Ian William Freeman (born 11 October 1966) is a retired English mixed martial artist who was the Cage Rage World Heavyweight Champion and the final Cage Rage British Light Heavyweight Champion. He was the first British person to fight in the UFC, as well as the first person to beat Frank Mir.

Ian Freeman
Born (1966-10-11) 11 October 1966 (age 55)
Sunderland, England
Other namesThe Machine
Height5 ft 10.5 in (1.79 m)
Weight215 lb (98 kg; 15.4 st)
DivisionLight Heavyweight
Fighting out ofStanley, County Durham, England
Years active1999-2004, 2006, 2008 & 2013
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout10
By submission6
By decision4
By knockout6
By submission1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Martial arts backgroundEdit

Freeman came into martial arts from boxing, in which he had trained for around ten years, after being taught by his father, who was an ABA Boxing Champion at 18 years of age. While working as a doorman, Freeman ended up fighting with a man who was intoxicated; a friend mentioned that rather than punch him, he should have broke the mans arm.[1] Curious as to what he could learn, he started training in Goshin jiu-jitsu for around six to eight months before competing in an amateur Vale Tudo competition. In his early days, he trained periodically with various instructors, including Marco Ruas and Renzo Gracie.

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Freeman entered the professional circuit in 1999. He was considered an early ambassador for mixed martial arts and given the nickname, "The Iron Ambassador." In early 2000, the UFC approached Ian to fight at UFC 24, where he lost to Scott Adams. He fought two more times in the UFC, winning both times. Later, Freeman's career hit a low point with four losses in a row, but he returned with a submission win in a rematch with Stanislav Nuschik.

His greatest triumph was arguably his win on home soil over Frank Mir at UFC 38. The heavy underdog, Freeman lived up to his nickname as he systematically ground Mir down and broke his spirit, winning a first round stoppage in front of the English crowd. The match was bittersweet for Freeman, having dedicated the match to his father who, unbeknown to him, had died of cancer the day before.[2] Victory gave Freeman the chance to make his mark on the UFC Heavyweight division but his next fight saw him stopped by Andrei Arlovski. Seven months later, a draw against Vernon White signalled the end of Freeman's second stint in UFC and led to his return to the British MMA scene.

After one successful fight for the Cage Warriors promotion, Ian took a break from MMA, citing chronic fatigue syndrome and an overly intense training schedule. He returned eleven months later to fight Ryan Robinson for the vacant Cage Rage Heavyweight title. Defeating Robinson within one round with his now-customary ground and pound, Freeman vacated the title and announced he was dropping to Light Heavyweight.[3] In early 2005, Ian again appeared to ebb away from MMA, appearing as a referee in ITV's ill-fated Celebrity Wrestling game show, which was quickly relegated to Sunday mornings and subsequently cancelled.[4]


Freeman was scheduled to return to the UFC to fight Forrest Griffin at UFC 55 - Fury but suffered a horse-riding accident and was unable to compete. After not competing for nearly nine months, he announced his retirement from competitive MMA.[5] He later cited the return of chronic fatigue as a factor in his layoff and subsequent retirement.


After a year-long layoff, he returned to training. He approached Cage Rage and was soon offered a match against the Cage Rage World Light Heavyweight champion Melvin Manhoef at Cage Rage 17. Originally slated as a "super-bout" at a catchweight of 96 kg (211 lbs), Manhoef asked for the fight to take place at the light heavyweight limit of 93 kg (205 lbs), which placed his World Light Heavyweight title on the line. Freeman lost the fight by KO in just 17 seconds.

Freeman got a shot at British Light Heavyweight champion Mark Epstein at Cage Rage 18 on 30 September 2006. Freeman overpowered Epstein with his ground-and-pound tactic, winning his second Cage Rage title. Freeman then trained at the TSG MMA (Team Sure Grip Mixed Martial Arts) School under Daniel Burzotta to fight Paul Cahoon for the British Cage Rage Light Heavyweight title on 10 May 2008. He won unanimously after three rounds.

