The Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association featured fighter of the week is none other than Alexander O’ Sullivan of C-MAC MMA under Head Coach and IMMAA Secretary and Commissioner Deano Wade. With 29 MMA fights under his belt, a record of 20 wins and 9 losses and former title holder across 5 fight promotions in 5 countries, Alexander is currently the most experienced amateur MMA fighter in Ireland and has accumulated more wins on his record than any other amateur Irish mixed martial artist.
Alexander was first introduced to martial arts at age 6 when he began training in Judo at Team Ryano HQ under Head Coach and IMMAA Chairman Andy Ryan before moving to Coolmine Judo Club under Ciaran Foley at age 9. He recalls being amazed at how quickly his skills improved when he remained focused in classes. At age 11 he began training in boxing at Mulhuddart boxing club where his mother Deborah also trained and his father Deano was working as a boxing coach. He began training in MMA at age 13 when his parents opened CMAC Mulhuddart MMA gym and continued to train in Judo and boxing simultaneously. He recalls facing difficulties at first in combining his martial arts skills for MMA stating “Transitioning between the different combat sports was a bit confusing in the beginning. It took some time to learn how to blend disciplines together by combining punching combinations with an entry to a Judo throw.” Alexanders many competitive accomplishments from his early teen years include winning the Dublin Boxing League tournament at age 12, at age 14 he won the Leinster Boxing Championships and placed second at the all Ireland Boxing Championships before going on to win the Dublin Boxing Tournaments and placing second again at the All Ireland Boxing Championships the following year. At age 16 he made the decision to cease boxing competitively in order to focus on his progression in MMA and also chose to begin training in K1 style kickboxing to incorporate kicking techniques into his skillset. At only 16 years old he competed at the Infusion K1 promotion and upon learning that he would be facing an adult opponent he claimed “It didn’t phase me to be fighting a man at all, in fact I didn’t feel any pressure because I remember thinking ‘Even if I lose I’ve got plenty of time to improve by the time I reach his age’”. Alexander was declared winner by unanimous decision and claimed the Infusion Bantamweight K1 title.
In November of 2014 Alexander made his MMA debut at age 16 on Ryoshin Fighting Championship in Dublin which he won via TKO in the third round. He went on to win his following three consecutive fights via first round rear naked choke, first round armbar and second round TKO respectively. After experiencing his first loss in MMA against Team Ryano fighter Eoghan Dromgoole via split decision Alexander went on to defeat Aaron Devlin of Team Torres BJJ, whom he describes as a strong opponent and skilled fighter, via majority decision from the judges. Having earned an impressive record of 5 wins and 1 loss Alexander was then offered the opportunity to fight for his first title belt in MMA. He faced New Era MMA fighter Daire Toman to win the Akuma Bantamweight championship belt, before going on to accumulate the Headhunters Bantamweight title, Shinobi Bantamweight Title, Adrenaline Featherweight Title and the Cage Ring Championship 70kg title in quick succession in the following 7 months. In November of 2016 Alexander was chosen to represent Team Ireland at the IMMAF European Championships in Prague shortly after losing possession of his Adrenaline Featherweight Title to Welch fighter Rory Evans via decision, which Alexander maintains was a blessing in disguise as he felt the loss humbled him and ensured he did not travel to the IMMAF championships overconfident in his abilities. Alexander had only just turned 18 years old at his first IMMAF championships and competed against senior athletes as there were no junior divisions within IMMAF at the time. After three separate fights within three days which all went the distance, Alexander was awarded an IMMAF European bronze medal.
Upon returning to Ireland he was then submitted via first round armbar by Lee Hammond of SBGI on Battlezone FC and upon reflection stated “That fight against Lee was a much needed wake-up call for me. It made me realise that I needed to focus a lot more on my submission grappling.” This realisation paid off as he went on to submit Leon Hill of Full Power MMA via first round armbar on Cage legacy FC. Alexander then took a short notice fight on Headhunters FC in Scotland which he lost via corner stoppage in round 2. In February 2018 he faced Jack Maguire of MMA Cork on Cage Legacy FC and lost the bout via judges decision. He claims “After assessing my fight against Jack I realised that my takedown defence was a major weakness in my game that needed to be fixed. Jack had managed to take me down quite a few times in that fight, and so had some of the opponents I faced at the European championships previously. It was a matter of closing the hole in my game which was being exploited by my opponents.” Alexander then took a short break from fighting in order to focus on his upcoming leaving certificate examinations but continued to train regularly stating “Training was never a distraction for me, it doesn’t ever get in the way of my academic goals because it has been a part of my daily routine for such a long time.” The following Autumn he enrolled in Trinity College Dublin to pursue a degree in History.
