Shepherding The Masses: The Real Face Of BAMMA

Shepherding The Masses: The Real Face Of BAMMA

Since BAMMA 18, there has been a consistent presence on BAMMA broadcasts that has helped bind the events together. Taking you through the KOs, slams, punches, kicks and submissions is BAMMA lead presenter Andy Shepherd.

"Over the last few years I’ve been fortunate to host some incredible sporting events such as David Haye’s comeback fights, WWE’s United Kingdom Championship shows and of course BAMMA’s events.

Some may not know that I’m also at work behind the camera as a TV Producer and Director, working on a variety of projects, from feature documentaries on the likes of Mo Farah through to sketches for The Late Late Show with James Corden. I’m fortunate to work on projects that I genuinely love.

Looking back at the start of my career, I’d always had ambitions of being a TV presenter, but was never quite sure how to achieve it. BAMMA actually gave me one of my first ever gigs, hosting a ring girl competition for BAMMA 4. Following that I went off and became SBTV’s sport’s presenter, that lead to being on CBBC’s Blue Peter: You Decide which in turn helped me land a gig on Dave’s Red Bull Cliff Diving. I’ve been very fortunate. Things came full circle at the start of 2015 when BAMMA called and asked me to join them."

Joining the BAMMA team in Wolverhampton, one of Andy’s first bouts witnessed a star in the making as Cheick Kone swept aside ‘The Housewives Choice’ Chris Fields in destructive fashion..

"I remember my first BAMMA as presenter, it was BAMMA 18 in Wolverhampton. I was brought in and was trying to get the exact pronunciations of the fighters that were appearing… the main event of Tom Duquesnoy vs Krzzystof Klaczek was a bit of a test! I remember the crowd being electric and enjoying every minute of it… I think I just said people’s names VERY quickly to get round pronouncing them incorrectly…."

Now a regular anchor on the broadcasts, Andy has covered some incredible BAMMA bouts.

"I’ve got the best seat in the house at BAMMA events and I’ve been witness to so many incredible bouts. BAMMA 4 was the first MMA event I’d even attended and the main event of Alex Reid vs Tom Watson is still high on my list of great fights.

Anytime Tom Duquesnoy steps into the cage, you know it’s going to be exciting, his match against Brendan Loughnane at BAMMA 22 is one everyone should watch."

Moving forward with the brand, Shep is also involved in the production of the BAMMA Bound TV segments for each event, and also works with the various co-presenters of the show, such as former Heavyweight champion David ‘Hayemaker’ Haye and Paddy ‘The Hooligan’ Holohan.

"I get to work with an amazing team at BAMMA. David Haye and Paddy Holohan are our regular co-hosts, both are incredible guys who’ve achieved so much and have become good friends. It’s always an education watching the fights with them; they see things that, unless you’ve been in there yourself, you wouldn't notice. We’re always talking through the fights, discussing points, and hearing their thoughts is a real pleasure. Both are a great laugh as well, it doesn’t seem like work with them, it’s just a night out discussing a sport we all love… and then of course there’s a couple of pints after…"

Outside of BAMMA Andy recently secured the job of ring announcer for the WWE in the UK.

"Earlier this year I landed a dream gig when WWE asked me to be part of the broadcast team for their UK Championship Tournament.

I’ve been a life long pro wrestling fan - at my parents house I have piles and piles of wrestling magazines and VHS tapes. Until I left university, becoming a pro wrestler was a genuine consideration of mine. Last year I was making a sketch for The Late Late Show in which James Corden’s parents visit a WWE event in London. While I was there I worked with some of WWE’s producers and asked who I might send some examples of my hosting work to.

Fast forward a few months and I’m getting a call from Michael Cole offering me the opportunity to work with them. I can’t put into words how it felt to get that call, walk out on the first night of the UK Championship Tournament and when someone like Triple H congratulates you after the show… it’s crazy. I can’t say enough good things about everyone involved in those shows and indeed the other WWE announcers and hosts I’ve met since, Tom Phillips, Mike Rome, Greg Hamilton, Charly Caruso and of course Michael Cole have been incredibly supportive and welcoming."

And some final words from Andy

"I’m incredibly proud to be part of the BAMMA team. The shows gets better and better each time.. I’m not sure how that’s possible but they do it. Landing a new TV deal with UKTV’s DAVE has been great. To be able to bring the sport to the masses, live and prime time is what MMA needs. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’re discovering MMA through us and that’s a win for the entire sport."

Connect with Andy Shepherd:
Twitter: @andyjshep