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Mickey Gall doubles down on hair wager, believes Sage Northcutt is ‘afraid to lose those locks'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Mickey Gall is campaigning for some extra fun when it comes to his UFC on FOX 22 fight against Sage Northcutt. After his original calls for a ‘loser shaves his head' match went unanswered, Gall doubled down on the wager on Monday, saying that he believes the silence from his spiky-haired opponent is an indication that Northcutt is scared, and that Gall plans to push the issue once the two see each other in Sacramento.

"I just thought it would be fun to do," Gall told host Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. "He's got the spiky hair and I offered to do the hair bet, loser shaves it. People seemed to latch onto the hair thing, but I don't know, man. He hasn't said anything. I'm down. It's hair, it grows back, and I'm confident I'm not going to be the one shaving it. I think he's a little worried. I think that shows a little lack of confidence, afraid to lose those locks.

"I'll probably bring it up out there in Sacramento when I see him," Gall added. "That was the only bet. People seemed to like it, so I'm down to follow through. And I think he should too. Make it fun."

Gall, 24, and Northcutt are slated to meet on Dec. 17 at the brand new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento, Calif. The bout is one that Gall specifically asked for after his high-profile win over former WWE wrestler CM Punk in September, and Gall said on Monday that a callout of Northcutt has been in his plans even before he made his UFC debut earlier this year against Mike Jackson.

It goes without saying that Gall isn't the first UFC fighter to target Northcutt, as the 20-year-old prospect has been on the receiving end of a number of callouts during his brief time in the promotion. Many of those were likely due to the massive marketing push the UFC threw behind Northcutt upon his 2015 debut. And while Gall says his own callout was born more out of stylistic advantages he believes he holds over Northcutt rather than any perceived slight, he also hasn't been shy at poking fun at Northcutt's other unique charms.

"Sometimes I feel like he acts like what he thinks a person is supposed to act like. Like, it's just over the top, where I feel uncomfortable conversing with him," Gall said. "But I have no hate for the guy. He seems like a nice kid. He's a young kid. I'm sure he'll grow into his own and get a genuine personality eventually. But yeah, he just seems a little corny."

Personal feelings aside, the bout is a fascinating slice of UFC matchmaking, as both Gall and Northcutt are young and heavily-hyped prospects with plenty to gain from competing on a big stage like FOX.

With such big stakes on the line, Gall said he switched things up for this camp, splitting his time between his home in New Jersey and the famed Tristar Gym in Montreal to train under head coach Firas Zahabi.

"I talked to Firas out in Cleveland (at UFC 203), and I really respect Firas and guys like Rory (MacDonald), Georges St-Pierre. I study those guys," Gall said. "That's three great martial artists right there. I think Firas is one of the greatest minds in MMA, and I just wanted to learn. I wanted to learn from him. I also know Firas has a black belt in karate, so he knows karate, and he also knows Sage. Like, Sage trained up there. So it seemed like a useful place to get some work in, and it was. I had a great time up there."

It wasn't long ago that Northcutt actually vowed to commit to training "full-time" at Tristar Gym. Ultimately, that promise never came to fruition, and Gall has since taken up the reigns. He expects Zahabi to be in his corner for UFC on FOX 22 and plans to split time between New Jersey and Montreal for his camps moving forward. He also couldn't help but ask his teammates at Tristar where things went wrong with Northcutt.

"They said he seemed a little homesick," Gall said. "And some of the guys were saying he didn't really work that hard. They didn't think he worked that hard. They said I was a much harder worker, and that they expect me to beat him up."

In the end, one thing is certain for Gall: after kicking off his UFC career with a pair of fights against men who, under normal circumstances, would never be considered UFC quality, UFC on FOX 22 represents the beginning in earnest of Gall's Octagon journey.

Northcutt may not be a world-beater yet, but he is still a very talented fighter, and he is certainly a dramatic step up in competition from Jackson and CM Punk. But this is what Gall has prepared for his entire life, and he is excited to finally get this ball rolling.

"The first two guys, they were not UFC caliber guys. But Sage is," Gall said. "He's good. He has some weapons. But I'm going to beat his ass."