James Gallagher earned a decision win at Bellator 223 … just don't ask him about his Straight Blast Gym teammate Conor McGregor like we did

  • James Gallagher, Paul Daley, and Costello van Steenis won their respective fights at Bellator 223 in London, Saturday.
  • Gallagher earned a unanimous decision after three rounds against Jeremiah Labiano at a catchweight of 140-pounds, just two days after appearing to confront his opponent’s coach at a media event at a lush cinema in Leicester Square.
  • Gallagher, wearing sunglasses indoors, told the coach to shut his “f—— mouth” and was inches from an altercation in the cinema aisles at the ODEON Lux.
  • Business Insider was there at the time and told we asked “a stupid question.”
  • We asked if Gallagher was influenced or given advice by his Straight Blast Gym teammate Conor McGregor, who is also renowned for his head-on press conference antics and flamboyant fashion.
  • Gallagher’s win is the ninth in his career to date. He told us he plans to return to the cage later in the year, in Dublin.
  • Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.

LONDON, The SSE Arena in Wembley – James Gallagher won a tight decision on Saturday, with three cageside judges scores of 29-28 enough to to top Jeremiah Labiano in a 140-pound catchweight fight at Bellator 223.

Gallagher oozed confidence before he even got into the Bellator cage. He took his time at the entrance, holding the Irish flag aloft under the big screen, and appeared to have much of the crowd in the palm of his hand.

Gallagher asserted an early dominance in the fight itself. Using lateral movement, leg kicks, and knees while he wrestled Labiano against the fence, the 22-year-old won the opening round with ease thanks to one takedown, a few elbows, and many left fists.

The second began tentatively but both fighters threw heavy leather midway through. Gallagher capitulated his control, with Labiano winning the round from then on, on the ground.

With it all to fight for in the third, Gallagher got back to doing what he did best in the first, taking Labiano down and gaining mount position. Labiano regained control with a clutch transition, finishing the bout on top, but Gallagher had done enough for the unanimous decision, his second win of the year.

“I didn’t perform at my best,” Gallagher said in the mixed zone after the fight. “About 25% of my ability.” He added he was still determined “to conquer the world” and that he wants to headline Bellator’s Dublin show in 2019.

Gallagher’s victory, the ninth of his career, arrived two days after he appeared to confront his opponent’s coach at a media event in the ODEON Luxe cinema, Leicester Square, in London’s West End.

Midweek, Gallagher, clad in ripped white jeans and spiky, Christian Louboutin-style shoes, repeatedly told Labiano’s coach to shut his “f—– mouth,” before having a near altercation in the aisle.

Business Insider was there, and asked Gallagher what had got him so amped up. “I’m chilled,” he said. “I’m not hyped. I’m just relaxed. I’m focused, in the zone, and ready to go.”

Read more: Rafael Lovato Jr. fought back the tears after beating Gegard Mousasi in the fight of his life, winning the Bellator Middleweight title

There were obvious comparisons to be made between Gallagher, who was wearing sunglasses indoors, and his Straight Blast Gym teammate Conor McGregor, another SBG fighter renowned for his flamboyant fashion and head-on approach at press conferences.

But Gallagher did not want to entertain questions about McGregor, whether he had influenced him, or given him any pre-fight advice. “I don’t know what you want me to say,” he shrugged. “It’s a stupid question.”

After his win, any bad blood seemed not only buried, but perhaps manufactured all along. Gallagher told reporters he actually liked Labiano and had invited the fighter and the American’s team to his after-party.

Read more: Artem Lobov, a friend of Conor McGregor, says the UFC star has one great advantage over Khabib Nurmagomedov if they ever fight again

Elsewhere on the card, battle-hardened Bellator veteran Paul Daley bucked a two-fight losing run by electrifying the SSE Arena with a mercilessly hard-hitting win over Erick Silva.

Daley hit Silva with uppercuts on his feet, hammer fists when the Brazilian was on the floor, and showboating kicks to close the show.

Earlier in the night, Mike Shipman walked to the cage while “Why can’t we be friends?” played, but his opponent Costello van Steenis was in no mood for friendship and put him away in the second round with nasty, fight-ending, ground and pound.

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