It’s often remarked that dogs can look like their owners, and in MMA Rush Fight Academy this can certainly be compared to its coach and owner Paul Cowzer; diminutive, tough, stubborn and above all committed to excellence in the sport of MMA. Giving us an insight as part of his latest blog entry, is Stewart Dollery.
Opened in 2007 in the small picturesque town of Rush, RFA as it is known throughout the Country had meagre beginnings as a part time facility. Coaching boxing and MMA and working as a personal trainer to help pay the bills, Paul Cowzer set out on a long, unlikely road towards MMA success. Between May 2007 and May 2008 Paul took on 6 pro MMA fights basically as a boxer with very limited MMA or grappling training and racked up 5 losses in this time period. After a successful career in amateur boxing, the frustration at losing so many fights served as fuel to his fire rather than turning him away from the sport as others undoubtedly would have.
That fuel led to Paul capturing The Battle Zone professional Feather-Weight title in November 2011 defeating the experienced Conor Dillon over five rounds, and Paul’s own success was mirrored by that of his superb amateur team. The success of the RFA amateur team must be taken in the context of its environment. Rush competes against the best clubs in Ireland; Dublin’s SBG and Team Ryano, Cork’s MMA Clinic and FAI in Belfast. These clubs have large populations to choose from and excellent facilities. The population of Rush is approximately 10,000 and the club is small yet they have produced some of the best ammies Ireland has seen, such as Neil Ward who holds several ammie titles, Battle Zone champ Tommy Hogan, Man of War champ Adam Caffrey and other top prospects such as Paul Lawrence and the highly talented Luke Caffrey.
Not only has the little town of Rush managed to build an amateur team that is the envy of a lot of the biggest clubs in Ireland, it is also home to The Rumble in Rush! The Rumble is possibly the most highly regarded amateur show in Ireland, not for the lights (there are none), not for the big promotional push leading up to it (for there is also little of this), but for the well-matched fights that feature RFA’s finest vs the best of the rest of the Country. The little basketball court, packed full of Rush supporters and dedicated MMA fans from elsewhere plays witness to an electric atmosphere that fuels some of the most hotly contested fights that one could hope to see, a heaving, respectable and educated crowd shouting support for RFA’s favourite sons.
With Rush stepping back into the deep water of Pro MMA, the re-emergence of John Redmond and the highly anticipated debut of Neil Ward, fight fans can be assured that they are far better prepared for the rigours of professional MMA than their coach was. This commentator would also expect to see Paul Lawrence, Tommy Hogan and Adam Caffrey join their teammates in the top division before long for what has the makings of a frightening pro team.
For any coaches struggling to make a success of their MMA club they wouldn’t go far wrong by following the example of the red-headed, hot-headed man from Rush. Hard work and an iron will to succeed has made RFA what it is today, and what it will become tomorrow!
Pundit Arena, Stewart Dollery.