It looked like a fitting send off for Irish MMA legend Neil Seery. However news just arrived that it wasn’t to be. Ian McCall has pulled out with a stomach complaint. UFC Belfast will be all the poorer for the absence of Seery and it appears the UFC are scrambling for a replacement; but the chances are devastatingly slim.
Ian McCall has come down with illness and his #UFCBelfast fight with Neil Seery is off. Seriously.
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) November 18, 2016
Nevertheless Seery will receive his fight purse but the perfect ending to his colourful career has faded slightly in the aftermath of the news. Seery, as professional as ever, weighed in at 126lb for the bout.
If this retirement is set in stone, it is a sad day for the Team Ryano fighter; but he was there to fight and ready to compete – as was his trademark.
Social media has been relatively quiet apart from the confirmation of Seery’s weigh in.
Seery can hold his head high. With all the commitments of a working man he remained professional. There is no doubt he, along with his coach Andy Ryan, put in the long hours and tailored his regime around his work day. There is something a little bit special in that fact; the UFC is not his full time occupation yet he was as dedicated, if not more so, than many full time fighters.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised! Seery has been steadfast in his commitment to the craft of MMA. Never a fighter for excuses he took the good and bad times on the chin and rolled forward. It is little wonder he is revered in the Irish MMA circles.
If this is goodbye, well, he has left a high benchmark indeed. One can only speculate on the heights he could have climbed if timing and circumstance were on his side.
Seery and the Team Ryano family can take heart. When his final battle rolled into Belfast, he was there, prepared and ready for war. As he has always been. Whether we will see another with the heart and will of the Finglas native is hard to say.
However the real winners here are the next generation. Because the game has transcended the cold empty halls of yesterday because of Seery and his peers such as McGregor, Daly, Pendred and Paddy Hoolihan.
One can only hope Seery receives the accolades he deserves. His story is truly inspiring because the hurdles he faced were so much higher. It’s a story we all know and maybe in his retirement the real impact of his achievements will hit hardest. It’s been a bumpy and a rocky road for Neil Seery but we have little doubt navigate the terrain the he always had; by walking forward regardless of what stands in his way.