Paul Redmond’s post-fight scrum was cut short following his victory over Charlie Leary at Bellator 217 when the Dubliner’s emotions got the better of him while he fielded questions from the gathered media.
Although it was unclear at the time what had inspired such a reaction from the Irish lightweight, the Team Ryano fighter revealed that it a was a culmination of a long layoff, the nose break he suffered in his last outing, and the anxiety that came along with it which led to quick exit from the media scrum.
“I hadn’t fought in about ten months, so it was close to a year long lay off,” Redmond told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast. “The way my last fight ended…there were a lot of nerves, a lot of anxiety. [I was thinking], ‘Can I still do this?’…‘Is my nose gonna get smashed in again?’…It was just a lot of nerves and anxiety.”
On top of the anxiety he felt ahead of the fight, Redmond explained that he was carrying a flu and a badly torn rotator cuff into the contest.
“I thought my performance was piss poor. I had a few issues going in with injuries. I more or less had the flu this week. It was there or thereabouts and I’ve been necking Lemsips to beat the band since Monday. On Thursday, I had to start dehydrating myself so I couldn’t drink any more Lemsips, I had to start taking the Lemsip tablets,” he said.
“I have multiple tears on my left rotator cuff. For the last 18 months, I’ve been trying to rehab that. It was going good up until two weeks ago, I went over on my shoulder when I was wrestling one of the big lads, James Sheehan, in the gym. It more or less nearly tore off my arm when we were going through the rounds. I was back in college last Saturday so I had two days where I was kind of inactive. I was out running and [my shoulder] seized up, so at the start of fight week I got James’ brother to hold a few pads for me to burn a few calories. He asked me to throw a jab and the jab couldn’t leave my shoulder with the pain. I had to get physio from Daithi Quinn up in Lifespiral and I’ve been rehabbing it all week.”
The reports from Team Ryano after the fight were that Redmond was very flat before going out to fight Leary. The submission ace explained why.
“It was just a culmination of all of those things on my mind. Before you’re going out, you’re thinking, ‘Can I throw a jab again…is it going to hold up for the first 15 minutes…have I got the energy to go with that flu?’ It’s not that I’m not super fit; it’s one thing I don’t even worry about. Again, it was just a culmination of everything and the year off.
“The crowd doesn’t bother me…I’ve been out in front of big crowds like that before, but there was just a lot of things going through my head. The shoulder was probably the big [issue]. I couldn’t even drive the car without it hurting, just changing the gear stick. If I had lost I would never have come out and said all of this because I would have never taken away from Charlie’s win.”
Redmond revealed that he didn’t even want to be at the 3 Arena before he took to the cage.
“I didn’t want to be there on Saturday night. Not that I didn’t want to fight, but with all those things in my head, I was thinking, ‘F*ck, I’d just rather be at home doing f*ck all.’ It was just a weird scenario, not wanting to be there essentially, but it’s just all those little things going on in my head and with my body. I was just all over the place,” stated Redmond.
“The nose was one thing. We’d been sparring hard and I’d taken some shots on it. I was fairly sure it would hold up, but obviously it’s a different kettle of fish when you’re in a real fight because people are throwing elbows and throwing everything at 100 percent. I got a good few smacks on it the other night and it held up. I think I needed to get a few smacks on it to know that it’s okay.”
It appeared as though the moment that got the better of Redmond in front of the media at Bellator 217 was when he was asked about his longtime coach, Andy Ryan.
He explained that he had considered hanging up his gloves after his last outing, but the legendary Irish judoka talked him out of it.
“Without Andy, I probably wouldn’t have the drive to keep going at it,” Redmond said. “After last year, it would’ve been easy to say, ‘F*ck it, I’m done.’ Andy sat me down and said, ‘Look, you’re still in your prime, you’re still in good health…it was just one of those things…you got clipped. Why would you give up something you love doing and you’re good at it and you’ve got a couple of years left doing it? It’s not like you’re 37 or 38 years of age and you’re after getting smashed five or six times.’
“I don’t feel old. I know I’m 32, but I don’t feel old. I still think that I’m coming into my prime. Without Andy, there is no Team Ryano. And it’s the same with Myles Price. This is the hardest I’ve seen Myles train for a fight. Andy gave him a little kick in the arse at the start of the camp and said, ‘Look, this is a huge fight for you. You’re after coming off the back of a loss with Norman [Parke], so cop on.’ He trained his bollocks off and got the win.”
Redmond underlined that he had no regrets about shedding tears on camera, having sacrificed everything just to compete on his hometown card that night.
“It’s one of those things; I really don’t give a f*ck what anyone thinks. If I’m crying or this and that, I genuinely couldn’t give a bollocks and I mean that from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “What you saw in there the other night, I would’ve been in the back doing that anyway. I think I started crying in the cage when they announced my name.
“Win or lose, it’s just one of those things, I nearly shed a tear every time I fight. There’s probably not many fights that I haven’t shed a tear for. It’s weird because you’re so happy or so sad if you win or lose, but really, it’s irrelevant whether you win or lose. It’s the build-up to it, you’ve done eight weeks, you’ve dieted, you’ve not seen your mates, you’ve not been on nights out; you’ve sacrificed things all for something you love doing.
“If I win I cry my eyes out, if I lose I cry my eyes out.”
Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Paul Redmond interview begins at 52:20.