COACH to a world champion, gym owner, promoter, manager, mentor. Richard ‘Shakey’ Shore has earned many titles over the past decade and more, but it was all just a dream back in 2008, writes Jason Batty.

More than a decade ago, the former professional mixed martial artist decided to set-up his own club, Tillery Combat, with just a dozen members.

Now Tillery Combat’s membership has swelled to more than 100 across its affiliated clubs, boasting two active UFC fighters, Cage Warriors stars, Brazilian jiu-jitsu champions and more.

Shore is also one of Wales’ most prominent MMA promoters, having started by creating Samurai Fight Night and then Pain Pit, which was acquired by Cage Warriors.

He has helped drive the sport to a new level, seeing crowds grow from the hundreds in leisure centres to thousands in arenas.

Shore’s devotion to the sport has not gone unnoticed. In May, his hard work and dedication was rewarded when he picked up the South Wales Argus Grassroots Sports Personality of the Year Award, something he never would have envisaged when he set out on his journey.

He said: “I was shocked! I think it’s a big deal that MMA is being recognised and rewarded for our hard work. It is still a bit of a taboo here, but we are getting there.”

The sport has transformed in Wales and ‘Shakey’ has played a crucial role in its growth.

The visionary jiu-jitsu black belt said from the start he would produce world champions and get fighters signed to the UFC.

He has done just that in both Jack Marshman and his son, Jack Shore.

“It’s a bit surreal, but something I always believed we would achieve,” he added. “Every year I want to get more and more fighters into the UFC.

“If I spoke to anybody five years ago and told them that we would have two fighters from this club in the UFC they would have laughed, but we have proved that we can.”

The Gwent valleys has become a hotbed for fighting talent. Shore cites a lack of opportunities in the region as one of the reasons for this, and Tillery Combat provides a home for those who feel disengaged and on the fringes of society.

His gym is now regarded as one the best in the UK, but he is quick to point out that his dedicated coaching staff and gym work ethos provide the recipe for its success.

The team have a burning desire to develop more stars in the region and emulate more of the success achieved so far.

Shore, however, argues success is not just measured in world titles and admits taking as much satisfaction seeing his 50-year old students getting fit and healthy and transforming their lifestyles at the club.

“Everything here is under one roof,” he explained. “We have proved we have the formula. If anybody wants to get involved, they are welcome, but it’s a tough game.

“There’s a lot of commitment involved and a lot of sacrifice. But you have to work hard. Hard work will outdo somebody with natural talent.”

Although the journey started more than a decade ago, it is still only the beginning in some respects.

Shore’s son, unbeaten Cage Warriors champion Jack, recently signed for the UFC and goal now is more gold.

“It’s no rush, but the ultimate goal is winning a belt,” he said. “To bring a UFC belt to Wales would be something special.

“We set our standards high, we put our targets up there, and if we don’t hit them it won’t be for a lack of trying, and we have proved everybody wrong so far by showing them how far we have come.”