Sunday 20 October 2019

Sinn Féin recruits UFC fighter 'The Hooligan' Holohan for election bid

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Paddy
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Paddy "The Hooligan" Holohan, who has been selected to run in the local elections in May for Sinn Fein, at his SDG Gym in Tallgaht, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Michelle Devane

A former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter is getting ready to step into the Irish political arena.

Dubliner Paddy Holohan, who fought five times in the UFC, has decided to run in the upcoming local elections in May.

He announced his candidacy for Sinn Féin today.

Mr Holohan, who was known as The Hooligan when he was a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, described himself as an "accidental politician".

He said he got so frustrated by watching what was happening politically in the country that he felt he had to do something.

"I mistakenly fell into it," he said. "I'm an accidental politician."

He said it was really difficult for young people in Dublin to picture a future when the cost of living in the capital was so high.

He added that he owned a gym but could not afford to buy a house.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Paddy
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Paddy "The Hooligan" Holohan, who has been selected to run in the local elections in May for Sinn Fein, at his SDG Gym in Tallgaht, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire

The 30-year-old said he was going to take a martial arts approach of improving a little bit at a time when it came to his political career.

"I'm not coming in here as an expert. I'm not coming in here as a know-it-all. I'm coming in here I'd say as a white belt. I'm a white belt in this and I'm looking forward to working on my ranks."

The MMA fighter, who grew up in a single parent household in Jobstown in Dublin, spent a lot of time in Lenadoon in Belfast as a child in the early 1990s.

He said it gave him a valuable insight into life both north and south of the border.

He took up jujitsu and MMA when he was 17-years-old because he "wanted to do something with his life".

"When I made that decision to get my act together, that's when my life changed," he said.

"It was like an anti-depressant to me. It had the same reaction."

Mr Holohan was forced to retire from the UFC in 2016 due to a rare blood disorder. He now runs his own gym, SBG Dublin 24 in Tallaght, and it will be the Tallaght South electoral area of South Dublin County Council where he will be seeking votes in May.

PA Media

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