Scott MacLean Discusses Chris Kelades’ “Inspirational” UFC Debut, Fit Plus Coach Says Gym Has More Fighters “on The Rise”
By Kelsey Mowatt
TJ Grant was likely the first name that came to people’s minds while discussing Nova Scotia’s Fit Plus camp in recent years, but after Chris Kelades’ memorable UFC debut on October 4th, that might not be the case any longer.
Kelades stepped up on short notice to face Patrick Holohan at UFC Fight Night 54, and ended up handing the Irish flyweight his first professional loss, by scoring a unanimous decision win. It was a huge night for Kelades and Halifax’s own, Fit Plus.
“Oh absolutely,” Fit Plus head coach Scott MacLean said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing what the win meant for the gym. “We’ve got a great team; we’ve got a great gym and a good group of athletes that we’re able to work with. Every gym is unique, and I just feel that the recipe that we have in our gym, it worked.”
“To have a second athlete get into the UFC successfully, it just proves that the methods and the teamwork, it just proves everything,” furthered MacLean. “You know, if we’ve had critics, well hopefully they changed their tune. Those are just two of our athletes, and we have more that are on the rise, that are already good, but we’re here and we’re here to stay. I hope that people take notice.”
After turning pro in 2009, Kelades continued to rise up the Canadian rankings, and by 2014, many insiders believed he would break into the international scene shortly. Although Kelades was decisioned by Malcolm Gordon at Bellator 119 this past May, he rebounded in July by defeating veteran Adrian Woolley on a local card. When the 33 year-old fighter was tapped to replace Louis Gaudinot versus Holohan, he held a pro record of 7-1.
“I think it’s an amazing moment, just because of how everything went down,” said MacLean, when asked for his thoughts on Kelades’ UFC debut. “It’s inspirational really. We’ve had a lot of different successes in the gym, from lots of the other guys, but this was a unique experience, and if I had only one word to describe it, it would be inspirational.”
“He was totally deserving to be in the UFC; I thought that he was going to get the call a little sooner,” MacLean added. “Things seemed to align themselves, adjust properly, over the span of the last, let’s just say six months or so, with his personal life and ability to train more, and it worked out, and we couldn’t be happier. We’re getting to see somebody that realizes, and is starting to see the rewards for all the hard work he’s put in.”
Once Kelades was tapped for the short notice fight, he relayed on Full Contact Fighter Radio that he had been keeping in good shape, in case a last minute opportunity materialized. The flyweight wasn’t throwing up a smoke screen for a lack of conditioning, as he battled Holohan for three hard rounds.
“Chris isn’t your average athlete,” said MacLean. “He doesn’t really have much of a down period. He’s always training to some level. He was definitely in shape for the fight, and it was something in the back of both of our minds, leading up to, actually ever since the Adrian Woolley fight he had with the ECC (Extreme Cage Combat), we discussed it, and I told him, ‘hey man, you’ve got to be in shape…injuries happen man, things happen.”