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Who is Leah McCourt? What you need to know about the MMA fighter

LockerRoom Team
07 March 2023

Leah McCourt is a professional MMA fighter hailing from Northern Ireland. A former IMMAF World and European Amateur MMA Champion, McCourt currently competes in Bellator MMA and is also a black belt in Judo.

Early days in Combat Sports

McCourt's father introduced her to Judo when she was a little child. She grew up in Belfast in a council estate. She gave up judo at age 11 and spent all of her free time competing on ponies and horses in Northern Ireland and at venues like Balmoral and the Dublin Horseshow.

She was forced to ride troublesome horses that others wouldn't want to buy because of her family's financial difficulties. When McCourt was a teenager, she discovered she had a horse allergy, which forced her to give up her interest of riding horses.

After becoming a single mother and giving birth to her daughter, Isabella, she initially began training at an MMA gym when she was 18 years old.

McCourt, the first female athlete to be given a clothing contract from the UK, got an exclusive multi-year deal with Everlast for fight sports apparel and equipment.

Success at IMMAF World Championships

McCourt began her career in mixed martial arts with Clan Wars MMA, making her debut on June 7, 2014, at Clan Wars 19. She defeated Sarah Louise Scott via armbar submission.

After this, the Irish fighter had plenty of success on the IMMAF Stage having won the European Championship and World Championship Gold medal.

She defeated Sini Koivunen and Mia Isola to win the IMMAF - European Open Championships in November 2015. McCourt defeated Yvonne Chow (by Kimura submission), Taryn Conklin (by Kimura submission), and Julia Dorny (by TKO) to win the IMMAF - 2016 IMMAF World Championships in November 2016.

Turning Professional

In Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 85 on June 24, 2017, McCourt made her professional MMA debut. In Round 2, she was defeated by Rizlen Zouak through TKO.

In Cage Warriors 94 on June 16, 2018, McCourt competed and defeated Manon Fiorot in a split decision. Following this victory, McCourt agreed to a six-fight contract with Bellator MMA.

McCourt has been quite successful in Bellator having competed multiple times in the promotion. She made her Bellator debut with a TKO win against Hatice Ozyurt and secured wins over Kerry Hughes, Judith Ruis, Janay Harding and Jessica Borga.

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Her first loss in the promotion came against Sinead Kavanagh at Bellator 275 after which she bounced back strongly against Dayana Silva.

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What do you think of the journey of Leah McCourt so far? Let us know in the comments below.

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