5 Things You Might Not Know About James Gallagher

By Mark Raymundo Feb 22, 2019

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Bellator MMA featherweight prospect James Gallagher isn’t one to drown out from the sorrow of a first loss. He did weep for a while but is now back and ready for his next assignment. The SBG Ireland representative initially wanted a rematch with Ricky Bandejas, but the latter didn’t seem too interested. Instead, Gallagher was booked for Bellator 217 opposite Steven Graham.

Learn more about this rising star as Bellator makes a trip to his home country of Ireland.

1. Liddell-Ortiz was his first serving of the UFC.

Gallagher had his first taste of live mixed martial arts competition in Derry, a city that lies on the River Foyle in Northern Ireland. Then for Christmas of that year, he got his first UFC DVD, which featured a main event between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. He watched the entire DVD that night and was completely blown away from all the action. Needless to say, he was hooked. Gallagher has been training in the sport since he was 12.

2. A judge refused to do his job upon learning that Gallagher was fighting.

Gallagher entered his first amateur fight when he was only 13. In less than one minute, he tapped out his opponent, who was a few years older. That same year, he had his second fight, and he was pitted against a 21-year-old guy. One of the judges that night was SBG head coach John Kavanagh, who wanted nothing to do with a fight that pitted a boy against a full-grown man. For the record, Gallagher beat his opponent by decision. He and Kavanagh got to talking, and the rest is history.

3. He convinced his parents to let him drop out of school.

When he was 15, Gallagher asked his parents if he can stop school and focus on MMA. Naturally, they refused. However, Gallagher thought of a compromise. He promised his folks that he will put every ounce of dedication his has to training, and if they ever see him slack off, he’d willingly return to school. He added that he can always go back and get a degree even if he’s 30 anyway. This time, his parents were convinced and gave him their full support, even funding his training.

4. He submission savvy back in the day.

It’s hard to believe, but when Gallagher was starting out he didn’t look much like the submission specialist that he is now. Sure, he won by armbar in just 58 seconds in his amateur debut, but that’s about it. According to him, it was probably the only submission technique he knew (along with one takedown) at the time. That’s a far cry from “The Strabanimal” we know today, whose seven victories in eight fights all came by submission.

5. He’s only the second Irish fighter to win at MSG.

His more popular teammate, Conor McGregor, delivered big time in UFC’s New York City debut at the legendary Madison Square Garden. Gallagher refuses to be left behind, though. In his first fight on United States soil, the pride of Northern Ireland competed at Bellator 180, where he stopped Chinzo Machida in the first round. Advertisement


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