The Irish MMA team has selected MMA fighter Jordan Scully to compete in the World Adult Mixed Martial Arts Championships in Abu Dhabi at the end of January.
After winning the silver medal last August at the IMMAF World Junior Championships in Bulgaria, the 18-year-old’s sporting career continues to soar.
“I’m an 18 year old male and I have autism. I’m so proud of myself to have reached this level, to have won silver at the previous world youth championships and I hope to make it to the ‘UFC,” Scully said during his GoFundMe campaign set up on Jan. 4 to raise €2,500 to compete in the Adult Mixed World Martial Arts Championships.
Fast forward to today, Scully has the funds to compete in the international tournament’s amateur bout before stepping into the big leagues.
His no-give-up attitude is what got him this far. Since the age of 13, Jordan has practiced MMA with SGB Tullamore and has gone to great lengths to prove his dedication to the craft.
“He is so dedicated. We literally have to kick him out of the gym every night. He is there morning, noon and night. He’s brilliant,” said Jamie Houlihan of SGB Tullamore.
And don’t be surprised to hear the autistic fighter’s name in professional MMA headlines in the future.
“He had his own challenges. He focused on MMA and dedicated himself to it. He has created a life for himself and hopefully a future for his family. You can rest assured Jordan will be in the UFC for the next three to four years,” Jamie continued.
Autism and MMA
Jordan Scully won’t be the first autistic contestant to compete as a professional MMA fighter.
There are good examples of MMA fighters representing the autistic community.
For example, Serena “The Southpaw Outlaw” DeJesus is one of the first female MMA fighters with autism and won her first professional fight in April 2018.
The Fusion Fight League mixed martial artist considers herself a positive role model.
“It’s a big reason why I fight,” she said. “I want to show that there can be good role models in the autism community. Everyone looks up to fighters. I can be that strong example that you can do it; even if something is hard, try, try again . It’s good. I have two siblings who are also autistic, and they have it too. One of them wants to fight like me when he comes of age, and the other wants to be social and be in good health, so that’s good,” DeJesus told Montana Sports ahead of his game-winning debut.
Welterweight John “Doomsday” Howard provides another example. Diagnosed with autism during his MMA career at age 33, the 38-year-old has found success in numerous fight promotions including the UFC and PFL.
The veteran fighter does not hide his “gift” from the world. In fact, Howard wants children with special needs to see that an autistic person can achieve greatness.
“I want kids in special needs classes, kids who get teased and bullied, to watch me fight or at least know what I’m doing,” he says. “I want them to know there’s someone out there who is like them and doing great things,” John Howard told ESPN.
Dejesus and Howard have broken the mold – and the faces – and refuse to slow down.
All fighters possess the motivation and will to succeed. Having the courage to put yourself forward and crush your goals while facing adversity is an exceptional achievement.
If Jordan Scully is victorious on January 29, his professional career is sure to skyrocket from then on. Her progress and her story are encouraging to many, even those of us outside the autism community.
How soon do you think we’ll see Jordan Scully in a pro fight?