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Aaron Pico: James Gallagher needs to ‘grab his nuts and fight’

MMA prospect Aaron Pico makes his pro debut against Zac Freeman on June 24 at Bellator NYC.
Esther Lin/

LOS ANGELES — As far as Aaron Pico is concerned, James Gallagher needs to stop yapping and start fighting.

Sure, both will compete for Bellator in New York City on June 24. The much-heralded Pico makes his pro debut against Zac Freeman on the Bellator NYC main card, while Gallagher fights Chinzo Machida on the Madison Square Garden undercard.

But this arrangement came after Gallagher called out both Pico and his buddy, fellow wrestling standout and SoCal native A.J. McKee, and neither fight materialized.

So Pico has a message for the bombastic young Irish featherweight: Time to put up or shut up.

“James Gallagher needs to fight A.J. McKee, stop running his mouth and finally grab his nuts and fight,” Pico said.

Pico, a descendent of Pio Pico, the last governor of Mexican California, has been accustomed to the more respectful culture of amateur wrestling. But Gallagher, who Pico seems to believe is ducking him, has helped warm him up to the trash-talking aspect of the mixed martial arts game.

“It fires me up when people, for example, James Gallagher said certain things and he won’t take the fight,” Pico said. “The guy has a bunch of confidence in himself and I don’t blame him, but for me, the fight was presented to him to fight me. His management team, his coach said ‘let’s pump on the breaks on this a little bit,’ So when you’re running your mouth and you’re not taking the fight, that’s kinda, that’s not cool.”

Pico is making his pro debut at lightweight, but at the end of the day, if McKee doesn’t get a crack at Gallagher first, the much-hyped prospect said he’d be fine with going to featherweight and doing the job himself.

“He said something about American wrestlers and stuff, and he never even fought an American wrestler,” Pico said. “He knows the fight that was presented, he’s got a smart team, a smart manager, and he’ll probably go back to the drawing board.

“Like I said, as soon as he gets into title contention and does what you need to do, you might see Aaron Pico at 145 get ahold of him.”

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