Interview: The Made 4 The Cage Fight Academy

Image of cage fence, Made4TheCage

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks you'll no doubt be aware of the opening of the new Made4TheCage Fight Academy in Sunderland.

fight academy reece mcallister

The Fight Academy opened at the start of the year, offering a variety of different classes, along with coaching from some of the best fighters in the region.

The Academy however is about more than just giving professional fighters a place to train and hone their skills. It’ll also work with the community, offering young people in the area an opportunity to better themselves through combat sports.

We sat down with Made4TheCage Co-Promoter Steven Scott to talk about the Academy and what it offers.

M4TC – When did the idea for a Fight Academy come to you and Dale?
SS – It’s always been a thought, probably a year into the promotion. There have been things behind the scenes which have prompted us to bring it forward. But it wasn’t in our control, and we knew we had to get control of it first. The concepts always been there because obviously we’ve got the promotion. It was an easy idea to come up with because we didn’t know how successful Made4TheCage was going to be, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking, ‘if it does become successful this would be the obvious step, to open the gym up and share some of that success with the fighters and the people in the community’

M4TC – How did you decide on the premises, and how stressful was it getting everything set up?
SS – There’s a guy called Richie Hood who has a company called ‘Back to Basics’, which is a very good function fitness gym with all the tyres and things like what we have hear. He already had the gym and I’d trained hear a couple of times and we’d seen on Facebook that he was moving to another premises. So it was an easy choice as it was there. Like anything else in life I find its fate and karma. Like I said the concept has always been floating about but when it actually came about it was like ‘we can do this now’. And it’s fitted in perfect because the guy who had the premises was moving at the start of January, which is when everyone starts training at the beginning of the year. So it was easy, he was doing the transition himself, so it was stressful but not as much as you might think because the premises was basically clean.

M4TC – Can you talk about what people can expect when they walk through the doors of the gym?
SS – The name suggests that it’s an academy, and we want to get the best people around with the likes of Reece McAlister who coaching in front of us. We want people from all aspects whether that be jiu jitsu and thia. We invite people in, it makes sense to have an open policy because we run a show, and when we run a promotion like that you’ve got to be open to different types of gyms. We couldn’t have just one or two gyms fighting on our show, that would be too narrow. We want other coaches to come to the gym and train with some of our fighters.

M4TC – What other projects is the Academy going to get involved with?
SS – One of the other things that we want to try and do is share our success with the community. We’d like to try and get involved with like young people who are marginalised or disadvantaged and help them to come along and get involved. It’s better than them being on the streets or doing nothing or unemployed.

M4TC – You think combat sports can be beneficial to people like this?
SS – I think martial arts can be very beneficial. It helps develop your social skills, you’re dealing with people and you’re part of a team. That side of the business will actually be called ‘Positive Steps’. We’re going to have a community group that operates from here called positive steps and you know the name says it all. It’s positive because were sharing that success with people to become positive and it can be with anybody from the community whether its young lads or young lasses we want to start doing a couple of classes during the week you know. One of the other things which could be advantages if we could get a relationship is the with the Sunderland Youth Offending team. So I’ve been trying to get in touch with them. If I can get them to send some of the guys from their down hear and get inspired by the likes of us and the likes of Colin Fletcher or Reece McAllister with a grading system and belts you know, surely that would be more positive. The whole aspect of martial arts can help people have positive steps.

M4TC – So it seems this isn’t necessarily a money making project?
SS – That part of the business is not about the money. As long as we can pay for the electricity, pay for the toilet role  and the air freshener, we’ll open the door and invite people in. We always said from the start we’d never turn our backs on grass roots, and opening the doors to people who may have never ever tried mixed martial arts before and keep them interested in it.

M4TC – Finally how can people find out about the classes?
SS – You can find all this stuff on the Facebook, or Dales Facebook, so you can check out social media for that information. The doors are always open, anybody’s welcome. We’d ask everybody to come down and try us out.