In his first bout since 2008, Freeman was expected to fight UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock at an Ultimate Cage Fighting Championships event on 27 July 2013.[6] The fight with Shamrock was cancelled due to contractual issues on Shamrock's part.

After Shamrock backed out of the fight he was replaced by Ricco Rodriguez. Ian won by TKO, stopping Rodriguez at 2:06 of Round 1.

Shortly after this win, Freeman retired from competition, citing his age and health issues.[7]

Non Fighting CareerEdit

His autobiography, "Cage Fighter: The True Story of Ian 'The Machine' Freeman", was published in 2004 by Blake Publishing.

In 2004 he was the referee on the game show Britain's Hardest, which ran for 10 episodes on Sky 1.

On 1 November 2006 it was announced that Ian was due to coach a British-based team that would have participated in the International Fight League from 2008, had the promotion not shut down due to financial difficulties.[8]

In 2005, Ian was the referee on ITV's ill-fated Celebrity Wrestling gameshow. Freeman also starred in the 2008 British boxing action-comedy film Sucker Punch.

Ian was the ring announcer for M-1 Global: Breakthrough,[9] which took place on 28 August 2009 at Memorial Hall, in Kansas City, Kansas.[10]

Ian has recently agreed to be ring announcer for Clan Wars,[11] Ireland's first Pro ISKA governed MMA competition.

In 2010, Ian worked as spokesman for the now defunct Kudegra Fighting Championship, shortly after he parted company with the promotion.[12]

In 2019, His daughter Kennedy was signed up to Bellator.


In 2009, Freeman was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for a year, for tax fraud, as he had not declared earnings from his fighting career and had also fraudulently claimed £12,352 in tax credits with his wife. He was additionally ordered to complete 120 hours community service and wear an electronic tag. His wife was sentenced to a six-week community order and also electronically tagged.[13][14][15]

