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Paddy Holohan on relationship breakdown with John Kavanagh: ‘He didn’t have my back’

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Jerry McCarthy, KO TV Media

DUBLIN — Former UFC fighter Paddy Holohan doubts he will be able to rekindle his relationship with SBG head coach John Kavanagh.

Mixed-martial-artist turned politician Holohan successfully launched his autobiography, Hooligan, in Dublin on Monday night at an event attended by training partners, friends, family and fans.

Although he hinted at a rift with Kavanagh in a previous interview with ESPN following his election to the South Dublin County Council, in Hooligan, the former UFC flyweight sheds light on the breakdown of his relationship with the celebrated coach.

At the launch event, Holohan discussed the situation in an appearance on MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“I think what happened was, a huge group of people went and did something really, really great together and I feel like a lot of that is forgotten about,” Holohan explained on the latest episode of Eurobash.

“John doesn’t really talk about us and talk about the lads that put the situation where it is now…with me and John, for many years I had worked for the man and I had jumped through hoops for the man—many more hoops than he jumped through for me—he taught me the way. A coach and fighter is a two-way process. At the start it’s a one-way street, you’re learning from the coach and the coach gives you attention and time, but then it becomes a two-way street and that’s when it went wrong.”

Hooligan describes how a joint business venture led to the final fallout between the Dubliners, and Holohan underlined how he felt that Kavanagh didn’t have his back when it mattered most.

“I had John’s back for many years and when it came time for him to have my back, he didn’t; he sat on the fence. When it came time to rectify it, we were asked for a fee of €5000 ($5555). To me, it’s not about the f*cking money, it’s about the control—you pay me and that means I’m above you—that’s all it is,” said Holohan. “There have been many ways that John could’ve stepped in and done the right thing, but unfortunately, he didn’t. It doesn’t make me bitter, I’m just sorry that I put so much time and so much respect and love into something and I didn’t get the return from it.”

“The Hooligan” also claimed that he thinks it would be difficult to make amends with Kavanagh.

“Even if you listen to his Ariel Helwani interview and he asked him [if we could repair the relationship], [John] said, ‘Sure’. I think that answered it. We’re all from Dublin, we’re not stupid; we know body language. With John, I don’t think [we can repair the relationship]. I don’t think he’ll ever cross that bridge. Whatever happened on his side, in his situation, he thinks something else, something different [happened]. But the situation was and still is, you should’ve had my back when you said you’d have my back when I went out and I put my whole life on the line, my whole career. If that gym had failed off the back of that, I would’ve had no livelihood. I have a kid, I have kids, so what would I be doing? I couldn’t make up with someone who took a shot at my livelihood.”

Hooligan is available internationally as of Nov. 4.

Check out Paddy Holohan’s interview from Eurobash. It begins at 53.00.

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