The Irish MMA Tapes

The Irish MMA Tapes is an archive video collection of Irish MMA footage that was recorded by Dean Kelly throughout various dates in 2008 & 2009. Including, Conor McGregor’s very first interview.

If you are interested in licensing MMA footage or the Conor McGregor Interview for your production you can contact our archive team here.

Archive collection of Irish MMA Tapes.

So back then in 2008, the internet wasn’t what it is today and Conor McGregor wasn’t a MMA superstar. Events would get recorded onto tape and be left aside to be edited at a later stage. There was no instant demand and no way to share quickly. So a lot of this footage has yet to be viewed by anyone. All the footage was recorded on to MiniDv cassette tape using a Sony PD150 video camera. The footage would then need to be transferred to a computer in real time. There are over 30 hours of RAW footage which until recently was yet to be digitized.

screen shot of John Kavanagh in a video posted to youtube in 2009.

Before all the fame and hype that surrounds the MMA scene now, Dean became a fly on the wall at the Straight Blast Gym, on the Long Mile Road. Documenting Tom Egan’s journey was the main focus, but having the desire to create content resulted in Dean documenting a lot more. This was one of the very early SBG gyms and on the 1st of August 2008 it opened its doors when John Kavanagh held the first BJJ class of that building. Dean was there to document the training session and create a promo video for the gym. In Jan 2009 he uploaded it to his YouTube Channel. The quality of the upload is very poor, but gives a good insight into a time long before high speed, high quality, internet uploads.

Crowds gather to watch Paddy Holohan win his fight.

Good to be a fly on the wall back then. As well as been in n’ around SBG, Dean documented various MMA fight events. From the halls of local GAA clubs to the bright lights of The National Stadium and also a couple of road trips up to Northern Ireland for various events. The Irish MMA scene was very RAW and so is the footage. Looking back at the footage now its amazing to imagine that no one knew where any of this was going to end up.

Back then recording events was rugged, there was no fancy equipment, no budgets, just raw recordings of an MMA fighting scene recorded on to a collection tapes, the Irish MMA Tapes! For one event, a camera jib was hired and at the time that was next level stuff. There was no internet to broadcast instantly, life was documented and life went on. When the event was over people just got ready for the next event.

The following two events were documented in full

Also on the card representing Ireland against Belgium was Aisling Daly aka Ais The Bash Daly , Gary Morris, Steve McCombe, Colin Laird, Emmet McHally, Dave Kelly, Tom Maguire and Conor McGregor

03-05-2008 Cage Rage Contenders, The National Stadium. Feat. Conor McGregor

Ireland’s local SBG Owen Roddy stole the show with his main event win against Belgium’s Amin El Allali. Also on the card representing Ireland against Belgium was Aisling Daly aka Ais The Bash Daly , Gary Morris, Steve McCombe, Colin Laird, Emmet McHally, Dave Kelly, Tom Maguire and Conor McGregor. Conor had a serious TKO win over Mo Taylor.

MMA fans gather to watch Paddy Holohan won his fight. Conor McGregor was also fighting at this event but lost his fight by tap out

28-06-2008 Cage Of Truth III, Feat. Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor didn’t have as much luck when he lost to Artemij Sitenkov by tap out. Nevertheless it was an action packed event, with some great fights. Paddy Holohan made is MMA debut and had a great win. Gunnar ” Gunni ” Nelson was also at the event showcasing his grappling skills. Gunnar Nelson was awarded his brown belt for Brazilian jiu-jitsu by John Kavanagh and at the age of 19, he was one of the youngest Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belts in the world.

Tom Egan interview in 2008 before his debut UFC MMA fight for UFC 93. Tom Egan and Conor McGregor trained together in SBG

Tom Egan made history on January 17, 2009 becoming the first Irish fighter to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship an American mixed martial arts.

The bulk of the footage features a very young Tom Egan and documents various stages of his training camp leading up to his UFC debut fight against John Hathaway for the UFC 93 event which took place in The O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.

This screen grab is from an interview with Tom on the 15th November 2008, recorded in Tom’s back yard gym, in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

Universal Pictures tweets screen shot of Conor McGregor footage filmed by Dean Kelly. Used in his movie Notorious

Although a lot of this footage has yet to been seen, there have been various clips of Conor McGregor’s archive footage licensed to various productions over the years. The footage has appeared in the following productions;

  • The Notorious: The Series (2015)
  • UFC Presents, Bad Blood: Aldo vs. McGregor. (2015)
  • UFC 189: Mendes vs. McGregor Promo (2015)
  • Conor McGregor: Notorious (2017)
  • UFC 246: McGregor vs Cowboy Promo (2020)
  • Snapchat’s docuseriesConor McGregor Vs the World” (2020)
Conor McGregor first interview with Dean Kelly in 2008. Conor McGregor dreams to be number one and predicates his future
Archive video footage collection, The Irish MMA Tapes

Conor McGregor’s first ever interview was with Dean Kelly. It was recorded in a back bedroom in Newbridge, Co. Kildare on the 17th of December 2008. In this interview, Conor McGregor predicted his future. It was a 20 minute interview but only the first 5 minutes of the interview was uploaded to Dean Kelly Photography’s YouTube channel on the 27th December 2013, it went viral which was great but the down side of this was lots of big named channels and various media outlets started to re-upload the video on their own channels. It got out of control so Dean made the video private and begin issuing take down notices to have it removed from channels that uploaded it without permission. It took two years to get it back under control. Then later in November 2017, it was re-uploaded to The Irish MMA Tapes channel.

Young Conor Mcgregor posing for the camera in 2008. Archive video footage collection, The Irish MMA Tapes

“I’m going to have more money than I know what to do with”

Conor McGregor 2008

Video camera used to interview Conor Mcgregor in 2008. Archive video footage collection, The Irish MMA Tapes

The Irish MMA Tapes

This is the Sony PD-150 MiniDV Video Camera that was used to document the early Irish MMA days. To view preview clips check out The Irish MMA Tapes YouTube Channel