Drogheda MMA fighter Ciaran Clarke says he is fighting for everyone in his home town as it grapples with the negative publicity of the ongoing drug feud.
Fighting at Bellator240 in the 3Arena on Saturday, Clarke was the dominant fighter throughout as he overcame Jamie Faulding by unanimous decision.
Speaking to Off The Ball's Eoin Sheahan after the fight, Clarke took the opportunity to passionately address the support he's received from the Drogheda public.
"I've all of Drogheda behind me. I have the whole town sponsoring me."
The support was audible in the arena too, with the roar for the Drogheda man one of the biggest on the night in what was only the second fight on the card.
Clarke added that it was important to him to represent the town at a time when a lot of the media coverage concerning Drogheda is inherently negative.
"I'd actually like to say that the state Drogheda is in at the moment... I am fighting for those people.
"There is a good thing coming out of Drogheda and I was able to say no to what is going on. I grew up with all these people with what's going on in Drogheda and I was confident enough to say no between doing my sport so I'd like to say I am fighting for those people, you know."
Ciaran Clarke brought half of Drogheda to see him beat Jamie Faulding today, and here's what he had to say about his hometown after the fight. pic.twitter.com/DEepD8BBci
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) February 22, 2020
Visibly bordering upon speechless, Clarke emphasised that his success, no matter how small, shows that people can say no to what his town is experiencing.
"I grew up with all these lads and whatever happened, someone failed them and I'm fighting for everybody. You can say no to it all. You can say no to drugs, say no to everything.
"I didn't have a different upbringing from them and some obviously had harder ones than others but I grew up with these and you are able to say no you just have to.
"It's those early teen years and late teens where it's most important I was just lucky enough to get through it and I'm fighting for those to let them know you can get through it."
You can watch Eoin Sheahan's full report from Bellator MMA on Monday's OTB AM.