In November 2018 he travelled to Bahrain to compete in the IMMAF MMA World Championships, but this time he was competing within the junior division for ages 18-21. Again he competed in three fights within three days of the competition and was defeated in the semi-finals, earning a bronze medal for Team Ireland. The following June he attended the IMMAF European Championships in Rome where he narrowly missed out on a gold medal in the finals by split decision, earning him a European silver medal. He then defeated Bulgarian fighter Alexander Yankov for the Akuma Fighting Championship interim featherweight title in Belfast before returning to the IMMAF World Championships in Bahrain in 2019 and receiving his second world championship bronze medal. Alexander’s current record within the IMMAF championships stands at 8-4 and he has earned medals at each of the four championships in which he participated, making him one of Team Ireland’s most successful international amateur MMA fighters of all time. On March 14th 2020 Alexander was due to fight fellow Team Ireland representative Soloman Simon of Team Ryano as the main event at Cage Legacy MMA until the Covid-19 pandemic forced the show to be postponed indefinitely.
Speaking of his upcoming plans Alexander insisted that he will be transitioning to the professional ranks in the near future. Although he has not yet decided which promotion to sign with he is currently weighing up his opportunities and is confident that his skills and work ethic will ensure a long lived and successful professional MMA career but also has plans to put his degree to good use stating “Professional fighting careers don’t last forever so there needs to be an alternative option to fall back on after I retire from MMA. My two main passions in life are fighting and history, so once my MMA career is behind me I would love to work in something along the lines of a history professor or researcher.”
Alexander comes from a renowned family of experienced fighters who are involved in combat sports from a number of perspectives. His father Deano Wade is the Head coach co-owner of C-MAC Mulhuddart MMA gym, Secretary and Commissioner of The Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association and a certified MMA judge and referee. His Mother Deborah O’ Sullivan also co-owns and coaches at C-MAC MMA, she is a former Team Ireland representative at the IMMAF MMA championships, former ISKA SuperBantamweight champion and is a highly regarded and IMMAF certified cornercare cutwoman. Deborah, Alexander and his younger sister Kiya are currently the only mother and child combination to ever compete at the IMMAF championships. In 2019 Kiya represented Team Ireland at the first ever IMMAF Youth MMA World Championships in Rome, earning a silver medal after submitting both of her first two opponents via armbar in the first round. Speaking of his family’s mutual passion for combat sports Alexander stated “My family have been a huge advantage to my MMA career. Especially now during lockdown it has been amazing to live with people who I can train with at home. Having family members who understand the importance and pressures of fighting, and the sacrifices that need to be made in order to succeed has been incredibly beneficial. Having MMA in common brings us closer together as a family, we train together, travel to competitions together and even watch UFC events on TV together on Sunday mornings. My Dad is my greatest role-model, he’s always there for me, guiding my career along and steering me on the right paths. My Mum is the glue that holds everything together, she looks after my fitness and nutrition plans during weight cuts, gives me massages after training and even wraps my hands before fights, without her everything would all fall apart. I feel very fortunate to be able to be a part of Kiya’s MMA journey, I love coaching her and watching her progression and I’m really excited to see how far she can go in the sport. Of course, my teammates in the gym have been absolute legends to train alongside, without them constantly pushing me to work harder everyday I couldn’t possibly be in the position I am in now ”
Speaking of his experiences of competing at the IMMAF MMA Championships on four separate occasions and totalling 12 fights Alexander claimed “IMMAF is the ultimate platform for amateur fighters. It broadens your knowledge of fighting and you get to experience all of the different skill sets and styles of so many nations. It’s an exciting format where nobody knows your reputation or has the time to study their opponents history or style, you simply get matched and have to put your skills to the test. It’s the best way for fighters to gain a huge amount of experience within a short space of time.”
When asked how he feels that MMA has benefited his life Alexander stated “MMA makes you both mentally and physically strong. It’s a great confidence booster to know that you are capable of handling yourself in difficult situations and provides you with a fit and healthy lifestyle. It is such an intense sport that nothing else in life can compare to it, I don’t get stressed by exams or hardships because my training has taught me that I can face anything life throws at me.”
The Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association are incredibly proud of Alexander’s vast accomplishments within MMA, both internationally and domestically and would like to wish him the very best of skills and luck in what we are certain will prove to be a prosperous and exciting professional MMA career.