Ireland’s top ring announcer Noel O’ Keeffe has been assigned preliminary card duties for premiere British mixed martial arts promotion BAMMA’s debut in Ireland on September 19th at the 3Arena.
Noel O’ Keeffe confirmed the news with WHOATV on Wednesday.
The popular MC had been diligently campaigning on social media for the position, gaining incredible support from fans and fighters alike along the way. This included support from former UFC middleweight Chris Fields who, significantly, serves as one-half of the co-headlining feature on the night.
The main card proceedings are scheduled to be hosted by the voice of BAMMA and long-time ring announcer Buddae Johnson.
Speaking exclusively with WHOATV, O’Keeffe explained how he felt when he got the call.
“When I got the call my heart was racing with both excitement and nerves,” he explained. “But the nerves mean so much, if your not nervous you don’t want it.”
From beginning his journey on the back of a dare, announcing a boxing and MMA hybrid show in The Royal Marine in Dun Laoghaire, to announcing the prelims of a historic BAMMA event in Ireland’s largest indoor arena, it’s certainly an unique story, and something that’s just beginning to set in for the Dubliner.
“It’s beginning to set in now,” he said. “It’s [3Arena] the Mecca of Irish fighting.”
The last time he stood in the 3Arena, known as the O2 Arena at the time, was last year at UFC Fight Night Dublin — but as a fan. O’Keeffe touched on an interesting conversation that he had with UFC Chairman & CEO Lorenzo Fertitta on the night.
“I remember standing cage-side at the UFC last year, and I said to Lorenzo Fertitta that the next time there is a cage in this venue I’ll be on the mic.”
It will be just a little over a year from that conversation with the UFC’s head honcho that BAMMA 22 will take place, and his prediction will become a reality. It may not the UFC, but it’s a huge occasion, and the biggest show to date for the MC.
It was following his last show at the successful Cage Kings, which took place at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on August 8th, that he really start pushing for the job; but as outspoken and relentless as he was on social media while pushing for the gig, O’Keeffe certainly didn’t expect it to be an easy task, or even likely.
“I was sat at home coming down from the hype and a great night at Cage Kings and saw Chris fields had posted something, and I thought to myself — if you don’t ask you don’t get,” he explained. “But I knew it was a long shot, with such a big show like BAMMA coming to town, they aren’t just gonna give some load-mouth on Twitter the mic.”
O’Keeffe clearly understands the power of social media, and noted that the support from the fans, the fighters, and the promoters that he has worked with in the past really helped and pushed it over the edge to made it happen.
“It has truly been overwhelming and touching that so many people have supported and pushed on the campaign,” he said. “I cannot thank them enough for all the support, the kind words, and messages that you sent to me. I also want thank BAMMA. They are giving me a great opportunity to be a part of a historic night for both MMA and Irish MMA, and I intend on grabbing with both hands.”
BAMMA 22: DuQuesnoy Vs. Loughnane takes place on September 19th in Dublin, Ireland at the 3Arena. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster now.