When celebrating mixed martial arts in Scotland, Robert Whiteford is the first name that springs to mind. A name that deserves an honourable mention as we dive into ‘Scottish Week’ across all our platforms.
Robert Whiteford was the first Scottish mixed martial artist to join the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Paving the way and opening the doors to names such as Joanne Calderwood, Steven Ray and Paul Craig.
Whiteford made his professional debut in 2009, competing primarily for regional promotions across the United Kingdom where he was able to build a record of 10 – 1 before signing with the UFC in the fall of 2013. The UFC debut of ‘The Hammer‘ came at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, as he took on Jimy Hettes but was caught in a tight triangle choke on the night.
After dusting off, the Scotsman really showed what he was capable of on the highest stage. Defeating Daniel Pineda by unanimous decision and then giving Scottish fans one of the most memorable nights in history. The UFC decided to put a show on in Glasgow, Scotland. The Hammer’s backyard. In a sold-out SSE Hydro Arena, Robert Whiteford walked out to the famous ‘Flower of Scotland’ national anthem and had the crowd on their feet. Goosebumps every time.
On the night, he took on Irishman Paul Redmond and stopped him in the first round. The atmosphere for the next few minutes was electric. Whiteford, who was full of emotion after launching himself into the Glasgow crowd to celebrate a knockout win with friends and family, picked up a fine in the process. Not long after seen Whitford go through a tough time. Dropping questionable losses to Darren Elkins and Lucas Martins saw the UFC release the Scotsman.
With time to reflect, as well as battling his own personal problems. There was no quit in Whiteford. Post-UFC, The Hammer picked up three wins on Absolute Championship Berkut before being united with an American major organisation in Bellator. Back on the big stage, exactly where he belongs.
The Bellator debut of Whiteford came at Bellator London v American native Sam Sicilia. It was a rollercoaster contest for the Scottish fans to watch. With the fight slipping away and the clock running down, Whiteford pulls off the unthinkable and shows once again the “never say die” attitude. The clock had 6 seconds remaining in round three with the judges looking to give Sicilia the decision, when he was caught by a beautifully timed uppercut by the Scotsman, earning him a win on his debut with the promotion.
20 fights as a professional, Robert Whiteford is a veteran of our game. Someone who made that walk first in the biggest organisations with the Scotland flag right by his side. A respectable character when we talk about martial arts in Scotland.
Check out Robert Whiteford’s social media below.
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