Opinion Piece

OKTAGON MMA Re-Signs Paddy Pimblett’s Training Partner

Liverpool's provocative MMA talent, Shem Rock, is set to stage a triumphant comeback with OKTAGON MMA. Hailing from the prestigious Next Generation gym alongside Molly McCann and Paddy Pimblett, Rock's steadfast commitment unfolds as he prepares for the highly anticipated return at OKTAGON 56 in Birmingham, promising another chapter of the 'Shem show' in the MMA spotlight.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-02-05

Wade McElwain

4 minutes read

Return of the Maverick

OKTAGON MMA has officially announced the re-signing of the Liverpool-based MMA sensation, Shem Rock. Known for his controversial yet electrifying presence both inside and outside the cage, Rock has inked a new deal with the promotion, marking his return to the spotlight.


Sporting an impressive record of 9-1-1, Rock fights out of Liverpool’s renowned Next Generation gym, notably known for being the home gym for former Cage Warriors Champions Molly McCann (also known as Meatball Molly) and Paddy Pimblett (better known by his moniker Paddy the Baddy). Rock himself has solidified his status as one of the most promising prospects in the UK. His latest triumph inside the OKTAGON MMA cage showcased a first-round submission victory, leaving fans eager for more of his dynamic performances.


Shem Rock - Paddy the Baddy.jpeg

Drama Outside of the Cage

Rock's journey with OKTAGON MMA has not been without its share of drama. The fighter also made headlines as a co-coach for Team Ireland on the reality TV show, OKTAGON Challenge: England vs Ireland, alongside MMA legend Paddy Holohan.


The road to Rock's return had its fair share of obstacles. Initially scheduled to compete at OKTAGON MMA’s inaugural UK show in Manchester’s AO Arena in November 2023, his bout against former police officer Jaroslav Pokorny was abruptly cancelled after a heated incident during the weigh-ins, where Rock kicked his opponent. 


After a public exchange of words between Shem Rock and the promotion, a new deal has been successfully negotiated, culminating in Rock's comeback at OKTAGON 56 in Birmingham.

Patience Pays Off

Rock expressed his thoughts on the renewal, stating, "I had offers all across the board, from all different promotions but I didn't want to leave. I could have signed for someone straight away and already had a fight, but I didn't want to. I twiddled my thumbs a little bit and waited, but we got the deal done and here I am."


Acknowledging the challenges and temptations to explore other opportunities, Rock emphasised his commitment to OKTAGON MMA. "There were times when I did want to jump the gun because I was so keen to fight, but I knew in the long-term I would be unhappy somewhere else and then looking back in hindsight and wondering what could have been. I knew it was the right choice to make, and here I am."


Additionally, Rock extended gratitude to the key players in securing the deal, stating, "I want to thank Pavol and Ondrej, as well as my management team for getting this deal done. Everyone at featherweight and lightweight needs to watch out because I’m back. It’s just the Shem show, all over again."

Fun, Hate, and a Czech Showdown

Co-founder of OKTAGON MMA, Ondrej Novotny, also added his perspective on the controversial fighter's return: "We believe that with Shem, it will be a lot of fun, and that’s why we signed him. The whole Czech Republic hates him, and now they hate us, but that's what we love, to be hated and loved at the same time. We will take him to the Czech Republic to fight, but first, he will make his return in Birmingham at OKTAGON 56."

Pre-Register for the Shem Show

OKTAGON MMA has established itself as a force on the European MMA scene, with high-level production value and captivating matchmaking, earning them a spot on the 5-promotion shortlist for MMA promotion of the year.


Fans eager to witness Shem Rock's highly anticipated return can pre-register for OKTAGON 56 by visiting OKTAGON MMA's official website. The stage is set for another chapter in the Shem Rock saga, promising excitement, controversy, and top-tier MMA action.

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.