John Kavanagh, SBG's head coach and the man who helped launch the UFC careers of #ConorMcGregor, #GunnarNelson, and Artem Lobov among others, has had his recent autobiography Win or Learn: MMA, Conor McGregor and Me: A Trainer's Journey, nominated for an Irish Sports Book of the Year award.
Co-authored by The42.ie sports journalist Paul Dollery, the book is a testament to how far mixed martial arts has progressed on the Emerald Isle. The book focuses on the life of Coach Kavanagh and his long road to success.
Beginning his journey in 1996 as a self-taught mixed martial artist, the SBG head coach has played a major role in the MMA's meteoric rise over the last 20 years in Ireland.
Many know John Kavanagh as the leading figure behind the success of Conor McGregor, but the Dublin native has been involved with MMA long before "Mystic Mac" came on the scene, and became Ireland's first ever black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, winning gold at the 2005 European BJJ Championship.
John Kavanagh has witnessed the MMA's rise in Ireland, so it was only fitting that when a national governing body for mixed martial arts was set up in Ireland, Kavanagh was announced as its president. The conception of the governing body was a major step forward for MMA in the nation.
The future of MMA in Ireland has never looked healthier. With a wealth of talent continuing to develop from the country, the success of athletes such as Conor McGregor has lead to "The Notorious" being seen as a national hero, proving the sport's standing with the Irish masses.
Although McGregor's recent run of fights have been on American soil, Dublin is currently preparing to host Bellator 169 at the 3arena on December 16, while Belfast will host UFC Fight Night 99 at the SSE arena on November 19.
Winning Irish Sports Book of the Year would only further highlight the incredible rise to prominence that MMA has enjoyed in Ireland, and it would add another honor to the career of Coach Kavanagh. Up against stiff opposition, the category also sees nominations for former Ireland rugby captain, Paul O'Connell and former Liverpool FC midfielder, Jason McAteer.