Things between bantamweight grapplers, James ‘The Strabanimal’ Gallagher, and Cal ‘The Sunderland Strangler’ Ellenor have certainly reached boiling-point over the course of last week. The once cordial submission-specialists have engaged in a war of words on social media recently – with injuries from both parties been called into question.
The two are scheduled to meet for the third time this May in the headlining slot of Bellator London – having failed to make the walk twice before. A mishap with a medical check forced Ellenor from a September meeting in Dublin last year – while Gallagher was forced to withdraw from Bellator Dublin last month due to a back injury.
Speaking with Fightbook MMA at Fightcon in Cork over the last weekend – Gallagher touched on his developing rivalry with Ellenor and dismissed claims he had faked a back injury ahead of the 3Arena meeting.
“It stems from him (Cal Ellenor) coming and saying I had a fake injury,” Gallagher said. “I’m fighting for ten years – I’m fighting more than that. I grew up in Strabane in County Tyrone. I’m fighting since I could walk out my front door as a kid. Don’t disrespect me as a martial artist like that and say I’ve a fake injury and I’m scared to fight. I walked out at Madison Square Garden at nineteen years old in front of 20,000 people and beat my idol’s big brother (Chinzo Machida). I’m not scared of a fight – I love fighting. I thrive off that – I love confrontation, it calms me, it makes me feel like me.“
Gallagher also spoke on Ellenor’s medical mishap ahead of their scheduled September showdown – before outlining how he plans a brutal finish of the Sunderland native.
“So, he disrespected me by saying I’ve a fake injury. I’m like, ‘Don’t dare do this – don’t dare say that’. The first time he pulled-out was because he f**ked up and was stupid and didn’t get the right medicals. I’ve legit medicals I went out and spent three and a half thousand to get the scans on my back to try and make it to the fight. Don’t dare disrespect the work I’ve put in. I got injured in January – I tried to get there for weeks and weeks, I tried my best to fight. The medical team wouldn’t let me do it. You get a terrible back and it’s only going to get worse, I’m only twenty-three and I’ve another ten years in this game. Once he came out and said that, now it’s real. I’m coming to cave his head in.”
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.