenders as a coach.
Most recently I have had the opportunity to train with world famous MMA coach Greg Jackson, a genius in strategy and tactics and now joining up with Tapout Fitness I look forward to continuing my love of teaching and coaching in North Carolina as I start a new chapter in my book.
“The Irish Hand Grenade”