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FBP 149: James McSweeney vs. Firouz Fakhri at MFC 24


Known primarily as an MMA fighter, James “The Sledgehammer” McSweeney has fought in all of the major mixed martial arts promotions around the world including the UFC (where he was a participant and the first pick of Team Rashad on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter), KSW, ONE FC, Legacy FC and many others. However, what some people tend to overlook is the fact that James is also extremely well versed in stand up fighting, having competed in Thai boxing since he was a teenager.

On January 27th in Izmir, Turkey, McSweeney made not only his return to professional fighting after a lengthy lay off due to an injury, but also his return to stand up fighting at Mix Fight Championship 24 against Iran’s Firouz Fakhri. Just after the weigh-ins I was able to track down James to get his thoughts on his upcoming fight. Here is what he had to say.

James, as always, is a great fighter to talk to. He’s one of the guys who “gets it”. If you didn’t hear my interview with him on episode 142, you definitely have to check it out. McSweeney is in rare form and absolutely gives Mariusz Pudzianowski a verbal dissection. But if I’m honest, as much as I do think it’s necessary for fighters to generate interest about their fights, I also think there’s a line between giving an interesting interview and becoming a cartoon character. What James does well is express himself and his personality in a very compelling way without stooping to the level of the “MayMac World Tour”.

At any rate, he seemed very confident and perhaps rightfully so. As you heard in the interview he absolutely does have a remarkable experience advantage and for someone approaching his 40’s, he looked to be in incredible physical condition. I was unable to find very much video footage of Fakhri’s fights online before MFC 24, so I was expecting an easy night at the office for McSweeney. So what was the result? To see the full fight between McSweeney and Fakhri, click the video below.

Well, I hate to say “I told you so” … , but I told you so. As you can see, McSweeney was obviously on another level than his opponent. Maybe this will serve as a tune up fight before he goes on to bigger and better things. Much respect for Fakhri for stepping into the MFC ring and for giving it his all against the Sledgehammer.

Having won the fight, James wasn’t about to call it a night just yet. Later on in the evening he returned to ringside and joined the Turkish broadcast team for commentary. I’m not sure why. You’d think they would rather have him on English commentary with me, since he … doesn’t …  speak … Turkish.


Mix Fight Championship promoter Sefer Göktepe was up to his old tricks again too. I absolutely love him for this. It’s something he likes to do at these events and sometimes it materializes and sometimes it doesn’t. But what he did, was get McSweeney in the ring and announce that his next opponent would be none other than decorated heavyweight kickboxer Zabit Samedov!! For those not in the know Samedov holds wins over some of the biggest names in the sport such as Badr Hari, Catalin Morosanu, Melvin Manhoef and most recently, Errol Zimmerman. Whether or not we’ll actually get this fight in MFC remains to be seen, but it’s definitely something I’d love to see! Check out the video of the confrontation below.

It’s still not clear when the exact date of the next MFC event is, but I have heard rumors that they plan on having at least three more events this year and perhaps even doing some of these events in different countries besides Germany, where they are based. Keep an eye on their official Facebook page for the latest updates.

- Daniel Austin (Don Roid) (blog) (podcast)



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