Meet the Team

MMA Empire is always on the search for new talent to add to the team. If you have experience with interviews and/or writing and are interested in covering the Canadian MMA scene, please reach out at

For now, here are the faces behind all the content you see on MMA Empire:

Joel Griffith – Founder/Managing Editor

After graduating from the journalism program at SAIT in 2017, I created MMA Empire later that same year with the initial goal of providing in-depth coverage for fighters and events throughout Canada. I believe every athlete, no matter what level, has an interesting story behind their MMA career, and deserve the exposure they may not normally see. While MMA Empire will continue to provide the same coverage it always has, stay tuned for much bigger things coming soon.

As for me, I was born and raised in Calgary, Alta. and have lived here my entire life. I’ve been surrounded by sports my entire life, but my initial interest in MMA came from following the career of a good friend of mine, Keegan Oliver. Ever since attending my first fight of his live, I haven’t been able to get enough of the sport.

Cooper Riehl – Contributor

I grew up in small-town Alberta, a little place you’ve probably never heard of called Wildwood. I spent most of my childhood watching and playing lots of sports (surprisingly no hockey). Like most Canadians, I got introduced to MMA when GSP started to make a name for himself!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I went to college in Edmonton I was finally able to start exploring my interest for combat sports. I joined up at the UFC Gym and started boxing and kickboxing as much as I could! After dropping out of MacEwan’s journalism program, and later graduating NAIT’s radio program, I got a job on-air as a DJ! So, when I’m not listening to music and making bad jokes, you’ll likely find me next to a TV watching some fights. Getting the opportunity to showcase some of Canada’s top MMA talent is an added bonus!

Cody Rempel – Contributor

Way back in 2007 I met my best friend who introduced me to MMA while he was in training for a fight. I started training with him, attending his fights as a fan, and even cornering another friend, as unqualified as I was for that. I began training off and on for the first ten years or so in mostly no-gi grappling with a little bit of BJJ, and the odd kickboxing class here and there. After several hiatuses from training due to work, I’ve fallen back in love with jiu-jitsu over the last four-plus years, training three-five times a week, and recently earning my purple belt in BJJ. After my friend’s fight, I then began working alongside him for a local MMA promotion, helping out with everything from cage set up, merchandise sales and wiping up blood between rounds. From there, I developed friendships with many local fighters and got very interested in Canadian MMA.

Eventually, frequent commenting on Top MMA News led to contributing play-by-plays, fight results, fight cards and interviews starting in 2009, plus attending over 150 MMA events in some capacity. As the founders and other contributors of Top MMA News got busier with other aspects of life, I eventually ended up as the only consistent contributor left on the site. I started to notice MMA Empire surpassing us and beating us to the scoop on pretty much every Canadian fight and event result out there. So, as they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

Joe McDonagh – Contributor

I’m a Boston sports fanatic, lover of Tom Brady and all things MMA. I began writing as a fan, now writing for four sites, interviewing fighters daily and covering live events as much as I can. From a UFC champion to a prospect on their way, I love hearing the story.

Dylan Bowker – Contributor

I’ve been enamoured with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk radio shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio on 90.1 FM in the Niagara region with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, Sean Sherk, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC, PFC, and BTC. I’ve done play-by-play commentary on live pay-per-view for GFL, as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video covering some of the biggest MMA promotions in Canada like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage Canada. I’ve created multimedia content for fighters in KSW, ONE Championship, Rizin, TKO, and Invicta FC to name a few. My work can also be found on My MMA News, MMA Power Hour, USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.

Cole Shelton – Contributor

I’m a a full-time freelance writer mostly covering combat sports. I graduated from the journalism program at Sheridan College in 2019.

Kylan Knowler – Contributor

I am a poet and fiction writer who has been spellbound and befuddled by MMA since TUF 1, with no end in sight. No other sport has brought me higher highs or lower lows, nor taught me more about life or the human plight. Consider me a humble, but outspoken admirer.

Jason Hagholm – Contributor

I have been following MMA since I accidentally rented UFC 3 at the video store when I was a kid. I got into the MMA media game back in 2019 when I became the play-by-play voice for BTC Fight Promotions. I love writing about MMA as I enjoy talking to fighters and getting to tell their stories, as well as pushing the Canadian MMA scene forward.