James Gallagher is back in action this weekend at Bellator 217, facing Steven Graham in the main event of the show.
The fighter has been a lightning rod of controversy since debuting with the promotion in July of 2016, but has accepted that he won’t be accepted by the fans or critics, no matter what.
“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 on Eurobash (via MMA Fighting). “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.”
Gallagher is also competing for the first time since suffering a loss to Ricky Bandejas at Bellator 204, which also served as the first defeat of his professional MMA career.
People would give Gallagher a lot of crap after that loss, as the fighter received over 500 messages from detractors after the fight.
“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 said. “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.”
Bellator 217 takes place on Saturday, February 23 from the 3 Arena in Dublin, Ireland with James Gallagher and Steven Graham headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs via tape delay on the Paramount Network.