The 14-year-old Sunderland MMA fighter who battles six-foot brutes from around the world

He’s battled six-foot brutes from around the world and won an MMA bronze medal for England – all by the tender age of 14.

Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 19:15 pm

Mackenzie Liddle of High Barnes reached the semi-finals in the under-16s flyweight division, at the first MMA Youth World Championships in Rome earlier this month.

This was despite some serious disadvantages. The 5ft 4in teenager celebrated his birthday on August 19, which meant that he was still only 13 when he was pitted against older, six-footers from around the globe.

Mackenzie is something of an all-rounder in combat sports. He first started MMA at the age of eight. It’s an incredibly tough sport, but his club does not permit head shots are until contestants are over the age of 16. This was also the case in Rome. This means that his skills as a wrestler were an even bigger asset.

Mackenzie Liddle in Rome, showing off his hard-fought bronze medal.

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He trains with the TTF team in Seaham. In 2018 and 2019, he twice became world junior Brazilian jiu jitso champion at tournaments held in Wolverhampton.

He is also a black belt in Taekwando and has so far competed in 10 kickboxing bouts. Despite his tender age, he helps to teach younger fighters at his club.

Outside of sport, Mackenzie has ambitions to become a physiotherapist.

His dad, engineering manager Carl, 34, himself a MMA fighter for the past 12 years, is delighted with his son’s progress.

Mackenzie Liddle, 14, took a hard-fought bronze medal at the MMA Youth World Championships in Rome.

Carl said: “He was put in as an under-16 and he was the youngest and lightest. Some of the Ukrainians and Americans were massive.

He was winning until the last 10 seconds of the semi-final, but the referee stopped it because of the position his arm was in. He’s damaged some ligaments in his elbow for his trouble.”

Sandhill View pupil Mackenzie was thrilled with his trip to Italy and aims to be selected for England again in 2020, when the world championships will return to Rome.

He said: “It was an absolutely amazing experience. There are no other words for it. It was incredible and a step forward in what I want to do.

“Doing this is a life choice for me.”