Northern Ireland news

Former mixed martial arts fighter turns politician

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Paddy "The Hooligan" Holohan, who has been selected to run in the local elections in May for Sinn Féin, at his SDG Gym in Tallaght, Dublin. Picture by Niall Carson, Press Association
Michelle Devane, Press Association

A FORMER Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter is getting ready for a battle of a different kind as he prepares to step into the Irish political arena.

Dubliner Paddy Holohan, who fought five times in the UFC, has decided to run in the upcoming local elections in the Republic in May.

He announced his candidacy for Sinn Féin on Thursday.

Mr Holohan, who was known as The Hooligan when he was a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, described himself as an "accidental politician".

He said he got so frustrated by watching what was happening politically in the country that he felt he had to do something.

"I mistakenly fell into it," he said. "I'm an accidental politician."

He said it was difficult for young people in Dublin to picture a future when the cost of living in the capital was so high.

He added he owned a gym but could not afford to buy a house.

The 30-year-old spent a lot of time in Lenadoon in west Belfast as a child in the early 1990s.

He said it gave him a valuable insight into life both north and south of the border.

"When I used to go up there I had a big Ronnie Drew accent so sometimes I had to keep down my accent in places that we were. It was kind of weird for a kid to be going through," he said.

He took up jujitsu and MMA when he was 17-years-old because he "wanted to do something with his life".

"When I made that decision to get my act together, that's when my life changed," he said.

Mr Holohan was forced to retire from the UFC in 2016 due to a rare blood disorder. He now runs his own gym, SBG Dublin 24 in Tallaght.

He is running in the Tallaght South electoral area of South Dublin County Council.

Sinn Féin local election candidate Paddy "The Hooligan" Holohan at his gym in Dublin. Picture by Niall Carson, Press Association

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