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James Gallagher

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James Gallagher
Born (1996-10-22) October 22, 1996 (age 23)
Strabane, Northern Ireland
Nickname(s)"the Strabanimal"[1]
Height5 ft 9 in (175.26 cm)[1]
DivisionFeatherweight (2015-2017)
Bantamweight (2018–2019)[1]
Reach67 in (170 cm)
StyleBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fighting out ofDublin, Ireland
TeamStraight Blast Gym - Ireland
TrainerJohn Kavanagh (martial artist)[2]
RankBrown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout0
By submission7
By decision1
By knockout1
[1] Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

James Gallagher (born October 24, 1996) is a professional Irish mixed martial artist who currently fights for Bellator MMA in the bantamweight division. He holds a professional mixed martial arts record of 8 – 1 (Wins – Losses) with 6 of those fights having taken place with Bellator, where he holds a record of 5 – 1.[1] In his most recent performance at Bellator 217, he secured a first round, rear-naked choke submission victory over Steven Graham, earning him his 4th submission victory under the Bellator promotion.[3] He is next scheduled to face Jeremiah Labiano on June 22, 2019 at SSE arena in London.[4] Gallagher currently lives in Dublin, Ireland and trains at Straight Blast Gym Ireland HQ (SBG) under head coach, John Kavanagh.[5] He has trained alongside former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor at SBG for a number of years.


Gallagher was born and raised in Strabane, Northern Ireland.[6] He pays homage to his upbringing in Strabane by incorporating it into his current in-ring nickname "the Strabanimal". He showed interest in martial arts throughout his childhood and started training at Strabane Fight Team at 12 years old.[7] He started competing as an amateur mixed martial artist at 13 years old. He met his current head coach John Kavanagh at 13, after having competed against and beating a 21-year-old opponent in an amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) bout.[8][9] John approached James after the contest, expressing his disliking towards him competing at such a young age, particularly against opponents much older than him, holding a clear strength advantage. Kavanagh offered to train James under the condition that he wouldn't compete in MMA again until John had given his approval. James started training with Kavanagh shortly after meeting him. He claims to have been driven regularly between John's gym, SBG, in Dublin and his home, at the time, in Strabane, located approximately 220km away from SBG.[8][10] Having shown little interest in his academic studies, James managed to convince his parents to let him drop out of school at age 15, looking to begin training full-time in the hopes of pursuing a career as a professional mixed martial artist.[10][11] After dropping out of school, James moved to Dublin where he started training full-time while living with his current head coach.[8][10]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]


Gallagher holds a record of 15-3 as an amateur mixed martial artist.[1] He made his professional debut on October 17, 2015 at age 18 where he faced Denis Ahern in a featherweight bout at the event Cage Kings 3, scoring a first-round rear-naked choke submission victory.[1]

He next competed on December 5, 2015 at Chaos Fighting Championships 15 against Declan McAleenan. After taking the fight to the ground early into the first round, Gallagher landed a number of strikes from top position before securing a guillotine choke that ended the fight, marking his second professional victory.[12][1]


He next competed on February 27, 2016 at BAMMA 24 where he scored his third professional submission victory, securing a rear-naked choke stoppage against Gerard Gilmore at 2:55 of round 1.[13]

Gallagher signed with America's second largest MMA promotion, Bellator MMA,[14] on April 7, 2016,[9] under which his next professional bout took place on 16 July, 2016. He faced Mike Cutting at Bellator 158 where he won the fight via unanimous decision, scoring 10-9 for all 3 rounds on each of the judges' scorecards. He stated in an interview with MMA Junkie after the fight that while feeling happy about earning the victory, he was disappointed with his performance, claiming that he only demonstrated "a quarter" of his true level of skill.[15]

His next bout took place on 16 December, 2016 at Bellator 169 where he faced Anthony Taylor. In the opening two rounds both men landed punches, Gallagher landed a number of leg kicks and scored a take-down in round 1, but wasn't able to execute a submission.[16] After landing in back mount 10 seconds into the third round, Gallagher secured a rear-naked choke at 1:52, earning him his first stoppage victory inside the Bellator cage.[1]


On February 24, 2017 at Bellator 173, Gallagher was matched against Kirill Medvedovsky, where he secured another rear-naked choke stoppage win, this time earlier than his previous performance, at 2:53 of the first round.[1] Gallagher showcased improving striking ability in his performance against Medvedovsky and was praised for these improvements after the bout.[17][18]

Gallagher next performed at Bellator 180 which took place in Madison Square Garden in New York City. He squared off against then 40 year-old Chinzo Machida, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt and older brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.[19][20] After taking Machida to the ground early into the first round, Gallagher moved into the full-mount position before transitioning to the back-mount and locking up another rear-naked choke which won him the fight at 2:22 of the first round.[21]

A knee injury that was suffered during wrestling training forced Gallagher out of his first scheduled main event slot at Bellator 187 where he was due to face Jeremiah Labiano in Dublin on 10 November, 2017. He underwent knee surgery shortly after he announced his withdrawal from the fight. Subsequent to surgery, he was told to wait 6 weeks before returning to training, a result that he considered to be "the best result I could've asked for", considering the severity of the injury.[22]


