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Michigan State students and brothers Seek MMA stardom through YouTube

STREETBEEFS / YouTube

Spartans Brendan and Quinn McMullan have a strong bond as brothers, and share the desire to make it their own way in the MMA world.

Sibling rivalries are common, as kids under the same roof compete for everything. Food, attention, and everything in between is up for grabs for brothers and sisters. Siblings also have some of the tightest bonds imaginable. The constant competition can lead to feeling like they can take on the world.

This is the case for Michigan State students and brothers Brendan and Quinn McMullen.

For the McMullen’s, the usual squabbling between brothers has brought fame and audience in the amateur fighting scene on the STREETBEEFS YouTube channel. (Brendan’s fight)

Buzzsaw (Brendan) and Irish Dragon (Quinn) each have a fight posted on STREETBEEFS. The channel has just under 3 million subscribers, and they have over 2,700 videos posted. Brendan and Quinn’s fight videos from a few months ago have just over 60,000 combined views and counting.

Also, they both won their fights.

STREETBEEFS / YouTube

“I know what I want to get out of it. I’d love to become a professional fighter,” Brendan said. “I saw a documentary that featured STREETBEEFS and some of the fighters got popular off of the platform.”

Quinn added, “It would be a dream to become a pro someday. I’ve been in this sport for a while now and it’s something I’m very passionate about.”

Quinn and Brendan are from Bloomfield Hills. Brendan is older, at 22, while Quinn is 20. They grew up the way many boys do, poking and needling each other until they’d get into more physical battles. Nothing out of the ordinary for brothers, so how did they end up becoming amateur fighters?

For Quinn, his journey into combat sports, specifically boxing, started in his freshman year of high school.

“For a while I played team sports, but by my freshman year I wanted to take things into my own hands and rely on myself. I found boxing and did strict training for three to four years,” Quinn said.

Brendan’s entrance into fight training was much simpler.

“I got involved in combat sports because of my brother. Seeing the discipline and confidence it gave him, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to start training,” Brendan said. “I’ve always been a fan of Conor McGregor, so I wanted to do MMA. I started training in jiu jitsu, boxing, and kickboxing.”

STREETBEEFS / YouTube

Brendan earned a black belt in Choi Kwang-Do when he was 11. Quinn, and his twin brother Ian, also participated in that martial arts training.

When asked if Ian was following in their footsteps, Brendan noted that he was not yet ready.

“He hasn’t fought yet, we’re still training him,” Brendan said

The brothers grew up with smaller frames, so the ability to fight was an advantage in holding their own against others. Brendan and Quinn were skinny kids, and for Brendan the ability to fight garnered some respect.

STREETBEEFS / YouTube

“I was a smaller guy, I was underweight and height. I took up fighting to get some respect from people,” Brendan said. “It honestly worked. The commitment the sport requires helped me get my confidence.”

The discipline and mental side of combat sports was something that intrigued the two. They watch professional fights, be it MMA or boxing. They notice the differences in the raw, unrefined amateur fights, and the finely-tuned machines of professional fighters. Combat sports may seem barbaric on the outside, but for Quinn, the strategic battle between two fighters is what draws him.

“It’s discipline, and as physical as combat sports are, it's even more of a mental game. It’s definitely a chess match,” Quinn said.

Part of the chess match, the brothers found, is that people in combat sports are actually nice people. Fighters can seem hardened, angry, or even crazy at glance. Brendan and Quinn made friends with their opponents at their STREETBEEFS fight before they even knew who they were fighting.

“We were hanging out with Quinn’s opponent an hour before the fight, we didn’t find out who we were fighting until right before,” Brendan said. “Quinn found out he was fighting the guy we were hanging out with and had to deal with that.”

Brendan graduates from MSU in May, after years of trying to fit a strict workout schedule into the life of a student grinding for hours at the library to get a degree. He said is looking forward to having a more stable schedule while he works full-time.

Quinn is juggling life and combat sports as well. His exercise routine is slated amidst the planning of his next steps either at MSU or elsewhere. Life is full of uncertainty for people in their 20s. The certainty in his life as well as Brendan’s is that they are doing something rare: They are siblings fighting on the cards of organized fighting events.

“When we first fought, it was on the same card, on the same day. That’s something brothers dream about,” Brendan said. “We got to do it. We both won by knockout, and it was surreal. Seeing Quinn win in 30 seconds meant the world to me.”

STREETBEEFS / YouTube

Quinn added, “It almost doesn’t feel real that we get to do this. We can train with each other and go out and win fights which is so cool.”

When asked what they notice are differences between their fights and professional fights, Brendan believes it is all about drive.

“When you watch professional fighters, they seem hungrier,” he said. “They live for it. Some of the people in STREETBEEFS don’t live for this. I live for fighting and I know Quinn does too so I think that will set us apart from the competition.”

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