With an impressive record of 17 wins and 6 losses, it’s easy to forget that Liam “Real Deal” McNeill is just 23. While he’s never without a smile in the gym and is always high energy, Liam has one of the darkest game faces you’ll see in the ring and we know we wouldn’t want to be on the other end of those punches! In the fight game since the age of 15, this professional Muay Thai fighter has fought at the original Lumpinee stadium not once, but twice, and is just getting started. Read on more to find what’s the deal with McNeill!
What made you start Martial Arts?
“As a young teenager I watched ‘Never Back Down’ with my mates. We thought it was the most amazing thing ever and the rest is history. No epic bully story, just a young mind watching a cool movie.”
If you were going to be an animal, what would you be and why?
“I would definitely be a bird. Because flying.”
If you could go back in time to your first martial art class, what would be the advice you give to your past self?
“Stretch and lift weights so you don’t get injuries you will pay for later, you fool!”
Do you have a “useless” talent that makes people smile every time you use it?
“Yes, I am so bad at consuming liquids I would almost call it a skill. Anytime I go for a drink of anything I will almost always spill some on myself. Sometimes it produces smiles.”
What’s your favorite place to eat in Melbourne and your #1 dish recommendation?
“Way too many, but there’s this little Italian place called Kaprica in Carlton. I was living next door to it quite a few years back when it first opened. They use all hand made ingredients in their food, it blew my mind and still does.”
During a Absolute MMA staff retreat a zombie apocalypse breaks out. You get separated with 3 AMMA team members. Who would be part your dream team and why?
“Raph, Raph and Raph.”
“He’s a little shit. He came to me at 14 years old and he was a shit…now? He’s still a shit. Only a little larger.”- Tao Jaiphet
“He’s a pleasant, young and extremely talented kid who has been working harder and harder to take it to the next level. He was doing the teenagers Muay Thai class many years ago when I was still competing. Although the young lion is a million times better than me at striking, he wont forget the result of an in house MMA fight anytime soon…” – Paul Bai
“Liam’s a talented fighter, he can listen when he wants to listen, he can win when he wants to win and he’s got killer instinct.” – Laos Toohey
“Liam has been coaching at Absolute St Kilda for the past 2 years, he always has a great level of energy during his classes and makes everyone in the gym feel welcome. It’s rare to see a coach that is able to compete at such a high level and still give so much to his students.” – Lachlan Giles