The “Eye$ Wide Shut” series are a collection of articles discussing past and current involvement of organized crime in combat sports. Part 1 discussed the Kinahan Cartel in Ireland and Spain, the Russian dictators and their representations of American fighters. Also the investigation of Ali Abdel Aziz and his ties to the terrorist group, Muslims of America. Part 3 (HERE)
After releasing Part 1, I had several fighters reach out to me. Some wanted to thank me for discussing the topics they can’t talk about on their social media. Others decided that talking about this stuff was pointless…
This is the mentality of the culture, ignore it. Don’t talk about it because no one cares. All we want to see are fights!
“Pasts are pasts leave it there!” Not for everyone.
Irish boxing start Jamie Kavanagh can’t escape his past and it could ruin his career next year. Jamie’s father and uncle were both executed by the Kinahan cartel. The cartel is led by Daniel Kinahan, who also happens to be Jamie’s boxing manager and co-founder of MGM Marbella.
There is no clear evidence that Daniel ordered the murders of Jamie’s father and uncle. But it is confirmed that the Kinahan cartel that Daniel heads, carried out the murders. The first to be executed was Jamie’s father. He was lured to an Irish bar in Spain and shot nine times.
After his father’s funeral, Jamie and his now deceased Uncle Paul got into a brawl where they assaulted several door staff after being refused entry into a bar. Jamie was charged with Violent Disorder as a result of that incident, and that means he is facing up to 10 years in prison. His court date is set for June 14th 2017, which is expected to last two to three days.
If Jamie is found guilty and sentenced to the maximum 10 years in prison that would not only ruin his boxing career, but have a profound impact on his infant son, who he frequently posts about on his Twitter account.
Former UFC fighter Paul Kelly, who is serving 13 years in prison for trafficking drugs, is very familiar with seeing his children grow up through prison visits and pictures.
I spoke to several people who grew up and trained with Kelly and while some knew he was involved with the wrong crew, others still want to believe he is innocent.
The investigation into Paul Kelly revealed that he had set up a small network of drug dealers alongside his childhood friend Christopher St John McGirr, who is serving 11 years in prison. Kelly and McGrirr worked together and saved each other’s numbers under the names “Batman (Paul) and Robin (Christopher)”. However, in his letter from prison, Paul claims that he was framed. Kelly also states he is not a crime boss and that he is willing to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence.
There’s no denying that the evidence against Kelly is staggering. But the real boss was his corner man, Merseyside’s own, Peter Clarke. Along with his brother Stephen Clarke, they ran one of the largest drug trafficking rings in the U.K.
Peter Clarke is a former soldier and convicted murderer. He shot a rival gangster while home for the weekend from duty, Peter was sentenced to life but was later acquitted on appeal and was released. He joined his brother Stephen who ran a security firm and owned a few other businesses.
One of his business partners and friends for 10 years was Anthony McGann, known for running the famous Wolfslair Gym where Michael Bisping the current UFC middleweight champion of the world used to train.
It was at the gym that the Clarke brother’s formed a relationship with Paul Kelly. Peter Clarke stated he used to be part of Michael Bisping’s training camps and would often corner Paul Kelly during UFC events.
The relationship between the Clarke brothers and Anthony McGann went south after Anthony allegedly stole money from Stephen Clarke and invested it into the gym.
This dispute occurred in 2009 and two years later the Wolfslair gym was the target of an arson attack. Taking money from a known crime boss was probably not the smartest idea McGann ever had.
The burning of the attack was not widely reported. My efforts to find a source that could link the Clarke brothers to the attack came back empty, but the connections are there.
No criminal charges have ever been brought up against McGann for the alleged embezzlement but his reputation is a shady one. In one article, Bellator President Scott Coker describes McGann as a “fucking terrorist.”
The Clarke brother’s network included many lieutenants like Gordon Fisk and other associates like Paul Kelly and Christopher McGirr. The Clarke brothers used Paul Kelly as a middleman between them and a notorious Liverpool street gang called the Croxteth Young Guns. The CYG were known for causing terror in the streets and one of their preferred methods was arson. The CYG used several houses as hangouts, one of which was owned by Peter Clarke.
It will never be known if the burning of the Wolfslair gym was out of revenge by the Clarke brothers against Anthony McGann. However, this year Stephen Clarke was ordered to pay back $951,000 to a “prominent” property developer who “cannot be named for legal reasons” and his former business partner Anthony McGann.
Pasts Are Pasts!
Maybe all of this can be forgotten or maybe not. Anthony McGann’s relationship with Stephen Clarke might be a thing of the past, the burning of the Wolfslair gym might have just been a coincidence. But could the past come back to haunt Anthony’s son, Jack?
23 year old BAMMA figher Jack McGann has a bright future in the sport of MMA. Let’s hope Derek Brunson’s thinking is shared by the Clarke brothers and his father’s past doesn’t affect Jack’s future.