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14th Nov 2018

Clareman Sam Slater makes his case for clash with Geordie Shore star

Slater recently signed with Bellator

Darragh Murphy

Most of you will not have heard of Tuamgraney, Co. Clare but you’re going to hear plenty about Sam Slater.

Slater hails from the East Clare village but had never trained in mixed martial arts in his home county. That changed when he moved to Dublin for college and caught the fight bug.

The 24-year-old graduated from Trinity College with a bachelor’s degree in science but he is now solely focused on the cage rather than the lecture hall, explaining to SportsJOE that his “heart was in the sport rather than my education.”

“I’ve been training out of Straight Blast Gym for six years,” the soft-spoken Slater said. “I had wanted to do it since I was 15 or so and then when I moved to Dublin for college at 18, I had no excuse not to try it. Freshers’ week came and I started training.

“I started out at a smaller SBG but moved to the bigger gym with some of the guys who came up with me. Guys like Elliot Levy and Fionn Healy-Magwa have always been my consistent training partners and now they’re some of my best friends.”

Slater is 2-0 in professional mixed martial arts after successfully transitioning from a glittering amateur career which saw him represent Ireland at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation World Championships and claim a couple of domestic lightweight titles.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt was one of several Irish fighters to be snapped up by Bellator in recent months and while he has yet to be booked for his promotional debut, Slater has the perfect opponent in mind.

Slater made waves over the weekend when he called out divisive reality show star and fellow unbeaten pro, Aaron Chalmers.

“It’s always been the case since he started fighting that I wanted to fight him,” Slater said. “I was an amateur when he started fighting for BAMMA and I wasn’t officially signed to a BAMMA contract. Now we’re both signed to Bellator and it’s something of a no-brainer so I thought I’d float the idea out there and see if I got a yes or no.

“I don’t just want to fight him because he has a high profile from Geordie Shore. As professionals, we’re close in terms of experience because he’s 4-0 and I’m 2-0 and I think it’s time for him to be tested in a real fight.

“He’s a bigger guy and I don’t take him lightly at all but I’m happy to meet him at a catchweight if he’s up for it.

“I’m not putting all my eggs in the Chalmers basket though. There are plenty of other legitimate fights I can get elsewhere but it just made sense for me to call him out.”

Slater concedes that it’s “probably a good thing” that Chalmers is bringing some mainstream attention to MMA because of his previous career as a reality TV star but is wary of the kind of fans that might cross over to the sport and fail to understand its intricacies.

Whether it’s Chalmers or not, Slater intends to take his first steps in the Bellator cage next year.

He said: “I was delighted when Bellator came calling. The offer came through John Kavanagh and I didn’t rush into anything. I took my time to consider my options but my goal was always to fight in either the UFC or Bellator so I was really happy with the deal.

“It’d be great if I get to share the cage with Chalmers for my first Bellator fight but it’s no big deal if it doesn’t happen.

“I’m quietly hoping that Bellator comes to Ireland in early 2019 and I’ll be pushing really hard to get myself on that card. If that doesn’t come off then let’s do Italy or anywhere in Europe.

“But I’d really love to get to fight in Dublin because I haven’t had the chance to compete much in Ireland and I know I’d get a lot of support up from Clare to see me do my thing.”