Ryan Spillane Signs With Bellator, Wants James Haskell In Debut

Photo via IMMAF

Former IMMAF World Champion Ryan Spillane has signed a four-fight contract with Bellator MMA. After some detective work by Caoilte de Barra leaked the information on Twitter, Severe MMA confirmed the signing with both Bellator officials and Spillane himself.

Spillane trains out of SBG Cork City and competes in the heavyweight division under the guidance of Liam-Óg Griffin and John Kavanagh. After winning both the IMMAF European and World Championships in 2018 and then the IMMAF Oceania Open Championship in March of this year, Spillane decided that it was time to cut his teeth on the professional circuit.

“I was meant to turn pro after I won the 2018 European and World Championships, but after talking with John Kavanagh and my head coach Liam-Óg Griffin, we looked at my fights, and there were a few too many holes in my game.” Spillane explained. 

The 2019 IMMAF World Championship was to be the stage for Spillane to display the improvements he had made to his game, but it wasn’t to be for the Corkonian. After the disappointing outing on the world stage, Spillane continued to work on his skillset, culminating in an impressive 32-second TKO victory over Dane Alchin to claim the IMMAF Oceania Open title in Australia.

It was after that win over Alchin in March that Spillane and his team knew that it was now truly the time to turn professional. 

“I had kind of done everything on the amateur scene. I had won all my IMMAF tournaments, I had won my local belts. The decision was made that I’m ready to take the next step.”

After seeing and hearing the success stories of fellow SBG teammates, Bellator was the “obvious choice” of promotion for Spillane to sign with. 

“It was a no-brainer, really! From training up in Dublin, you hear words from certain fighters who are signed by certain promotions, and they tell you how they’re treated and stuff. Everyone across the board said that Bellator are the absolute best to work with! They pay the fighters the most. The fighters are treated the best. You can have your sponsors…it was a no brainer!”

While Ryan doesn’t know when or where he will make his professional and promotional debut, he does have an opponent in mind, and it’s a big name!

“The ideal fight for my debut would 100% have to be James Haskell! I’d love to be the man to welcome him to the Bellator roster and show him that MMA is a completely different sport. I think it would be a great first match for me. I’d run through him very easily!”

Spillane is certainly one to watch, and with a heap of big-name heavyweight veterans on the Bellator roster, it may not be long before we see him face some of MMA’s household names.

Andy is a multimedia reporter, interviewer, writer, with a strong focus on Irish MMA. Co-host of The Auld Triangle podcast. Follow Andy on Twitter (@andyste123) and Instagram (@andystevensonMMA).

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