DUBLIN – John Kavanagh has often been described as the godfather of Irish MMA, a one-man movement that, over the course of a lifetime’s work and against staggering odds, fostered the sport’s evolution in his home country from a sideshow into a tangible outlet for young athletes to earn a living. The reality is a little less grandiose, but not entirely, because the SBG name is now synonymous with combat sports in Ireland and beyond. That said, Kavanagh’s journey is not just an engaging subplot in the larger narrative of the sport in Ireland. And, in fact, it is one of a prominent protagonist who inadvertently undertook a seismic endeavor. Along with men like Andy Ryan and Dave Roche, he midwifed the birth of MMA on the island and has remained at its vanguard. Almost two decades have passed since the Dubliner opened his first gym which, by his own admission, made the average shoebox seem spacious.
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