His comeback fight that was expected to take place in his second scheduled headline performance at Bellator 196 was also scrapped due to a hand injury that also occurred in training shortly after his comeback fight was announced. It was expected that he would face undefeated featherweight at the time, Ádám Borics, however was forced to pull from the contest after not being medically cleared to compete.[23]

Prior to his comeback performance at Bellator 204, Gallagher was riding a 4-fight win streak under Bellator, holding a professional record of 7-0, with all of his fights having taken place at featherweight (145 lbs.). At Bellator 204 he made his debut to the bantamweight (135 lbs.) division against then 26 year-old and Bellator newcomer, Ricky Bandejas.[24][25] In an interview with MMAFighting, Gallagher stated that he felt "amazing" after having overcome 2 substantial injuries and claimed to have been offered a chance to fight for the Bellator bantamweight championship with a win over Bandejas in his return on 17 August, 2018.[26][27] Despite being sidelined for 13 months, Gallagher spoke optimistically about about his two injuries, stating that they taught him how to face adversity more constructively, and that they ultimately made him a stronger fighter.[28]

During the opening minutes of the first round of his fight at Bellator 204, he received a left side kick to the face that was followed up by multiple punches to the head, prompting the referee to stop the fight 2:49 into the contest, marking Gallagher's first professional loss.[29] Following the contest, Gallagher was criticized for his behavior during the lead up to the fight by a number of other fighters from varying other promotions.[30] Bandejas, in his post-fight interview with MMA Junkie, claimed to feel “real good” after earning his TKO victory over Gallagher after claiming to have felt disrespected by things Gallagher had said to him prior to the fight. He said that he was being overlooked during the build-up to the fight as most of the media attention was directed towards Gallagher.[31]  

Following his first professional career loss, Gallagher stated in an interview with Eurobash that it was “the best thing that’s ever happened” to him. He said that the loss caused a shift in his motivations for why he fights and that he became even more motivated to compete, saying “I’ve never wanted it as much in my life”.[32][33]


His first fight following his loss in August, 2018 took place in his headline performance at Bellator 217 on 23 February, 2019 in his second bout at bantamweight against Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, Steven Graham[34]. Gallagher executed a take-down inside the first 5 seconds of the fight and established a dominant top position shortly after. He spent the remaining duration of the fight either in the mount or back mount positions before setting up a rear-naked choke that eventually caused Graham to tap out. This marked Gallagher's sixth professional win coming by way of first-round submission.[35][1] He stated in his post-fight interview that earning the victory in front of the sold-out Dublin crowd was "the best moment" of his life.

Since defeating Steven Graham earlier this year, Gallagher has since renewed his fight contract with Bellator, where he currently holds a 6-fight deal with the promotion.[36][37]

Gallagher is next scheduled to compete on June 22, 2019 at Bellator London against Jeremiah Labiano in a catch-weight bout that will take place at 140 lbs.[38] The two men were scheduled to fight in November, 2017 however the contest didn't materialise due to Gallagher's knee injury.[39]

Fighting style[edit]

Gallagher is a submission-based mixed martial artist who has implemented traditional Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique to win his fights. 7 of his 8 professional wins have come by way of submission, 6 of which took place in the first round.[1] He has successfully submitted 6 opponents via rear naked choke and 1 via guillotine choke.[1] He typically executes his submission skills by firstly landing a take-down before sequentially progressing into more dominant positions on the ground. Often he will land strikes from top position or back mount before setting up his submissions. He was awarded his Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt in January, 2019 from long-time head trainer, John Kavanagh. While the majority of his wins have come by way of submission, Gallagher has been praised by Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith for his improving striking skills, particularly in his performance against Kirill Medvedovsky.[40]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 8-1 Steven Graham Submission (rear-naked choke) Bellator 217-Gallagher vs. Graham Feb 23, 2019 1 2:29 Dublin, Ireland
Loss 7-1 Ricky Bandejas TKO (head kick and punches) Bellator 204-Caldwell vs. Lahat Aug 17, 2018 1 2:49 Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States Bantamweight debut
Win 7-0 Chinzo Machida Submission (rear-naked choke) Bellator 180-Sonnen vs. Silva Jun 24, 2017 1 2:22 New York, New York, United States
Win 6-0 Kirill Medvedovsky Submission (rear-naked choke) Bellator 173-McGeary vs. McDermott Feb 24, 2017 1 2:53 Belfast, Ireland
Win 5-0 Anthony Taylor Submission (rear-naked choke) Bellator 169 – King Mo vs. Ishii Dec 16, 2016 3 1:52 Dublin, Ireland
Win 4-0 Mike Cutting Unanimous decision Bellator 158 –Daley vs. Lima Jul 16, 2016 3 5:00 London, England Bellator MMA debut
Win 3-0 Gerard Gilmore Submission (rear-naked choke) BAMMA 24 Feb 27, 2016 1 2:55 Dublin, Ireland
Win 2-0 Declan McAleenan Submission (guillotine choke) Chaos FC 15 Dec 5, 2015 1 N/a Derry, Ireland
Win 1-0 Denis Ahern Submission (rear-naked choke) Cage Kings 3 Oct 17, 2015 1 N/a Cork, Ireland


