UFC fighter Steven Ray admitted he was pleasantly surprised to win the top professional award at the annual Kirkcaldy & Central Fife Sports Council awards night last Thursday.
The home town MMA star was up against East Fife top scorer Nathan Austin, unbeaten pro boxer Connor Law and British GT racing champion Jonny Adam for the Sports Star of the Year award, decided by a public text vote in The Fife Free Press Group newspapers.
Ray, who made his UFC debut in 2015 and went on to win his first three fights, received the most votes and was presented with his trophy at the well-attended awards night, staged inside the Fife College atrium at St Brycedale Avenue.
Ray told the Press: “To be honest, I didn’t think I was winning it. A lot of my pals are too tight to pay the £1 to vote for me, so it’s good to know that FFP readers felt as though I deserved to win it. It feels really good to have the support.”
The UFC is one of the biggest fight brands in the world with top fighters earning huge sums of prize money.
Ray himself picked up a $50,000 bonus for his ‘Fight of the Night’ victory at UFC Glasgow last July, although he has his eyes set on emulating Connor McGregor, one of the most recognised names in the UFC, who has become a multi-millionaire through the sport.
“It’s too early for me to start calling out McGregor, I’d look a bit silly, but it’s definitely a fight I see happening in the future,” Ray said.
“My first goal is to get into the top 15, and the ultimate dream is to win a title.”
Ray has signed a four-fight contract extension with the UFC and hopes to return to the octagon later in 2016 once he fully recovers from surgery on both knees.
For a four-page round-up and pictures from the Kirkcaldy & Central Fife Sports Council Awards pick up a copy of this week’s Fife Free Press.