Girls to Watch in Irish MMA 2019: Kiya O’Sullivan

I am probably the only person in County Galway  that is thankful Indra Davis has an ACL injury at the moment.

One of the side benefits of her injury (for me!) is that she kindly took the time out of her already busy professional and family life to Interview three young women for Combat Arena. Three athletes for the future, who we think are worth keeping an eye on 2019.

For those of you not already aware of it, Indra is also fighter and coach at Shaolin MMA in Galway, a club she runs with her husband Ben Davis.

Despite appearances I have a couple of loose rules about interviewing people. One of the those rules, would be normally steering away from interviewing or indeed writing about men and women under the age of 21.

However when you get the brainwave to write about three talented future stars, they are hardly going to be aged 52 – the clue is in the title!

As we have delved through the world of Women in Combat over the last few months and the series of Interviews we have published, one thing has become clear – a lot of the female martial artists that are making waves in the amateur ranks are very talented and some are still teenagers.

The fact that Indra was available and willing to interview the athletes is the reason I am comfortable publishing the material. I know the Interviews have been handled with care.

My hesitancy on interviewing or publishing material on young people in general involves a couple of concerns. The lack of life experience is one thing. The vulnerability factor is another. Young fighters tend to be refreshingly open which is a double edged sword. A casual comment or quote today can be words that come back to haunt them in a few years time. Hell a few weeks time.

The other X factor is that bullying in the 21st century has moved from the street to social media. With the explosion of online sports blogging in recent years, which now runs alongside the more traditional media reporting, athletes of all types have more opportunities to see their words in print.

Petty jealousies, harsh criticism and commentary of these printed words can lead to god only knows what on-line. In short bloggers ( like myself) and writers need to be mindful that the story they write doesn’t become another obstacle that a young athletes has to deal with.

Any way with that said we are excited to bring you Kiya O’Sullivan as our first Interview subject. We will be following this with Interviews with Lola Safronova and Sinead ni Nuallain tomorrow and Thursday. Apologies to all three ladies that I have taken so long to get them published!


Kiya O’Sullivan 

Kiya is training out of C-Mac in Mulhuddert where head coach is also Kiya’s dad Deano Wade.  Deano and the C-Mac gang are no strangers to any of you that follow the Irish amateur MMA scene. Kiya is one of about a group of 6 girls in the 15-21 age bracket that are training in C-MAC at the moment.


Kiya’s mother, Deborah O’Sullivan, also has some serious martial arts pedigree having fought in both K1 and amateur MMA and is an inspiration to her teenage daughter.

” If she can do it, it gives me the confidence that I can do it too”

2018 was a big year for Kiya as it saw her competing for the first time in some the adult divisions of No-Gi. Competing and medalling I might add. Align this to the fact that she is already gold medalling at her age category

Tournament organisers have not been slow to notice her talent as she has been motoring through the gradings at No-Gi and is already being matched as an advanced adult and medalling.

Indra referenced the Midlands MMA Novice Open in August and the DCU as competitions where competing clubs sat up and took notice. Kiya was one of 7 of the C-MAC team to Gold on the day at the Midlands Open.

” Everyone got a fair shock when we heard what age you actually are! “

Kiya doesn’t turn 16 until April.

Kiya enjoys training with both the boys and girls in the club and finds that the extra strength of the guys helps her prepare for her competitions.

Boxing, judo and Jiu-jitsu are all disciplines that Kiya has been involved with growing up. Pushed on a favorite she points to slight favoritism for striking followed closely for No-Gi as she has improved a lot in this area in the last two years.

Obviously on the MMA front it will be a couple of years before she hits the regular MMA adult amateur scene but she has already had a successful experience  in a cage fight and thoroughly enjoyed the slightly different experience of fighting on a promotional show.

Indra noted that the C-MAC gang are a particularly tight bunch as they travel around the country competing.

” Yeah we all have each others back. we win together and lose together”

Clearly Kiya is a teenager that thoroughly seems to enjoy the sporting path she is on and MMA is definitely where she see’s herself competing in the years to come. She has a great family and club support structure around her, in any athletic endeavour,  this is always great thing to have.

Not a lady to rest on her laurels, her next outing is on March 9th in Mullingar where she is competing in K1 and we wish her and her opponent Abbie Fitzpatrick well and safe passage.










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