This article "James Gallagher" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:James Gallagher. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Sherdog.com. "James". Sherdog. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
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  3. "Bellator 217: James Gallagher back to winning ways in Dublin". 2019-02-23. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  4. "James Gallagher vs. Jeremiah Labiano, Bellator London | MMA Bout". Tapology. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  5. "MMA Fighters - SBG Ireland HQ - Dublin". SBG Ireland HQ - Dublin's premier BJJ MMA Striking Facility. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  6. "Bellator 173: James Gallagher Ready To Do Strabane Proud". www.flocombat.com. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  7. "After overcoming crushing lows, James Gallagher feels like a world champion already". SportsJOE.ie. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Traynor, Mikey. "John Kavanagh Tells Surreal Story Of Discovering James Gallagher As A 13-Year-Old". Balls.ie. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "The Bright Lights of Bellator Await Irish Wonderkid James Gallagher". Fightland. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Bellator teenager James Gallagher has been turning heads, including John Kavanagh's, since 13". MMA Junkie. 2016-05-19. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  11. "After overcoming crushing lows, James Gallagher feels like a world champion already". SportsJOE.ie. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
  12. "James Gallagher vs. Declan McAleenan, Chaos FC 15 | MMA Bout". Tapology. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  13. Bean, Martin. "BAMMA 24 - Official Results". BAMMA. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  14. "RANKING: The Top 5 Global MMA Organizations". sg.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  15. "Bellator 158 winner James Gallagher disappointed in performance: It was a quarter of my ability". MMA Junkie. 2016-07-18. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  16. stevejuon (2016-12-16). "LIVE! Bellator 169 Results, Play By Play Updates". MMAmania.com. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  17. Raftery, Seamus (2017-02-25). "James Gallagher Shares Wonderful Letter He Received From Young Autistic Fan Prior To Bellator 173". Pundit Arena. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  18. Slack, Jack (2017-06-19). "The Tactical Guide to Chinzo Machida versus James Gallagher". Vice. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  19. "Chinzo: The Other Machida". Fightland. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  20. "After overcoming crushing lows, James Gallagher feels like a world champion already". SportsJOE.ie. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  21. stevejuon (2017-06-24). "LIVE! Bellator NYC Results, Streaming Updates TONIGHT!". MMAmania.com. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
  22. Carroll, Peter (2017-10-31). "James Gallagher undergoes 'successful' knee surgery, back training in six weeks". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  23. Keating, Cian (2018-03-13). "James Gallagher Ruled Out Of Bellator 196, Announces His Target Comeback Date". Pundit Arena. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  24. Dollery, Paul. "Big night ahead for Gallagher as unbeaten 21-year-old eyes world title shot in Dublin". The42. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  25. Sherdog.com. "Ricky Bandejas MMA Stats, Pictures, News, Videos, Biography - Sherdog.com". Sherdog. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  26. "Bellator's Gallagher says he's been promised December title shot in Dublin". ESPN.com. 2018-08-16. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  27. "James Gallagher is one victory away from a world title shot". SportsJOE.ie. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  28. stevejuon (2018-08-13). "James Gallagher is back at Bellator 204 and the entire Bantamweight division is now screwed". MMAmania.com. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  29. Tucker, Bryan (2018-08-17). "Bellator 204 results: Caldwell vs. Lahat". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  30. "Twitter reacts to Ricky Bandejas' brutal KO of James Gallagher at Bellator 204". MMA Junkie. 2018-08-18. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  31. "Ricky Bandejas: Despite post-fight embrace, James Gallagher 'still a (expletive)'". MMA Junkie. 2018-08-18. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  32. Dollery, Paul. "'I was beaten, there are no excuses... but it's the best thing that happened to me'". The42. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  33. Corry, Michael (2018-12-13). "James Gallagher Believes First Loss Has Made Him A Better Fighter". Pundit Arena. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  35. stevejuon (2019-02-23). "LIVE! Bellator 217 Results & Streaming Updates". MMAmania.com. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  36. Cunningham, Cillian (2018-11-26). "James Gallagher: "The Contract Is Signed, The Jimmy Show Is Back"". Pundit Arena. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  37. "James Gallagher Signs Six Fight Deal with Bellator, Next Fight to be Announced". Fighting Irish MMA. 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  38. Balfe, John (2019-04-02). "James Gallagher returns against Jeremiah Labiano as part of bumper Bellator London card". TheMacLife. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  39. Balfe, John (2019-04-02). "James Gallagher returns against Jeremiah Labiano as part of bumper Bellator London card". TheMacLife. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  40. Balfe, John (2017-06-06). "Watch: Bellator 180 Foundations - James Gallagher". TheMacLife. Retrieved 2019-05-31.

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