James Gallagher had a moment of real honesty with the media directly after his strong showing on the Bellator London main-card last night.
At 22-years-old, James has already become something of a household name on the Bellator roster – a guy who has been pushed to the forefront of the Scott Coker-run promotion both due to his own clear talent inside the cage, but also due to the magnetism of his personality.
Of course, with such opportunity comes the glare of the spotlight and it’s fair to say that Gallagher has managed to gather a small army of detractors who were nothing short of ecstatic to see him pick up his first career defeat last year.
And yet, the James Gallagher who rose from the ashes of that defeat was a wiser, more grounded young man – one who seemed completely content in his place in the sport and just happy to be in the position he occupies, while remaining confident in his ability to continue to push on.
He was able to bring home the win last night in London with a measured and mature performance against Jeremiah Labiano on the event’s main-card but in a post-fight interview he did directly afterwards, he revealed how the road that led him to Bellator London was one filled with moments of true adversity.
Speaking during a media scrum (video courtesy of Irish Mirror Sport), The Strabanimal explained how several panic attacks nearly derailed both his ongoing fight-camp and his overall commitment to the sport.
“Two weeks ago I pulled out of the fight. I texted my coach and said ‘I can’t do this anymore’. I had panic attacks 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. And look, I f****** showed up and I f****** did it. They all hammer on about me, none of them have a mindset like me. I pulled out of the fight, I didn’t even want to be here, I didn’t even want to train. I didn’t want to fight ever again.
“If it wasn’t for Kiefer [Crosbie], John [Kavanagh], my dad… we had private sessions and I had to be helped out of the gym a few days in a row. Panic attacks, getting sick, I couldn’t control myself. Now I’m back and I’m winning. Say what you want. I’m f****** proud of myself.
“Everyone will say I’ve got a weak mind, I’m broken. I’ve got the strongest f****** mindset in this whole f****** game and I’m going to straight to the top. 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****** cheers.” (via Metro.co.uk)
BREAKING: @StrabanimalMMA reveals he almost QUIT MMA two weeks out from @BellatorMMA fight with Jeremiah Labiano at #BellatorLondon @Bellator_Europe @John_Kavanagh @SBG_Ireland pic.twitter.com/4QrRKZ5PU8
— Irish Mirror Sport (@MirrorSportIE) June 22, 2019
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena