Combat sports, particularly boxing and MMA, hold a special place in the hearts of many Irish people. This passion has been further fueled by the rise of superstars like Conor McGregor and Katie Taylor, who have etched their names among the sport's elite.
Recently, John Kavanagh , renowned as Conor McGregor's trainer, took a trip down memory lane, sharing a fascinating anecdote from the early days of MMA in Ireland. Kavanagh recalled his encounter with Andrew Burrows, marking 23 years since they made history by participating in the first-ever professional MMA fight on Irish soil.
"You blink and 23 years fly by! What a nice surprise to run into the ever dangerous Andrew Burrows. Exactly 23 years have passed since we made history by fighting each other in the first professional MMA fight on Irish territory, in November (the 11th month) of 2000.
For the high price of five pounds you could sit right next to the ring," Kavanagh reminisced on his Facebook page. A photo of Kavanagh and Burrows, alongside an image of their match poster from 23 years ago, accompanied the post.
While Kavanagh claimed it was the first such event held in Ireland, the fight technically took place within Northern Ireland's borders. Despite being a separate political entity, Northern Ireland and Ireland share the same island.
The exact result of this match is not officially known.
While the Burrows-Kavanagh bout isn't officially documented on Sherdog or Tapology, neither fighter revealed the outcome. However, a comment on Burrows' Instagram post suggests Kavanagh emerged victorious.
One of Burrows' followers posed a hypothetical rematch challenge, to which Andy responded with a decline. Regardless of the victor, the significance of this event lies in its role as a testament to MMA's humble beginnings in Ireland and its remarkable evolution over time.
John Kavanagh stands as a pioneer of the sport in Ireland, with his SBG gym producing a multitude of professional MMA fighters.