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John Kavanagh to link up with likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov to form new MMA team

The venture is being backed by the fifth son of the King of Bahrain.

SBG Ireland boss John Kavanagh is one of the world's leading mixed martial arts coaches.
SBG Ireland boss John Kavanagh is one of the world's leading mixed martial arts coaches.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

JOHN KAVANAGH IS to play a key role in the establishment of a new mixed martial arts team, which will be financially supported by the fifth son of the King of Bahrain.

Kavanagh, who is head coach to Conor McGregor, Gunnar Nelson and several more UFC stars at Dublin’s Straight Blast Gym, has been contacted by representatives of Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa with a view to getting involved with KHK MMA.

The new team will aim to bring together a host of top fighters from around the world, varying from up-and-coming prospects to established professionals competing in leading organisations such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

They have already secured the services of UFC lightweights Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev, while two of Ireland’s most promising young fighters will also be part of the team.

James Gallagher and Frans Mlambo, both of whom lit up the recent IMMAF Amateur World Championships in Las Vegas, will continue their development as part of KHK MMA while remaining under John Kavanagh’s stewardship. Kavanagh says he will also contribute with regular seminars and training camps.

“This is a very exciting development for MMA and it offers a unique opportunity for these fighters. It’s something I’m privileged to be involved in and I think the potential here is enormous,” Kavanagh told The42.

“The people behind this venture are clearly passionate about the sport and I’ve been very impressed by their enthusiasm. This will give young fighters, such as James and Frans, the ability to achieve their goal of reaching the top without having to cope with financial concerns.”

UFC Orlando UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov. Source: Reinhold Matay

Former UFC fighter Alex Soto will also be part of the team, along with Russian prospect Eldar Eldarov, top US amateur Jose Torres and Bahraini duo Hamza Kooheji and Mohammed Shahid.

No further details have been disclosed thus far but a press conference is expected to take place in Bahrain on Saturday, 15 August, when more information will be revealed.

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Paul Dollery

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