I’ve tweaked October’s list as February is now upon us. In the time honoured tradition for the month of Black History I’m giving it the recognition it deserves. From a black Brit perspective we seem to look at our American cousins and celebrate their experiences, recognise their struggle, but ultimately neglect acknowledging our own. To mix things up, in terms of the month’s propensity to deliver facts and figures that relate to notables in Black History, I thought I’d deliver an updated UK Mixed Martial Arts centric look at five key achievers this side of the pond.
Daley has fought a who’s who of names in his incredible fight career. Long regarded as gifted with his stand up prowess Daley has 30 plus KO’s on his record. A feared striker Daley has fortified his ability to earn through combat by creating ‘Spirit Dojo’. The facility based in Nottingham teaches Kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ and MMA. More than just a friendly club ‘Spirit Dojo’ offers personal fitness, self defence and weight loss.
Jimi ‘Posterboy’ Manuwa
Whilst now retired (or is he?) Manuwa was arguably one of the most lethal strikers in Europe the ‘Posterboy’ has entertained crowds from small night clubs to packed arenas. Even though he was born in Sacramento he is a British citizen, a proud South Londoner by his own admission, and still a popular fan favourite. For an athlete who made the transition to fighting at a very high level in a very short space of time. Jimi seems set to transition into coaching where we can see his skills transferred to the next generation of KO specialists.
Owner of Black Panther Sports Kedu Uchegbu has over the last few years steadily built up a growing roster of well known mixed martial artists. One of the most uncompromising managers in mixed martial arts Uchegbu looks after the interests of Aaron Chalmers, Fabian Edwards and Ross Houston to name a few. Uchegbu, a self styled vanguard of fighter progression, rights and earning ability has set the bar in terms of maximising the international spotlight on his roster.
Europe’s first black matchmaker, arguably the best in the region, who not only is an accomplished BJJ black belt, (also the first black British Black Belt in BJJ (3rd in Europe) awarded by Mauricio Gomes) he’s a competitor and instructor who has graced the cage too and is undefeated. After making all of BAMMA’s tent pole fights Samuel has now progressed to look after Bellator’s European roster in his role as Head of Talent relations, talent development and recruitment. With a phone book that consists of a virtual who’s who of names in combat sports at his fingertips, look out for a new raft of names set to bolster an already impressive list of recent European signings he masterminded.
With little fanfare, bluster or rhetoric Malata has quickly occupied the tabloid space with the utmost integrity and always mindful of the journalist code ‘never become the story’. Chisanga is a long-serving member of the Daily Star and Express online sports team. His particular expertise is combat sports. He began his career in October 2013 and has covered some of the most prominent fighters and events in mixed martial arts. In February of this year he began writing a weekly UFC column for the Daily Star.
21 Honourable Mentions
Kane Mousah – Businessman / Fighter
Darren Stewart – Fighter
Walter Gahadza – Fighter
Fabian Edwards Fighter
Buddea Johnson – MC
Paul Sutherland – Fighter / Judge
Lerone Murphy – Fighter
Nathan Greyson – Fighter
Mark Weir – Fighter
Kerrith Brown – President of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation
Galore Bofando – Fighter
Dominique Wooding – Fighter
Mark Epstein – Fighter
Leon Edwards – Fighter
Dean Amasinger – Fighter / Coach
Linton Vassell – Fighter
Michael Venom Page – Fighter
Densign White – CEO of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation
Roberto Reid – Media outlet owner
Marc Diakiese – Fighter
Che Mills – Fighter
Jeremy Bailey – Fighter / Coach
Have I missed anyone, let me know via Twitter.
Photo Credit: Lucas Noone