Even James Gallagher was shocked by the amount of negativity that came his way on the back of his first professional loss to Ricky Bandejas in the first round of their bantamweight clash at Bellator 204.
That being said, the young Irishman is not wasting any time trying to convince his critics as he is set for his first main event booking under the Bellator banner this weekend in Dublin when he takes on Steven Graham.
As with any announcement concerning Gallagher, the decision to make the polarizing SBG fighter the main attraction on the night was met by some backlash. For Gallagher, the inflammatory reactions he provokes from people are one of the reasons that he should be given pride of place for the event.
“To get these kinds of opportunities you have to bring something to the table; not only can I fight but I can pull a crowd,” said Gallagher on the latest episode of Eurobash.
“No matter if the people like me or they don’t, they’re coming. For a company like Bellator, the people who organize [the events] and the head people, all they care about is numbers. They don’t give a sh*t about anything else, but it’s different for me; I get the grief and I get people either behind me or against me. [Bellator] don’t give a sh*t about that, but they do care about people coming to watch the show and that’s what I do…I bring people to watch the show. Whether they’re coming with me or against me, I’m coming ready.”
Having been in the spotlight since his mid-teens, “The Strabanimal” has developed a thick skin, but even he was blown away by the droves of people went to an effort to belittle him on the back of his first career defeat.
“I counted it on a few different days and I got 500 messages plus. The stuff that people were saying, it didn’t make me think, ‘That d*ckhead said this about me or said that’…I was going, ‘What is mentally wrong with these people to go and take time out of their day?’” he revealed.
“Everyone has to work, everyone has to strive for something. I know for someone like myself I don’t even have time to think about someone else. It shows their kind of mentality more than anything else because that kind of thing doesn’t affect me at all.”
“I’m waking up every day doing something I love and I’m able to make a living out of it,” Gallagher added. “I’m waking up everyday loving my life, that’s why I don’t have time to go out and comment on other peoples’ posts. They’re waking up saying, ‘F*ck this…I have to do this,’ they’re just miserable. They’re not happy because they f*cked up their own lives and they didn’t up where they want to be. They can’t be happy for me because I haven’t f*cked up my life and have been grafting my bollocks off to get somewhere I want to be.”
As far as Gallagher is concerned, even if he puts on the greatest performance of his young career on Saturday night, his critics will never accept him.
“I’ve realized that I’ll never be accepted. If I was in this game to be accepted by the fans or the people tuning in I would’ve quit long ago. I’m not in it for that; I accept me. I know what I am, I know the work I’m putting in, I know where I want to go and so do the people around me—that’s all that matters,” he said.
“I could go in there and put on the best performance of my life and they’re still going to say something; they’re still going to run me down—‘He still hasn’t fought this guy,’ or, ‘He hasn’t done this or that’. I don’t care about it. I’ll go in there and put on the best performance of my life and I’ll accept that because I’ll move on and I’ll benefit from it. Peoples’ opinions just don’t bother me like that.”
Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The James Gallagher interview begins at 50:00.