WATCH: Rising Irish star tells Ariel Helwani why he left school to pursue a career in MMA

The SBG fighter, who enjoyed a winning debut with promotion Bellator last weekend, spoke to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour

MMA Hour

Image: Youtube

James Gallagher got his Bellator career off to a winning start last weekend with a unanimous decision victory over Mike Cutting.

That takes the 19-year-old's record to 4-0 and following his victory at Bellator 158, the Tyrone featherweight spoke Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to discuss how he got into the sport and why he left school at 15 to pursue his dreams. 

"I hated school, I was never interested in school," he explained. "I never got on with the teachers because I was always interested in training MMA. I didn't want to do work and I never did my homework. I was always in trouble.

"I used to be in school and I'd watch highlight videos of Gunnar Nelson on my phone.  I was just having a hard time and one day I went into school and the teacher told me my work. I was just back from training, I had be training at 6.30am that morning and went in at 9am, and my teacher gave me a load of work. I thought to myself 'I'm tired, I'm not doing this'.

"The teacher started giving out to me and going mad at me and I just stood up and I said 'I'm done, I've had enough'. I couldn't handle it anymore, I just wanted to train. I got up and walked home and my parents asked me what I was doing back. I explained that I couldn't do it anymore and they understood.

"They've got my back in everything and they worked to be able to give me money to train in Dublin because I live four hours away from Dublin. I had to get the bus up and John [Kavanagh] let me live with him. My parents worked so I could fight, so now I'm on a big mission to repay them... I convinced them I would put in the work to make a career out of it and they were never really interested in me making a career out of it. They were just happy that I was happy doing it."