At the age of 22, most people are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives or struggling to stay afloat while juggling the responsibilities of the real world. However, Harry Shoebridge has been part of the Mixed Martial Arts industry since his teens and plans on following his passion for years to come. Though working as both a promoter AND fighter can be draining, Shoebridge’s dedication to the cause and demeanor have kept him smiling no matter how tough times get in his unique position.
Shoebridge took some time to talk with Five Ounces of Pain where he discussed his work with British organization Ultimate Challenge MMA, what it’s like balancing his work in/out of the ring, a near run-in with an angry Ken Shamrock, fighters from England to watch out for, and more…
For folks who may not know, what exactly goes into promoting a show?
I get asked this question a lot of the time. The main thing I believe that goes into promoting a show is the love for the sport along with a lot of dedication, hard work and having a great team working with me.
Why fight when you also have a career on the business side of things?
*laughs* I actually started off as a fighter – that was my dream as a 15-year old watching UFC and Cage Rage on TV. My brother is friends with top UK fighter, Lee Murray and I went along to watch him fight in Wembley London to take on the current UFC Champ and pound-for-pound greatest fighter EVER Anderson Silva.
At 16, I started working for Cage Rage Promoter Dave O’Donnell helping out on the day of the events. Then, I started my fighting career at 18 and I became part of the team full time at 19 working behind the scenes, like on the website and posters.
I love promoting and putting on great events and reading online about how good it was. We walk away smiling, thinking we just pulled off 12 hard weeks of work and NOW on to the next.
You’re coming off of your first loss. Has that soured your interest in fighting or made you more hungry?
At first it really soured my interest. I felt really low and disappointed. I did think about going to make my money in putting on great events, but my partner who is always 100% behind me reminded me of my dream, which was to become a UFC fighter, so I dusted the gloves off and got back into the gym and I am now as hungry as a horse.
How do you balance the responsibilities of promotional work with time in the gym, training? What does your average day look like?
A nightmare! *laughs* First and foremost I have to make sure ALL work is done before going gym. I set my deadlines of what needs to be done that day and I won’t leave until it’s done. But, I am in the gym at 7:00 in the morning for a couple hours, in office from 9-5, and then back to gym from 7-9:30. I have a great team in the office and a great team in the gym so it really works out okay.
How does your experience as a fighter affect your approach to being a promoter?
I have a lot of pressure in that way, because people assume that a promoter should be really good fighter. I ain’t a great fighter – I am a good fighter who is still learning as I go along. I’m still only 22 but I look forward to tackling my opponent and the pressure on the night.
You’ve already spent a good portion of your life in the MMA game but are still fairly young. Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I would love to see myself either as a UFC star. I’m not bothered to become a champion. Just to make it to the UFC is a dream. And I’d love to help make UCMMA a worldwide, mainstream promotion because fighters have relatively short careers and deserve those opportunities.
It is probably safe to assume promoting shows doesn’t always go as planned whether it’s a matter leading up to the event or something that happens backstage. Can you share a memorable story about an experience you dealt with in that regard whether funny, a bullet you barely dodged, etc.?
A bullet I barely dodged would probably be Ken Shamrock. *laughs* At Cage Rage 25 at Wembley Arena, his son Ryan was fighting and Ken was watching from the changing room. Ryan lost and Ken was going crazy in the changing room just as I walked in on him. Needless to say I soon learned to knock on the next entry!
Fans already know names like Michael Bisping, Jimi Manuwa, and Ross Pearson based on their success in the UFC. Who are some other up-and-coming British fighters the public should keep an eye out for?
Some great fighters who should be on their way to the UFC who have fought for us are UCMMA Welterweight champion Jake Bostwick, TUF Smashes’ Bola Omoyele, and Michael Page who has just signed to fight in Bellator after just three fights at UCMMA.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
PLEASE PLEASE Check out UCMMA.com the UKs leading MMA promotion who has just joined up with Director of Tapout Films Bobby Razak. You can watch some great fights and knockouts on UCMMA Official YouTube channel so please subscribe and share guys. Last but not least, you can follow UCMMA on Facebook and on Twitter as well as follow me on Twitter @HitmanHarryMMA. Also checkout my Nutrition Brand on www.HitmanHarry.co.uk.
And to any up and coming fighters out there, feel free to message me on Twitter and start selling yourself if you want to join the UCMMA team.
PHOTO CREDIT – BLUEBEARDSREVENGE/UCMMA