PORTLAOISE man Rob Quinn recently won his first official mixed martial arts fight in Belfast.
Rob participated in two fights on the day and had mixed fortunes, winning his first fight, but scraping a loss in his second.
The fights took place in the Devonish Sports Complex in Belfast, where hundreds of fans had gathered to watch nine fights taking place, organised by the MPR Colleseum organisation.
Rob received notice of the competition only a few days before he was set to travel, but has been training every day for the past six months in SBG Ireland on the Long Mile Road in Dublin, under coach John Kavanagh.
Rob’s first competitor on the day was Belfast fighter Harry ‘The Shotgun’ Brice who was also making his debut to the scene. Despite the advantage of a lively home crowd behind him, Brice was defeated by Rob after only one minute and twenty seconds, when he used an armbar to defeat the Belfast fighter. Rob said of his opponant, “It was a challenge but I waited for my opportunity and I stayed calm throughout the fight”.
After the elation of his first victory, Rob was asked to compete again when another fighter was injured.
His second opponant, Tommy ‘The Gun’ Higgins, also from Belfast proved to be a bigger challenge and Rob lost the fight by a judges decision.
The fight went the distance of two five-minute rounds and although Rob lost he was thrilled with his overall debut fight. “I’m very happy and proud of what I have achieved and I can’t wait to get fighting again.”
Rob is the first in the county to fight in a mixed martial arts competition such as this and his success at his debut highlights the growing popularity of martial arts in the locality.
Rob trains daily at the Portlaoise Jiu Jitsu Club and was well supported by fellow team members at his fight.
He would like to thank the club members for all their support so far, as well as John Kavanagh at the Straight Blast Gym in Dublin and Mags Conroy in Portlaoise for providing therapeutic massage for Rob during his training.
Rob has been training in martial arts since he was 16, when he was inspired by watching Bruce Lee.
He has learned Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kick boxing, and wrestling among many other disciplines, and trains on a daily basis with some of the most dominant fighters in the country at the moment, including Thomas Egan, Aisling Daly and Owen Roddy.
Rob found it easy to get into the cage after training with some of the best in the country over the past few months.
“MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world”, Rob says. “ It is fun to take part in, it’s a good way to lose weight and meet new people, and there are a few people like me who want to take it a bit further.”
Portlaosie Jiu Jitsu Club is open to new members and if anyone wants to join, contact John Ging at 086 160 4860.
Rob will be competing in his second fight on Saturday, November 22 at Cage of Truth in Dublin, where no doubt he will be aiming for another win after the success of his debut.