The sport of MMA is a cruel sport and I think a statement that sums it up best is “The highest highs and the lowest lows”. Many fighters set out to reach the pinnacle of the sport and fight under the banner of the UFC and whilst many fall before reaching the top of the climb, it’s also a harsh reality that those who do make it to the top sometimes suffer even more after being released.
So with that thought in mind #WHOATV have taken a look across the UKMMA landscape at those fighters who could have been the next contenders;
Ryan Scope built up a solid professional record amassing eight wins on the trot, all but one coming by stoppage. But unfortunately for “Big Baby” he has been plagued with injuries throughout his career which resulted in him never gaining the notoriety that he deserved. He was due to fight Jack Marshmann at Made 4 The Cage earlier this year but was forced to withdraw, again due to injury in what would have been a huge UKMMA bout. There is certainly still an opening in the sport for Scope given his age but with constant injuries one has to question if he will ever be able to sustain a good run of fights against top European fighters.
Michael “The Hulk” Pastou had all the makings to make a name for himself in the sport and the Team Titan/ATT fighter fought almost all of the household names (Bostwick, Maguire, Olivier & Facey) on the UK scene to build himself a record of 9-2. After spending most of his career with Cage Rage/UCMMA he was then picked to represent Team UK on the Ultimate Fighter Smashes season as one of the Lightweight’s under tutelage of Ross Pearson. But Pastou would not even make it to compete on the show after he suffered a bicep injury and was replaced by Brendan Loughnane. Pastou has not returned to the cage since and takes more of a supportive role as part of Team Titan, often seen at shows across the UK.
“Mad Mac” was all set to be the next big thing in the Middleweight division following three back to back wins under the BAMMA banner before being snapped up by Cage Warriors in late 2014, a decision which will probably haunt him forever, on reflection. After signing a five fight deal with Cage Warriors, the promotion effectively shut up shop and changed ownership which has resulted in them not putting on any shows and putting the breaks on McLeman’s career. After competing in April 2014, in which he won the BAMMA Middleweight title, it was over a year before we would see McLeman back in the cage this time for Phoenix Fight Night. He suffered a submission loss to Costello van Steenis on the show which has almost certainly removed him from any title plans Cage Warriors had for him.
“The Cheesecake Assassin” is undoubtedly one of the most well liked and respect guys in UKMMA, but following a career high win (beating Besam Yousef and signing with the UFC) things have not gone to plan for Mitchell. Two losses on the bounce in the UFC saw the Doncaster lad receive his marching orders from the UFC and he has since had a lot on his plate to keep him busy which has perhaps taken some of his attention away from fighting. He became a father and also has been spending a lot of time promoting CSFC, is his fight promotion which stages shows at the Doncaster Dome. Since his release from the UFC, Mitchell has gone 2-1 with both wins coming under his own promotion and I feel that it will take some wins under some bigger promotions which will get Mitchell back up to the levels we have seen him able to compete at.
Luke “Nukem” Newman built up five wins for UCMMA all by stoppage within the first round which helped to build up his name across the #UKMMA scene. The undefeated streak also got him a spot on the Ultimate Fighter Smashes series albeit his fight on the show only lasted 19 seconds as he suffered a knockout loss to the eventual winner Robert Whittaker. Following the show Newman took on Ryan Scope at BAMMA 12 and suffered his first professional career loss by submission. Shortly after the loss to Scope, Newman signed a contract with Cage Warriors although we would never get to see him compete for the promotion and he has not returned to the cage since.
John “The One” Maguire is another household name on the #UKMMA scene and has been in there with some of the UK’s best fighters throughout his career. Maguire reached the heights of the UFC in 2012 and picked up two wins on the bounce including an impressive submission against DaMarques Johnson. Sadly thereafter he suffered three unanimous decision losses and was released in 2013 only to be snapped up by Cage Warriors. A win over Philip Mulpeter in his Cage Warriors debut set up a big fight with Saul Rogers which Maguire lost and then he jumped in on short notice to replace his brother and suffered a knockout loss to Damir Hadzovic at Cage Warriors 66. Cage Warriors put their faith in Maguire and lined him up to face Brad Wheeler in their last show but a tough weight cut forced the promotion to pull him from the fight. After over 18 months out of competition Maguire returned to winning ways this October against Alexandre Roumette who going into the bout had a record of 3-6.