Bellator MMA's rising Irish star James Gallagher earned his second victory in a row when he defeated Jeremiah Labiano at Bellator 223 in London, England. Speaking candidly to the media in a post-fight scrum, Gallagher revealed that he suffered a mental breakdown two weeks prior to his showdown with "The Kid" that nearly kept from his competing altogether.
"Two weeks ago, I pulled out," admitted Gallagher. "I pulled out of the fight two weeks ago. I texted my coach and said 'I can't do it anymore.' I had a panic attack in the gym. I didn't want to fight. I was in a bad, bad place. Pulled out of the fight, didn't want to be there anymore, didn't want to do it."
Gallagher, with the support of his coaches and teammates, found the inner fortitude to push onward and was able to honor his commitment to battle Labiano in a catchweight bout on the main card of Bellator London.
"And look. I f---ing showed up and f---ing did it. I swear to God, they all hammer on about me and everyone hammers on. There's none of them have a mindset like me. I pulled out of the fight. I didn't even want to be here, didn't want to fight, I didn't even want to train again. I never wanted to fight again in my life. I was in a bad way."
"The Strabanimal" openly admits that his performance against Labiano was subpar, but when considering where his mind was only weeks out from fight night, Gallagher chooses to celebrate his performance, viewing it as an example of his emotional and psychological resilience.
"That performance was a low-class performance, nowhere near my best. But from the position I was in two weeks ago to the position I'm in tonight, f---ing cheers to that!"