A little over two weeks ago I posted what I thought was an inoccuous enough facebook post. In it I asked a question and set off a shit-storm the like of which I have not seen before or since. The question? Just how the hell did featherweight Anthony ‘ Prettyboy ‘ Taylor get signed to Bellator with an amateur record light on wins and seemingly only heavy on rhetoric?
So armed with the question we went looking for an interview with the man himself and fortunately he was happy to oblige. I decided to address the elephant in the room first
‘ Anthony, a lot of people including a couple of journalists slammed me for my facebook post. They thought that it was crossing a line. That I was publicing trying to shame you. How did you feel about it?’
‘ A lot of people have their opinions. To me this is the fight business. It doesn’t bother what people say. I don’t take it as a smear. A lot of my amateur record doesn’t appear on the main stat websites. I fought a lot in Nevada. My actual amateur record is 6 and 5.’
Within about 60 seconds of talking to Prettyboy it is abundantly clear that ‘He gets it’ and by gets it I mean that he understands professional MMA is a business. An entertainment business.
‘ There is no one in Bellator that has the charasmatic personality I have. My energy creates everyone else’s energy. I get a lot of shit about my amateur record but when I started in 2014 I didn’t know what the hell MMA or the UFC were about’
So just how did it start
‘ I did it as free trial for 2 months and James Lee Hardman gave me a fight. But in the beginning I didn’t take it serious it was just something to do to keep in shape. Hell I used to take fights on 1 day’s notice!
Taylor is not short on confidence or short of a word indeed he is a headline writers dream. He speaks almost exclusively in soundbytes!..and I mean that as a compliment.
‘ Bellator are not gonna let me go…Bellator love me!
‘ I have more fans in Dublin than any Irish fighter outside Conor Mcgregor’
‘ I bring sexy…I bring charisma..I’m that guy’
‘ I want to fight Gallagher again it would be as big as the Diaz McGregor 2 fight!
In fairness since turning professional APT has fought top level guys including our own emerging superstar and Bellator wunderkid James Gallagher.
MMA aficionados might remember this Bellator contest from Belfast last year. Gallagher spent a considerable amount of time on Taylor’s back in the 3rd round trying to get him to the canvas.
‘ He was like a little leprechaun on my back saying ‘ give me my pot of gold, give me my pot of gold’ . Eventually I just slipped and he got his pot of gold! ‘
Note: Anthony does a pretty good impression of a Northern Irish Leprechaun
‘ You ask Gallagher I’m the toughest fucker he’s fought. I met a couple of the judges afterwards and they had me winning the fight two rounds to one before the submission ‘
In fact he says of Gallagher
‘He is fighting bums’
AJ McKee from my own gym and all round hi flier in Bellator has called him out several times according to Taylor.
‘ James Gallagher is being protected by his coach. John Kavanagh is not stupid fighting AJ at the moment is not a good career move’
The shtick about loving Ireland isn’t made up and he counts BAMMA’s Chris Boyne as one of his close friends and is coming here in the next couple of weeks on vacation. He is definitely determined to be on the next Bellator card in Ireland.
As for my original question. Just how did APT make it to Bellator?.
The boring answer:
I’d say a combination of being in the right gym e.g. AJ McKee et al and his manager James Lee Hardman
However there is nothing boring about APT
‘ I love to travel and I love to have fun. I cant wait to get to Ireland and tell James Gallagher I’m coming’
It’s safe to say we are looking forward to having you Prettyboy……especially the leprechaun’s.