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26th Jun 2017

James Gallagher’s attitude towards his haters will remind you of a certain UFC superstar

Remind you of anyone?

Ben Kiely

James Gallagher

James Gallagher’s no ‘wannabe Conor McGregor,’ but the shades of ‘The Notorious’ in his mindset are undeniable.

The cost of being a cocky, talented Irish MMA star is the inevitable comparison to Conor McGregor. As James Gallagher told the press in the build-up to his fight at Bellator 180, if he’s going to be compared to anyone, it might as well be the best.

‘The Strabanimal’ doesn’t talk like his most famous stablemate, nor does he walk the ‘billionaire strut,’ but there is one comparison that he will find hard to avoid.

That’s how he handles his detractors.

It’s no secret that Conor McGregor is a hated man. Part of the weird human condition for certain folk is harbouring contempt for people whose only crime is being in the public eye.

We’re not talking about those who are annoyed at him for never defending a belt or those who are irked by some his more offensive trash-talk. We’re talking about those who have an irrational hatred of him.

They watch every step he takes praying for him to lose his footing. They follow his ascent to the top waiting for him to splatter against the Earth. When his head slumps to the floor, their arms reach for the sky. For some unknown reason, they want this stranger to fail.

In this digital age, they’re called trolls, but a better word for them would be pricks.

As Gallagher explained on Monday’s MMA Hour, he has to deal with this special brand of pricks regularly.

“I get a lot of things like people just messaging me saying I’m never going to make it anywhere, I’m a bum and Bellator are building me up, I’m a wannabe Conor, there’s no one actually proud of me… and they just put me down, so they do. They just say these things that are not nice.”

Gallagher is 20 years old. However, his maturity levels as a fighter and as a person are through the roof. Much like fellow influencer McGregor, he listens to the hate and feeds off it.

“I think I’m kind of sick in the head because I smile, it makes me happy, so it does. It makes me happy. I don’t know what it is. I smile at it and I’m like, ‘This is unbelievable that these people are going go out of their way because I have such an influence on them.'”

All that hate aimed in his direction makes Gallagher a happy man. If he’s garnering this much attention while getting paid to do what he loves, he must be doing something right.