On October 8th 2011 Shock n Awe returns to Portsmouth and the main event is a clash between Wales and England. I caught up with Martin ‘Mr Pink’ McDonough who is flying the flag for Wales. I have to confess to being petrified about this telephone interview. I am good at taking off accents but when Martin text to tell me he has a strong ‘home valleys’ accent, I was concerned that most of our interview would consist of me saying ‘pardon’.
Martin is a 23 year old Professional Bantamweight MMA fighter with a record of 6-3-0 and comes into this fight on a win. He tells me this is his first fight back since he broke his hand in May so although he is confident in his ability to win the fight, he is aware that he has had a few months off and that his opponent, James Brum has been fighting regularly so the fact that James comes in with a loss is not something Martin will shrug off. This doesn’t stop the confidence oozing from him and he lets me know that he has been concentrating on his boxing and stand up game. He has seen his opponent James fight a few times and has a lot of respect for him. He goes on to say that James is a fighter who likes to Ground and Pound or submit opponents so Martin will be concentrating on keeping the fight stood up.
So how did Martin get into MMA in the first place? He said he had never done anything like this before but it was his friend Jack Marshman who recently took the British Title at BAMMA7 against Carl Noon who he credits with getting him into the sport. He literally went along to a training session with him one time and there you have it, it literally went from there. And today he has fought for various promotions including Shock n Awe and BAMMA.
As with all MMA fighters training is gruelling and Martin tells me he trains five or six times a week. This consists of Grappling two to three times, Striking two to three times and also sparring and a lot of fitness training. He is pleased that his Mum has supported him from the start, she has watched all his fights and with his new girlfriend Sian ready to watch him fight for the first time in October, Martin has all the support from all the right places including friends and other family members.
Other than training Martin has an interest in carpentry but is currently not working. His dedication to training means he only gets to see Sian for an hour every now and then. But Sian is understanding and excited to see him in the Cage for the first time.
With all the controversy in the papers and on the television this week surrounding MMA due to kids fighting in a cage, I wondered what Martin felt about the whole stigma around his sport. He says it is pathetic because kids have been doing boxing, kick boxing and karate for years, week in week out. He defends his sport and says the only reason people have a problem with it and indeed with kids participating is because the word Cage evokes the wrong impression in their minds.
Martin is ready for his clash in two weeks and would like to thank his coach Richard Shore, his sponsor Craig Bellamy and everyone who helps him train and prepare. If you want to get in touch with Martin, you can follow him on Twitter by searching Mr_Pink_MMA you won’t fail to notice if you have picked the right guy because as the name predicts, Martin is certainly ‘Mr Pink’!
All that is left for me to do is thank Martin for his time and to tell him, I understood his accent just fine. Also to wish him the best of luck for his fight as it is sure to be an explosive one! Coming soon: my interview with Martin’s opponent James Brum.