Our James Gallagher Interview
James Gallagher is still what some people might call a kid. But at the ripe young age of just 17 and fighting out of SBG Ireland. He has already amassed a record of 11 – 3. Not too shabby for a guy who started his fighting career at just 13 years of age. We wanted to find out how it all came about. How did he enter the sport at such a young age and what future aspirations does he have once he finally turns 18 this October?
I just started training in the town where I live and I had a few fights there. I started training at 12 and had my first fight when I was 13, so I did. And then on my second fight, I fought a guy who was like 21 years old and John was actually judging that show. And he was like this is a disgrace, so he wouldn’t judge it, my fight, at that show. John was like he’s just a 13-year-old kid and this is a grown man.
John was like WTF or whatever. So I just met John through that. And I was still like at school and I just hated school. So I was like fuck this shit. I don’t want to be stuck in here every day, same boring old crap as everyone else. So I just begged my mother and father, could I leave school. So I convinced them and I just quit school. Haven’t looked back since..
And how long have you actually been training with John Kavanagh?
I’ve been training with John fulltime about two and a half years. But I’ve trained with him about three, three and a half altogether.
So when you are in Dublin, do you live with John?
Yeah, I live with John, he lets me stay with him.
So there’s obviously a very close bond between you guys..
Ah yeah, he’s kinda like my big brother. You know what I mean, he’s so cool. John’s one of the coolest guys you’ll ever get, so he is. I’m so grateful to be able to have that type of a bond. Lets me stay with him and train in his gym, know what I mean. It’s such a good thing to be able to do that. It’s a lucky thing to have.
How are you in the build-up to your fights, are you nervous, excited?
I don’t know, it’s just another day. Every Tuesday is sparring day and you’re walking in sparring with Conor McGregor, Artem Lobov, Gunnar Nelson you know what I mean..So what…fight some amateurs, it’s a release so it is. Don’t have to face Conor’s left hand lol
So your last fight at Cage Warriors 70 against Matthew Mullan, went down as one of the best amateur fights in a while. Would you say it was a hard-fought win?
Yeah, well he usually fights at welterweight and I usually fight featherweight, so he does. So that’s the way it sorta happened. He couldn’t get anyone to fight him and I couldn’t get anyone to fight me. I think he said he didn’t want to fight. But he couldn’t get anyone to fight, so he said, ah feck it, I’ll fight him.
I was like, I don’t care who I fight, I’ll just fight anyone. Doesn’t matter what weight, I’ll just jump in. The weight doesn’t make a lot of difference as you can see, so it doesn’t.
Do you find that’s a regular occurrence, where you can’t get opponents…
Yeah, all the time. I mean guys call up looking to fight some other guy and John be like, no. But we’ve got James Gallagher here, he’ll fight him. They’d be like, ah sorry he got injured. So you know what I mean, wtf’s that about? If you want to make it anywhere, it’s amateur.
You’re gonna get beat, so what, you learn from it, you know what I mean. It’s fecked up, I don’t know what people be thinking. Not fighting in an amateur fight..changing their mind, people take it too seriously.
Hanging banners and crap all over the cage, for what? Get a free pair a gear, shorts of something. You know what I mean, it’s a bit ridiculous to be honest, so it is, people take it too far. Fight camps for an amateur fight, know what I mean. Soon as you go pro it doesn’t matter, it’s gone. So what’s the point of worrying about that?..
I mean get the experience, get comfortable in there and stuff, that’s all amateur is for. Then when you go pro, it’s what then, about money.
Are you like Conor or Paddy when it comes to believing in the Law of Attraction?
I just believe in myself, know what I mean. I don’t think too much into anything, you know what I mean. I just don’t think about it at all. I just go in and do it, know what I mean. I think I’m the best, put in the work, train hard and have fun. That’s what I believe in. I think if you think about it too much then it can take over yourself, know what I mean. I’ve always believed in myself all the time.
Doesn’t matter what anyone says to me, it doesn’t come on board. It’s weird the way I think. I just don’t give a fuck, to be honest. lol Just go with the flow, that’s it.
So what was your own personal experience of UFC Dublin like. The crowd, the buzz, seeing your guys doing so well?
It was phenomenal, I was in Paddy’s corner walking out and the crowd.. like wtf’s going on, it was ridiculous. A good experience, being you know, behind the scenes, seeing what goes on and stuff. The main thing I took from it is, they’re all the same, no ones different. They’re all the same, as fighting in Belfast or Dublin, it’s no different than any other show. Only you get paid more and that’s about it. The bigger crowd and a bigger paycheque.
What’s your own experience with the coverage MMA gets, north and south of the border?
I get a lot, but actually these last five months. I walk down the street where I come from and I get stopped like every time, know what I mean. Go downtown or something, walk into a restaurant or a shop. Eyes like laser beams. I’d be like wtf is going on. People saying well done and it’s such a nice feeling though, a bit strange.
After my last fight, people coming up asking for pictures and autographs lol I’m standing there like saying wtf is going on? You know what I mean. I’m only seventeen, doing something I like and people are saying I’m such an inspiration. It’s a nice feeling so it is.
Tell us something about you people wouldn’t know?
I was never really into what everyone else was into. Didn’t play football, I didn’t do anything anyone else did. I was into like hunting and fishing. I did that for a while when I was a kid. Also, I started with Karate when I was younger, but I kinda drifted out of that. If I wanted something I didn’t stop until I got it and I was never into Xbox games or sitting in, I was always outside.
Climb a mountain or something. I was always different than anyone. Still, when I go back, I know a lot of people, but I don’t have many like close friends. If you’re not into MMA. I just don’t get on with many people. It’s not that I don’t get on with them. It’s just that I can’t be around them that long. Watching football matches and shit, it’s just not for me. It just doesn’t interest me.
So you’re turning 18 the end of October. Have you got plans for the rest of 2014?
I just take it as it comes. I have a fight scheduled for the start of October sometime. It’s just up to John then, so it is. Whatever he does I’ll just go with the flow, it doesn’t really bother me. I kinda wanna go pro as soon as I can. But if I have to wait another while, then so be it.
Image courtesy of pledgesports.org