HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO MMA? My dad had three girls and he made us do Judo when we were really young. Understandably he wanted us to learn some form of self defence. I always loved martial arts, watching boxing, going to boxing fights with my Granda and watching Bruce lee movies. I was always fascinated by it. Shortly after I had my daughter I starting Muay Thai classes in an MMA gym. I then started doing Brazilian jiu jitsu and wrestling classes. When I started sparring one of the coaches encouraged me to take an MMA fight. This was in June 2014, I was the first female from Belfast to fight MMA and it was in the Ulster Hall in Belfast. From there I just continued fighting in MMA and competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After my first fight I just kept wanting to fight, to test myself and improve. I find it addictive, the training, obsessing over improving and learning all the different aspects is what makes me love MMA. Also I seem thrive in the roads less taken, being the first to do things, being under pressure, its like I need to be constantly pushing myself to do the impossible or achieve what hasn't been done before. You have so many martial arts to learn and ways to make different the techniques work in MMA. Thats what I love and in my opinion makes fighting MMA so much more exciting than other fighting sports. There are a lot more ways to win and a lot more ways to loose. You can never know enough, the sport is constantly evolving and have to make your time training so efficient and to maximise your progression you have to constantly reassess your training. WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN MOTIVATIONS FOR DOING MMA? Making my daughter and family proud and having a nice life for her will always be number one. My love for martial arts, fighting, winning, competition and succeeding always motivate me. Also believing this was gods plan & purpose for my life. I have been able to work with some amazing charities and met amazing people through my career. I get to travel the world and have the most amazing experiences. Have you ever experienced any injuries or let downs, which have affected YOUR CAREER AND/OR YOUR MENTALITY TOWARDS YOUR CAREER? MMA has gave me so many friends, memories, experiences and opportunities. I have experienced massive let downs, loses, injuries, heartbreak and Im sure I will experience many more. I had knee surgery 4 months before the IMMAF world championships in Las Vegas. I did intense rehab with The Physio Group in Newry. My Physio frank helped me get stability back in my knee and I was working around it in training, learning submissions of my back, sitting down doing conditioning circuits. I went on to win three fights in Las Vegas with three first round finishes 2017 was probably the worst year for me. Competing in the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation World championships in San Francisco I had a full tear of a ligament in my thumb, my thumbs basically hanging off, I taped it up and had 3 more matches and one Gold. This led to me getting surgery on my hand a small screw in between my thumb and finger to hold it in place. This put back my pro debut which was meant I was meant to. Four months after the surgery I lost my pro debut to a two time olympian. Looking back at the footage I was like a zombie, physically and mentally drained. That was when I decided I needed to give myself a break, the constant stress of trying to do everything and personal situation took its toll. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST THING MMA HAS TAUGHT YOU? Flip I don't know where to begin. Here are a few things: - I don't know if MMA has taught me this because I have always had an attitude of if I want to do something or achieve something absolutely nothing or nobody will stop me. - To win big you have to fail big and take risks. If there are no opportunities kick down a door and make them for yourself. - What makes me successful can also be my downfall, the overtraining, over thinking, over analysing, high expectations of myself. Learning to just relax is something I will always battle with. - Constantly reassess and analyse your situation. Surround your self with professionals and good people, you have to be brutally honest with yourself, who your surrounded by and cut throat with your time. You may only be given one opportunity to make It and win or loose you have to look back and say I did everything I possibly could. - A closed door is redirection, be thankful for closed doors, detours and failures. They protect you from paths or places that were not meant for you. WHAT IS THE MAIN THING YOU WOULD TELL OTHER BEGINNING ATHLETES? First of all you need to be willing to work harder and sacrifice more than anyone else. I genuinely don't know anyone that grinds harder than me, what I've sacrificed, the miles and hours I put in. I don't always get it write but I always give it 150%. I am a single mum still working, coaching running a business, travel to Dublin to train 4 times a week with Owen roddy at SBG Charlestown, 2 hour drive each way aswell as boxing sessions, S&C sessions and Brazilian jiu jitsu. Stay off social media and trash talking until you have to push sponsors and focus on getting better. I see a lot of young fighters on social media talking nonsense when they should be in the gym working. When you start earning money and fighting high level pros maybe start to make noise. Research a good gym, look at the instructors and see what they have achieved or what experience they have. Its important to be surrounded by good people, especially in a sport like MMA and especially as a female. I look forward to the day MMA gyms can be regulated, there is a fair governing body in place like all other sports and there are clear development plans for MMA fighters. I would say focus on learning the core parts of MMA like boxing & Brazilian jiu jitsu/wrestling first then move onto MMA classes. No one owes you anything, don't be entitled. You are ultimately responsible for your own success & failure. IF THERE IS ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD, PLEASE DO SO. Other athletes competing internationally and win amateur world titles have are funded by government, Sport NI. MMA and BJJ are the fastest growing sports in the world and I wouldn't have been able to achieve what I have without the support of my amazing friend Ian Young (@ifitni), sponsors Fonacab, Boojum, The Physio Group, The Skinny Kitchen and NI Supplements. If anyone would like to know how they can support please let me know. I run Beginner Ladies MMA/ Self Defence classes in Queens University in Belfast if anyone is interested you can contact me on social media @leahmccourtmma or email [email protected]
05/06/2019 Jason Harvey
Partnership with Core Elements
We are delighted to announce our partnership with Core Elements. This is a massive step forward for us here in gofyt, we have been working really hard behind the scenes to make gofyt a success.
29/04/2019 Jason Harvey
Get Buzzing Partnership
Here at gofyt, partnerships are at the corner stone of our growth in the health & fitness space. Local companies around the UK & Ireland are key to this constant growth and so, we are delighted to announce that we