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
28 matches 20 wins 7 losses
By knockout 10 6
By submission 6 1
By decision 4 0
Draws 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 20–7–1 Ricco Rodriguez TKO (punches) UCFC 5: Legends of MMA 27 July 2013 1 2:11 Doncaster, England
Win 19–7–1 Paul Cahoon Decision (unanimous) Cage Rage 26 10 May 2008 3 5:00 Birmingham, England Won the Cage Rage British Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 18–7–1 Mark Epstein Decision (unanimous) Cage Rage 18 30 September 2006 3 5:00 London, England Won the Cage Rage British Light Heavyweight Championship; Later vacated title.
Loss 17–7–1 Melvin Manhoef KO (punches) Cage Rage 17 1 July 2006 1 0:17 London, England Light Heavyweight debut; For the Cage Rage Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 17–6–1 Will Elworthy TKO (punches) House of Pain 1 12 December 2004 1 N/A Swansea, Wales
Win 16–6–1 Ryan Robinson TKO (punches) Cage Rage 9 27 September 2004 1 2:44 London, England Won the Cage Rage Heavyweight Championship; Later vacated title.
Win 15–6–1 Keith Dace TKO (punches) CWFC 5: Cage Warriors 5 2 November 2003 1 0:47 South Shields, England
Draw 14–6–1 Vernon White Draw (split) UFC 43 6 June 2003 3 5:00 Paradise, Nevada, United States
Win 14–6 Gerhard Ettl Submission (armbar) FFAA: Fight Night Championships 4 22 February 2003 2 1:40 Graz, Austria
Loss 13–6 Andrei Arlovski TKO (punches) UFC 40 22 November 2002 1 1:25 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 13–5 Frank Mir TKO (punches) UFC 38 13 July 2002 1 4:35 London, England
Win 12–5 Carlos Barreto Decision (unanimous) HOOKnSHOOT: Kings 1 17 July 2001 3 5:00 Evansville, Indiana, United States Won the vacant HnS Super heavyweight Championship.[16]
Win 11–5 Stanislav Nuschik Submission (front choke) FFAA: Fight Night Championship 3 14 July 2001 1 1:57 Graz, Austria
Loss 10–5 Stanislav Nuschik KO (punch) M-1 MFC: Russia vs. the World 1 27 April 2001 1 0:20 St. Petersburg, Russia
Loss 10–4 Valentijn Overeem TKO (doctor stoppage) 2 Hot 2 Handle: Simply The Best 18 March 2001 1 1:42 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Loss 10–3 Osami Shibuya TKO (rib injury) Pancrase: Proof 1 4 February 2001 1 3:51 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 10–2 Bob Schrijber TKO (doctor stoppage) It's Showtime: Christmas Edition 12 December 2000 1 1:28 Haarlem, The Netherlands
Win 10–1 Tedd Williams Decision (unanimous) UFC 27 22 September 2000 3 5:00 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Win 9–1 Bob Stines KO (punch) Pancrase: 2000 Neo-Blood Tournament Opening Round 23 July 2000 1 2:38 Tokyo, Japan
Win 8–1 Nate Schroeder TKO (submission to punches) UFC 26 9 June 2000 2 2:13 Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Loss 7–1 Scott Adams Submission (Achilles lock) UFC 24 10 March 2000 1 3:09 Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
Win 7–0 Travis Fulton TKO (retirement) Millennium Brawl 1 5 December 1999 2 5:00 England
Win 6–0 Dave Shortby TKO (punches) Total Fight KRG 5 3 October 1999 1 2:02 Buckinghamshire, England
Win 5–0 Mark Lamborn Submission (rear-naked choke) British Vale Tudo 28 August 1999 1 0:55 England Won the British Vale Tudo Title.
Win 4–0 Keith Dace Submission (guillotine choke) British Vale Tudo 28 August 1999 1 0:46 England
Win 3–0 Kamal Lock Submission (ankle lock) British Grand Prix '99 27 June 1999 1 3:55 England Won the 1999 British Grand Prix.
Win 2–0 Scotty Smith TKO British Grand Prix '99 27 June 1999 1 0:09 England
Win 1–0 Tony Bailey Submission (guillotine choke) British Grand Prix '99 27 June 1999 1 1:32 England


  1. ^ "IAN FREEMAN - The Machine’s Fired Up for Cage Rage 17", www.knucklepit.com Archived 5 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 4 November 2006
  2. ^ "UFC News".
  3. ^ "Cage Rage 9 Report", cagerage.tv Retrieved 4 November 2006
  4. ^ "ITV to drop Celebrity Wrestling", BBC News Retrieved 23 October 2006
  5. ^ "The Pit Report: UFC Creeps Into the Mainstream", insidefights.insidepulse.com Retrieved 4 November 2006 Archived 24 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Ken Shamrock-Ian Freeman Bout Targeted for July 27 in England's UCFC". Sherdog.
  7. ^ "Ian Freeman - Ok guys I've had a good hard think over the... - Facebook". facebook.com. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  8. ^ "IFL Names Heavyweight Champion Ian Freeman As Coach Of British Team For 2008". International Fighting League (IFL). Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2006.
  9. ^ "Ian Butlin believes England can go 5-0 vs. France". m-1global.com. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  10. ^ "M-1 Global Presents Breakthrough". MMAJunkie.com. Archived from the original on 24 July 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  11. ^ "Ian 'The Machine' Freeman to be Clan Wars 3 Guest Announcer!". ClanWarsPromotions.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  12. ^ "KUDEGRA – Ian "The Machine" Freeman". www.kudegra.com. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
  13. ^ "BBC NEWS - UK - England - Wear - Tax fraud fighter spared prison". bbc.co.uk. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  14. ^ journallive Administrator (4 March 2009). "Former UFC champion Ian Freeman in court over tax fraud". journallive. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  15. ^ Neil Hunter. "Cage fighter forced to sell cars to repay tax fraud cash". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Ufc World Welterweight Championmatt Hughes". Full Contact Fighter. Retrieved 7 May 2015.

External linksEdit