Fergus Ryan: Cathal Pendred demonstrated the sheer will to win against all odds
In a mixed week for Irish MMA, we reflect on the career of Cathal Pendred, some up and coming amateurs look to make their mark and where next for Paul Redmond?
Cathal Pendred goes out on his own terms
Probably the most surprising piece of MMA news this week was the announcement from Cathal Pendred that he would be retiring from active MMA competition.
The SBG man issued a brief statement through Twitter outlining that his “passion (for MMA) is no longer what it was and I feel it is time to move on”.
If there was anything that defined Cathal's MMA career, it was his passion and competitive nature bundled into a sheer will to win against all odds.
Nothing showed this more than his tremendous come from behind victory against Mike King at UFC Dublin 2014.
His Cage Warriors career, where he was the welterweight world champion, was also littered with toe to toe wars against fighters with bigger names and reputations than his.
One of his most memorable fights was his 'Fight of the Night' performance against David Bielkheden at CWFC4.
Bielkheden was looking to rack up the wins and return to the UFC but Pendred had different ideas on the night.
In a reverse of the Mike King fight, Pendred was dominant early and needed to hang on in the third round to seal victory.
The very best of luck to Cathal in what ever he pursues post-UFC.
Euro Warriors Return
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) held its first European Championships in the UK last week. Teams from both Ireland and Northern Ireland did themselves proud and returned home with a healthy clutch of medals.
IMMAF was set up in 2012 to help promote MMA across the world at grassroots level but more importantly to help regulate the sport in countries that don't have athletic commissions or any governing bodies for MMA.
Having previously held World Championships in Las Vegas, the European version is a welcome addition to the competitive calendar.
Here's a run down of the medalists from both Team Ireland and Team Northern Ireland.
Lightweight female: -70.3 KG (155 lbs) GOLD: Leah McCourt – Northern Ireland
Flyweight male: -56.7 KG (125 LBS) BRONZE: David Fogarty – Ireland
Featherweight male: -65.8 KG (145 LBS) SILVER: Ross McCorriston – Northern Ireland
Lightweight male: -70.3 KG (155 LBS): BRONZE: Thomas Martin and Lee Hammond – both Ireland
Light heavyweight male: -93.0 KG (205 LBS): GOLD: Ben Forsyth – Ireland
Heavyweight male: -120.2 KG (265 LBS) BRONZE: Ryan Spillane – Ireland
Keep an eye out for coverage of the IMMAF European Championships on Setanta Sports and UFC Fight Pass.
The 'UFC Fighting Irish' lose a good man
With UFC 194 just around the corner Conor McGregor and his team headed off to set up camp in Las Vegas.
Elsewhere news regarding the Fighting Irish took a different turn.
We heard earlier in the week that Paul Redmond had been released from his UFC contract following two consecutive losses.
The fan and media reaction has been one of overwhelming support for the Donaghmede man once the news hit social media. Included in that number were the coaching team at Tristar in Canada, where Paul has recently spent some time.
More interestingly, Graham Boylan who is looking to bring back Cage Warriors in 2016, joined in the support for Paul.
'Redser' shot to the top of the global MMA prospects lists after going 7-1 in Cage Warriors between 2012 and 2014. Six of his wins were by second round stoppage.
He got his call up to the UFC to fill in for Alan Omer on less than two weeks’ notice in January losing a lopsided three round decision. He then shipped a first round KO in Glasgow in July.
While he remained on the UFC books till this week many believed he'd get a third crack at UFC London next February.
Alas it's not to be.
It seems Redmond won't have to wait too long for his next fight. BAMMA are holding the second Irish event in February 2016, the same night as UFC London. A hugely popular fighter, the Dubliner would certainly put a few hundred extra bums on seats in the 3Arena.
However, it seems like the revamped Cage Warriors may have beaten BAMMA to the punch. Though no event or date has been announced, Redmond posted on social media that he'd probably be heading back to the place where it all began.
Almost a year to the day since their last show Cage Warriors released a teaser video reminding us of the talent they helped bring attention to but it also insinuated CWFC 75 was close.
Regardless of where he turns up Team Ryano's Paul Redmond will be a valuable addition to any roster of fighters.
Irish in London
The announcements this week coupled with some medical suspensions has left the eligible Irish fighters for UFC London a little thin.
Conor McGregor's services will be retained for the lucrative US PPV circuit meaning we're unlikely to see him this side of the Atlantic for some time. Only a stadium event would warrant the UFC unleashing its biggest star this side of the pond but the likelihood of that appears to be fading.
Norman Parke and Joe Duffy are still currently under medical suspension and will need to be cleared before they can fight. While they still could make the London card time is running out.
That leaves Team Ryano's Neil Seery, Aisling Daly and Paddy Holohan both from SBGi.
We'll keep an eye on the announcements but you can expect some or even all three names above to be linked to the UFC London card.