Meet the Irish brothers fighting each other at the 3 Arena

Peter Carroll reports on a unique fight happening this weekend

On Saturday morning, the Treacy brothers, Francis (28) and Stephen (24), will eat breakfast at the same table before travelling to the 3 Arena together.

When they arrive, they’ll get changed, warm-up and have their hands wrapped in the same changing room, before making their way to the cage where they will fight each other for a maximum of three rounds, in what will be both their first times competing in amateur MMA.

You would assume that their reasons for fighting each other were due to a lack of other opponents being available.

However, as older brother Francis explains, they contacted Cage Warriors themselves and told boss Graham Boylan that they wanted to fight each other on the promotion’s return to Ireland, Cage Warriors 81.

This won't be the first time that they have locked horns. Twice during their competition days in taekwondo, the black belts have gone to war.  

Both men remember hundreds of people gathering around to see them throw down due to the aggression that was on display.

Stephen Treacy. Image: Peter Carroll.

Yet, with the constant stoppages that competitors encounter in taekwondo bouts, the siblings agreed that MMA was the perfect rule set for them to meet under, as referees won’t get in the way until the fight needs to stop.

“We saw a post on Facebook from Graham Boylan looking for fighters for the 3 Arena show,” said Francis.

“As soon as I saw that post I said to my brother that we should have our third fight on that card. Our two first fights were really exciting, so why not do a third in the 3 Arena where there is no referee separating us every time we land a big shot?

“He agreed to it straightaway. We sent a message over to Graham and he seemed really excited about it and he made it happen.”

Francis, the victor of their two previous clashes under the taekwondo rule set, has claimed a national title in taekwondo. As far as Stephen sees it, this is a definitive opportunity to announce himself as the premier fighter in the Treacy household. 

“I’m still very disheartened over both of those losses, to be honest,” said Stephen. “When I look back on them, I reckon they were both terribly bad decisions. This is my time to get payback. 

“I don’t just want to get revenge for the first two fights, I want to show that I’m the best fighter in the family. Ask any brothers and they’ll tell you how important that is.”

The Dublin brothers waited until three weeks ago to tell their parents that they would fight each other at the 3 Arena. Unsurprisingly, their parents’ first question wasn’t about the price of tickets for the event.

“We sat them down about three weeks out from the fight,” remembered Francis.

“We wanted to make sure all the medical stuff came back from Safe MMA Ireland first before we started telling people it was happening. 

“To be honest, they were fairly shocked when we did tell them about it. As far as I know, my Dad really doesn’t like to see us fighting each other. He didn’t even go to the taekwondo fights when we were growing up. 

“I think my Mam’s going to go, though. She seems very interested in going.” 

Francis Treacy. Image: Peter Carroll

To make things awkward, the brothers still live under the same roof in Dublin’s south inner city.

“It’s funny, if either of us orders any food we’re making a big thing of it. If either of us drinks anything other than water we’re on each others’ cases,” laughs Francis.

“I find myself wondering if he’s going to bed early so he gets the right recovery. If one of us goes running, the other feels like they have to go running then too.

“We’ve been doing our runs and our weights separately and then when we’re in the club we’re off in separate corners preparing for each other. 

“I always find myself looking over when Johnny Dargan is going through stuff with Stephen, I’m sure he does the same with me.”

Stephen outlined how the two have begun to launch insults at each other on social media.

Francis recently posted a picture of him having his hand raised after one of their taekwondo bouts, claiming that this time around it wouldn’t go to the judges. Stephen retaliated by posting a picture of him landing a wheel kick on his brother in training.

“There’s been a healthy amount of trash talk,” said Stephen.

“Even last night he hit me with an Instagram post telling me that this fight wouldn’t go to a decision like our other fights. He’s attacking me on social media and everything now, it’s getting real!” he said.

Francis believes that his superior cardio was the reason behind his previous victories over his brother, but Stephen laughed off his suggestion that he had any advantage over him at all.

"That’s a ludicrous statement. I really think I could finish him in the first, second or the third. I’m just going to wait for the third round so I can give the fans a bit of a show.

“I have advantages in all departments. I’m a fine specimen of a human being and I expect to be able to hit him from anywhere for those three rounds.”

Mirroring Stephen’s forecast, Francis is predicting a third round stoppage victory too. He also assured the MMA masses that neither brother will have any hesitation in finishing the fight.

“I can honestly say, that I would have no problem in finishing the fight in any circumstances. The way we see it, this is a fight, and you have to finish the fight if the opportunity presents itself.

“Once the fight is over we’ll be friends again. I can see no circumstance where we would fall out over something that happens in competition.”