Paul McLaughlin: Inside the mind of a promoter and coach – Part two

Combat Vision MMA spoke to Clan Wars Promoter and IFS MMA Belfast head coach Paul McLaughlin.

IFS MMA has produced 32 MMA champions since its inception in 2007. How do you transition between coaching and also managing the fighters.

 “Yes the IFS club has been very successful with bringing belts back to the gym. I firmly believe though, any given person with the right attitude, a strong mentality, dedication, and commitment already has all the tools to succeed”

 “As for the transition, that’s a hard one. It is not easy, that’s for sure and the more members and fighters we have, the more I rely on others. Thankfully at IFS, we have a fantastic support network of coaches, also a members committee with senior members who have their heads screwed on. This means hard decisions can be talked about and voted on, whether it’s a club issue or talking about possible upcoming fights”

“These days with things continuing to progress, I spend a lot of my time now managing the fighters. This a lot of time and a lot of late nights. I am only lucky enough to do this, because of the great team of coaches who work hard at the club. Andrew Burrows, Luke Roche and Jonny Burrows who are extremely talented coaches and a huge asset to the club. I still coach myself, running fight team sessions and have the final say. But, I also rely on the coaches opinions and views, picking up on things, I may be overlooking. The same with the senior members on the committee, they help me make those hard decisions and offer different viewpoints on what can sometimes be grey areas. I am very grateful for the combined team we have at the club”

 “I do admit with an ever growing fight team and club, in general, it is very hard work juggling coaching, managing fights, running the club, looking after fighters, my own job, a toddler as well as organising Clan Wars. It is very demanding. Hopefully, in 2018 we will look to expand and bring on new coaches who have a vested interest in the team’s development as much as the coaches we have at the minute so we can continue with the success and development as well as the opportunities for everyone”

Daniel Olejniczak experienced his first loss at BAMMA 31. Have you had time to rewatch the fight and what takeaways did you have in terms of performance and application. Will Daniel be back before 2017 or will it now be 2018.

 “Yeah, we watched it. There was nothing but positives to take away from that fight. We knew Richard was a dangerous fighter and a former world kickboxing champion with a lot of experience. He is from a great team in SBG. Daniel put on a fantastic performance against Richard and showed everyone he more than deserved to be there. He was not out classed at any time and did really well against such an unorthodox fighter. For someone stepping onto the IFS mats 3 years ago with zero experience, he showed he can handle himself on the big shows”

 “Daniel was due to fight in Scotland in September. However, his opponent got injured. I am thinking there is a good chance you will see him compete again before the year is out”

Do you have any update on when we will see Mindaugas back inside the BAMMA cage. Will it hopefully be before the end of 2017. How is he handling the frustrations of being out of competition.

 “Yes. Getting Mindaugas fights has been frustrating, pull out after pull out . Understandably, this takes a toll. However, he is mentally strong and ready for short notice fights. For a wider international scope, we have teamed up with HD fighter management who have been very forthcoming with us to help get Mindaugas opportunities. With this information, watch this space and fingers crossed for some big news”

Daniel Rutkowski has been doing really well at IFS. Can you tell our readers about 

“Daniel Rutkowski is doing fantastic since joining IFS from Poland. He came to IFS on a 2 fight losing streak. At IFS, we have honed his skills to make him an all-round mixed martial artist. Developing his weak areas, getting him to be a more technical fighter, understanding the game better and the drills he needs to improve on”

“Daniel Rutkowski V2.0 was unleashed at BAMMA in Belfast where he defeated the very tough and experienced Niall Smith in the 2nd round. From there, he took a short notice fight on in Birmingham and again took out his opponent in the 2nd round from a top team. He normally fights at featherweight. But, is taking a step up in weight classes to take on the undefeated Steve McIntosh for the On top title. Daniel is another fighter scouted by HD Management who you could see on the big shows very soon as he is on all their radars”

Lastly, what does 2017 have in store for Paul McLaughlin, IFS MMA and Clan Wars.

“I intend to continue to develop the IFS gym, its members and fighters. I am just as happy getting beginners a fight on an interclub or boxing show which helps to build their experience as I am signing a pro to an arena show too. I want to be able to offer my knowledge and my connections to be able to get the team the best opportunities I can get for them”

“I have seen a lot of Irish and UK fighters over the years missing out on great opportunities and experiences because no one was proactive for them.  A lot of them could have been on bigger platforms. But, never got the chance or had someone working hard for them”

“With regards to Clan Wars, I will also be working to continue to showcase new up and coming Irish/UK fighters and provide a platform for them. I will be keeping the belts and fighters active”

“I will also be focusing on the fighters who appreciate the work that goes into the show. The fighters that are not driven by ego, fighters who are professional in their approach, fighters who want to get that exposure and experience a high production with a high level of safety”

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