If this doesn't melt your heart, you're a robot. MMA fighter Cathal Pendred is due to make his UFC debut in the O2 Dublin next Saturday in front of a sold-out audience. No doubt the man is deep in training and it's looking to be a cracker of a fight.

Pendred's mother, Siobhan, wrote an open letter about her son and the momentous support she'd given him down through the years. We're more than delighted to share it with everyone, completely unedited and in her own words.


It’s a good few years ago since I attended my first Cathal fight. I attended but I didn’t have much off a look, to tell the truth. I remember giving Pádraig and his pals a lift to the Venue in Glasnevin Industrial Estate.

When I got home I was thinking that as this fight was being held in the neighbourhood I could easily return to get some idea of ‘What’s It All About?’ So back I went and snuck in, staying at the very back of the complex at the T-Shirt stand. When Cathal’s fight was on, I asked one of the T-Shirt sellers to let me know when it was nearly over – explaining that that was my son up there and I couldn’t bear to look.

Cathal won- as he does - and I had my first taste of the exciting atmosphere that is part and parcel of an MMA Fight I came out of my hiding place and moved up front, on time to see Cathal’s hand raised. Then he spotted me and couldn’t believe I was one of the crowd.

After ‘Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway’ I went on to see him fight and win in Belfast, Tallaght, Glasgow and the Helix. His fights have also taken place in Cork, Jordan, Cardiff and London – and they are the ones I remember. It was the start of me becoming one of his die- hard fans. I came to grips with the MMA terminology and developed some understanding of kos, rear naked chokes, jiu-jitsu, ground and pound, takedowns, armbars; submissions, decisions and the dreaded tap-out. I was also in on the inside joke of Randy Couture bearing a marked resemblance to “The Punisher “(Randy and I were born in the same year!) and the implication that he could be a blood relative as well as Cathal’s hero.

No Comment! SBG along with John and all the crew is his other home and family. Cathal first got the MMA bug when he was working in San Diego in 2007.

His ‘bug’ turned into a real passion and as a family we offered all the support and encouragement that we could, when we realised that MMA was here to stay. I am partial – I am the Mama, after all – but Cathal deserves great respect with juggling college, a part-time job and intensive training and fighting for four years. In the summer he would head off to the States to keep up to speed with fresh ideas that he found there.

Later he would go to Iceland with Coach John and team mates for intensive training. Pádraig as well as being the ‘little’ brother has always been the big brother’s right hand man ( and many of his friends are more than loyal supporters who have travelled far and wide to cheer the Bro on). After the cutting weight regime (which becomes second nature) I was always glad to check in with Padraig to hear that yes he had made weight.

Cathal had a dream – he wanted to advance to the UFC. He had set his goal and was determined to see it through. He had/has all the ingredients to succeed:- commitment; determination; motivation; discipline and zeal. The ability to recover form setbacks is there too. I was impressed with the training regime that includes mental training as well as physical. A healthy mind in a healthy body is the way to go. Over the years I have seen my son sustain and develop the qualities that help him succeed over and over again. It is a combination of who he is and what he has as an individual – it is also in no small part due to the top notch SBG, John and its members.

Last Summer Cathal had a second fight in the Helix at DCU where he had just finished his final year exams. He added another victory to his record and was appealing to Dana White post fight (and through a very active twitter campaign) to get a shot at the UFC. Even I played my part!

Hours before the fight I bought a white t-shirt and handed it it at a printing booth to have the words” PENDRED UFC “emblazoned on it. John invited me in to stand with Cathal after the fight (I joined him and was mortified for a full 5 minutes). When the invite wasn’t forthcoming John suggested to Cathal to try out for TUF 19 and the rest is history.

After getting the buy into the house he got a win over Urbina and I have to say he gave Gordon a lot more food for thought in their semi-final fight than he got last week in the TUF 19 Las Vegas Finale against Dhiego.The split decision went against him. But the story doesn’t end there! Dana White was sufficiently impressed to put Cathal on the Dublin Card with three of his team mates and he is now signed up to the UFC to fight in front of a home crowd.

He has realised the first part of his dream. This day next week I know Cathal will show us who really is “King”. Cathal means ‘Mighty in Battle’ and we didn’t choose his name by accident!

Siobhán Farrelly July 12th 2014


Excuse us, we need to check on these onions we cut earlier.