Irish MMA star fundraising for chance to walk again

Coughlan recently moved to Ballindine to settle with family

An Irish MMA fighter who recently relocated to south Mayo is raising funds after a freak accident left his paralysed

Ian Coughlan was due to have a fight at the end of August that he was training for, when the horrific accident occurred.

Ian has been left with life changing injuries and his worst fears came true when the doctors told him that he may never walk again and that he would need carers to help him with everyday tasks.

“I felt as though my present and future has been taken away' Ian said. “Martial arts is my life and it has been taken away from me.'

“I'm strong and have always been independent and I can't bear the thought of having people look after me for the rest of my life. I just want my life back.”

Coughlan, originally from Dublin, has fought professionally with popular MMA promotion Bellator and was seen as one of Ireland's fastest rising stars in the sport, with martial arts giving him the skillset to be able to look after himself but also great self-confidence and purpose. He obtained his third degree Black Belt in Judo and his Black Belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Ian's plans for after competitive MMA was to open a martial arts gym of his own where he would teach disadvantaged youth. Ian wanted to be able to give back to the community.

Ian felt an instant connection to martial arts and it wasn't long before he made a name for himself on the Irish judo scene winning many Irish championships and medalling in the UK. Ian's dream was to be selected for the Irish National Judo Team to represent Ireland at the 2020 Olympics, so after Ian completed his Law Degree, he decided to focus on training full-time, but unfortunately, his dream of representing Ireland wasn't to be.

Ian continued training full-time, but began focussing more on MMA. He turned professional in 2017, with his last fight being on Bellator, where he fought Conor McGregor's teammate. This unfortunate loss did not deter Ian, he was more driven and continued training harder than ever before.


Ian recently moved to Ballindine where he bought a home and planned on making a life there with his family.

He had spent three months in Galway University Hospital and is currently at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.

Ian is hopeful that treatment in Germany will be be his best and probably his only chance of ever walking again. His family have started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help get Ian to Germany for the surgery. The doctors in Germany have reviewed his case and are confident that he will be a suitable candidate for the combined Stem Cell and Hybrid Assistive Limb treatments.

This treatment will not only give Ian back his independence, but it will also give him back his life.

Ian is grateful for all the support and kindness that he has received since the accident but he is still a long way away from reaching the target amount to get him to Germany.

You can donate to Ian's fundraiser at: