It’s October and Black History Month is now upon us. In my view our achievements as Black individuals should not be confined to just one month. At WHOA TV we endeavour to highlight the achievements of these athletes all year round.
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.
Michael Venom Page
Undoubtedly the modern day Prince Naseem Hamed of MMA. Page has dispatched opponents since he burst onto the scene in 2012. He quickly became a viral sensation with his videos racking up millions of views, regardless of who was in front of him. He’s shown he is equally as talented as a businessman and athlete and of late has aligned himself with the Taking The Initiative Party. Shaping outcomes in his community and beyond is clearly in his scope and no doubt he will be equally as effective there as he has been inside the cage.
Jimi ‘Posterboy’ Manuwa
Whilst now retired 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.
He sent his opponent to Wakanda and is now the newly crowned Cage Warriors World Bantamweight champion. ‘The Black Panther’ is a pleasure to watch. Never in a boring fight he has consistently believed in himself and his skills despite stumbles in other MMA promotions. Wooding has steadily built his skills as a mixed martial artist under the tutelage of GB Top Team and MMA veteran Brad Pickett and has proved that staying the course, trusting the process leads to incredible outcomes and devastating finishes.
30 Honourable Mentions
Leon Edwards – Fighter
Kane Mousah – Businessman / Fighter
Darren Stewart – Fighter
Walter Gahadza – Fighter
Aundre Jacobs – MMA Journalist
Nathan Jones – Fighter
Fabian Edwards Fighter
Buddea Johnson – MC
Denniston Sutherland – Fighter
Paul Sutherland – Fighter / Judge
Lerone Murphy – Fighter
Danny Roberts – Fighter
Jamaine Facey – Fighter / Activist
Yannick Bahati – Fighter
Nathias Frederick – Fighter
Mark Weir – Fighter
Kerrith Brown – President of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation
Galore Bofando – Fighter
Paul Daley – Fighter / Businessman
Chisanga Malata – Journalist
Nathan Greyson – Businessman / Fighter
Mark Epstein – Fighter
Dean Amasinger – Fighter / Coach
Linton Vassell – Fighter
Nathan Rose – 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