With BAMMA’s Belfast show looming, Alan Philpott is taking a career break

Alan ‘The Apprentice’ Philpott was one of the most eagerly anticipated additions to BAMMA 28 in Belfast following his ‘Fight of the Year’ defeat to Tom Duquesnoy last month.

Despite coming away from the clash with a loss, Philpott proved a worthy adversary to the Frenchman who was touted as one of the biggest prospects in MMA leading up to the contest.

While many will still be waiting to hear who Philpott will be matched with, in an exclusive with SevereMMA.com ‘The Apprentice’ revealed that he is taking a career break—something he believes will take his game to the next level before he chooses to return to the sport.

“I just don’t have the fight in me at the moment,” said Philpott.

“I’ve been doing this with no breaks for eight years. I’m 24-years-old and I’ve had 43 fights between amateur and pro. I’ve been in a bad place for the last year and I’ve been up and down for even longer than that.

“This year has been particularly bad. The fights got my mind off it. I feel like I was using the fights to runaway from what was going on with me outside of fighting. I think I was fighting for that distraction more so than to further my career.”

Although he has been calling for BAMMA to put on a show in Belfast for years, Philpott admitted that he would only be fighting on the card for the sake of it, which he believes is “not a good enough reason to fight”.

“If I fought on the Belfast card, it would be because the fight was in Belfast. That’s not a good enough reason to fight.

“I’m coming off one of the best fights of my life against an amazing opponent. I might have lost but the fight won ‘Fight of the Year’, and I know that was me not giving it my all.

“If I take this break from competition and work on all of the areas that I feel weakest in it could be massively beneficial to my career. If I focus on those areas, my conditioning, resting and learning without the stresses of cutting weight, I think I could be unbeatable when I get back.

“I think I still might compete in grappling competitions and maybe some K-1 fights, it will just be the MMA that I’ll take a break with. MMA is my career and I don’t want people to look at this break as anything negative. This is all positive.

“I’ve been talking to my coaches and everyone agrees that this is the right thing to do.

He added: “People are calling for me to fight for that title Duquesnoy just vacated, but I know if I don’t take this break now I will never do it.

“Duquesnoy told me I was his hardest fight after that and, as you told me, Greg Jackson had a lot good things to say about me backstage. Hearing things like that have encouraged me to make this decision because I know how much I will improve with some time away from competing.”

Philpott stressed the importance of getting his finances in order while taking the break. Leading up to Christmas, Philpott appealed to BAMMA to pay him his purse from BAMMA 27 early to help him out during the festive season. Although BAMMA did not assist him at the time, Philpott claims he has no ill will toward the promotion.

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“I need to go out and stand on my own two feet and start making a bit of money too. The money I was getting to fight really doesn’t support me. If I had taken the time to put myself through a camp and fought on the Belfast card I would’ve been just digging myself into a bigger hole.

“I have no negative feelings for BAMMA at all. I was stuck and I asked for a favour, that’s all that happened. I’m more than happy to compete on BAMMA cards and I understand that I probably could’ve gone about that in a different way.

“I’m happy to help BAMMA promote the Belfast show too. I really think everyone in Northern Ireland is going to get behind the local fighters anyway. I think it’s going to be a great night for our country and I can’t wait to see it myself.

“The financial situation is one the needs to be sorted, but I want to live my life a bit too. I want to go to Australia and train a bit of BJJ. While I’m out there I might head over to Thailand to sharpen up my striking too.”

Philpott maintained that he has no idea how long his hiatus with the sport will last, but as soon as he feels the itch to compete he’ll be ready to get back to action.

“There’s no timescale on it, I’ll come back whenever I’m ready. When the right time comes, I’ll announce that I’m ready to compete again. I’ve got a clear vision in my head, I’m feeling happy and I know I’m going to comeback ten times the fighter that I was before.

“I could end up moving up a weight class or I could end up getting my body weight even lower so it will be easier to make bantamweight. I really don’t know how my body will react to not cutting weight for some time.

“I want to get excited about fighting again. I used to get such a buzz for competing and that’s just not there anymore. I’ll comeback when I feel that again.”

@PetesyCarroll

Fight video via BAMMA

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.