Anthony ‘Prettyboy’ Taylor: James Gallagher is Fighting Bums

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.

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UFC Glasgow – Finally a 2017 Card that packed a Punch

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Guest Blogger – Logan Winger

UFC Glasgow was not without surprise, thanks to a couple of fights that took everyone by surprise and not just the fighters on the receiving end. Sunday’s event marked the second visit for the UFC to Glasgow, Scotland and thankfully this time there was some action for the fans to remember. The Preliminary card was packed with exciting fights from veterans as well as rising stars.

The Women’s Bantamweight division saw Leslie Smith bring her winning streak to two fights since her loss to Cris “Cyborg” in 2016. In this bout against a very hard hitting Amanda Lemos, Smith just simply kept the pressure on until Lemos had nothing left in the tank. Up to the fight ending flurry from Smith that resulted in a TKO victory, the fight would have been difficult to call. Both Women showed tremendous heart and scary power. I love the growth of the Women’s divisions in the UFC and cannot wait to see both of these women back in the Octagon.

After a pair of unanimous victories for Brett Johns and Danny Henry(Winner of the Fight of the Night bonus), the fans were witness to an odd, yet incredible KO victory.

Galore Bofando and Charlie Ward had barely even had a chance to get a feel for one another, when a botched throw by Ward and an aggressive shoulder shuck from Bofando ended with Ward getting knocked out by the canvas.

Literally. If you have not seen the highlight yet, let me tell you, it is worth seeing just for the “what the ….” factor. Bofando took no chances on whether Ward was going to stand back up by diving in for a few solid punches before the referee slipped between the two fighters. Of all the ways to lose a fight, that has to be among the most disappointing ways.

 

The last two fights of the Preliminary card managed to shine pretty bright too, ending in a rear-naked choke from Pantoja midway through the 3rd and final round, and a spectacular left hook from Danny Roberts that put Bobby Nash to sleep.

All-in-all, the Prelims were as exciting and eventful to watch as most Main Card fights have been in recent months, and in my opinion, they may have even trumped the Main Card for 113 as well.

The Main Card was an oddly consistent series of fights with 3 decision victories and 3 KO victories playing leapfrog. It all started with a dominating unanimous decision win for Justin Willis over James Mulheron that took me by surprise. Not that I didn’t feel like Willis won, but rather that I didn’t think he would win.

Following that Heavyweight bout, Khalil Rountree and Paul Craig faced off. Thankfully this fight ended in the 1st round because neither of these fighters showed any form of captivating aggression or pressure until the final seconds before the fight was stopped. Rountree essentially mocked Craig and stayed out of his range for the first four and a half minutes, only landing and absorbing a handful of punches and even fewer kicks.

Finally Craig got backed against the cage and Rountree cut off his exit with a vicious right cross that looked to temporarily shut out the lights for Craig. A few nasty hammer fists from Khalil later and the fight was over with just 4 seconds left in the round. Rountree absorbed a fair amount of boos from the crowd for standing over his beaten opponent, post KO, but it was certainly an exciting end to the fight.

At Middleweight, we got to see a very back and forth fight between Jack Marshman and Ryan Jones. Both fighters had the chance to put the other fighter away in this on, but somehow neither fighter got knocked out and a very swollen faced Marshman took the win via Unanimous Decision.

That is a fight I would love to see a rematch of at some point in the future. Next up was a lightweight bout between Paul Felder and Stevie Ray. This fight gave Felder a share of the Performance of the Night bonus, and for good reason. After a very closely contested first 3 minutes, where both fighters were digging for control in the clinch, Felder struck gold with a knee to Ray’s chin that buckled him. Felder immediately tried to finish but Ray was able to pull guard. Unfortunately for Ray, his return to the Octagon in Glasgow would not end in a victory like his first. Instead, Felder planted a couple strikes and then a pair of well placed elbows to end Ray’s night.

Sundays Co-Main Event was a Catchweight fight at 118lbs between Cynthia Calvillo and Joanne Calderwood(missed weight). There is something to be said about how entertaining Calvillo’s fights turn out to be.

It seems like every fight I have seen in and outside of the UFC has been a roller coaster of a fight. This fight was no different. As sometimes happens, the Judges were watching a different fight than 99% of us out there, scoring the fight 30-27 x2 and 29-28. Anyone who actually watched the fight knows that at best the fight should have been scored 29-28 x3 and the first round could have arguably been considered a draw. Both fighters pressed each other, Calvillo with furious hooks and snappy jabs, and Calderwood with long range kicks to the body and legs and well timed hooks when Calvillo would close the distance.

Calvillo landed a pair of takedowns in the fight, which undoubtedly contributed to her final score with the Judges. Unfortunately for Calderwood, if there was any doubt about who the winner should be, the second takedown and the following rear-naked choke sealed the deal. Calvillo’s win bringing her young career to a 6-0 start.

The Main Event of the evening pitted MMA Veterans Santiago Ponzinibbio and Gunnar Nelson against each other in a Welterweight matchup. Coming into this fight, it was hard to gauge which fighter would walk away victorious.

Ponzinibbio is a very heavy handed Welterweight, winning 14 out of 25 fights via KO or TKO. On the other hand, Nelson is equally as successful at submitting his opponents. Once the fight got started it appeared as though Nelson quickly figured out his range as he fired off a few combinations with decent success in the first minute. It looked like Ponzinibbio was just circling, biding his time to throw one of his bombs. Fortunately for all of us fight fans, we didn’t have to wait long. Ponzinibbio swung for the fences and landed an hard right cross that nearly brought Nelson down but he somehow recovered. His recovery was just long enough to give Ponzinibbio a nice square target against the cage to tee off on, which he did, landing a handful of punches one of which shut out the lights on Nelson. Another impressive KO victory to end the evening in Glasgow.

The UFC has had some struggles lately. Trouble retaining fighters, keeping fighters healthy, and just simply providing you and I with entertaining fights consistently.  I have high hopes that this Fight Night helps turn that around. The match-makers nailed it on this one, whether they realized it or not. Maybe this will show them that trying to revive older and more legendary fight careers should not take their focus far off of grooming next years class of Champions. We can but hope.

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#MayMacWorldTour – What did McGregor and Mayweather learn?

So the dust has finally settled on an unprecedented World Promotional tour for , I suppose,  a most unprecedented fight. Bottom line both fighters entertained and took to their roles with gusto. They got the job done and the event sold.

At it’s worst moments the whole show threatened to Jump over the cliff along sexist, racist or even homophobic lines. At it’s best moments it was theatre pure and simple. Theatre deserving of an amphitheater and in Toronto it felt like Floyd Mayweather was the one to be fed to the Lions.

The following night in the Barclay’s Arena in Brooklyn, was so bad for McGregor, a part of you wondered had he done it on purpose. His attempted apology or explanation for the racial language  (the use of the word ‘boy’ in the previous two press conferences) added to petrol to a flame that was barely a flicker.

Of course Mayweather couldn’t cope 24 hours having people’s sentiments soften towards him before diving in with the use of the word ‘faggot’ in the final London Press Conference. Despite this and a dozen or so other subplots both men sold the fight. Or perhaps the better description would be that they sold the event.

I was somewhat reluctant beforehand to voice the opinion that Mayweather vs McGregor would surpass the 4.6 million buys that Mayweather and Paqaiou did – but now having watched the drama of last week unfold and the response on social media I would be very surprised if it doesn’t blow those numbers out of the water.

What have both men learned about each other having been up close and personal  4 times?. I suspect what Mcgregor has learned about Floyd is that he is a Big man child. It was a theme he came back to time and again until at the London Press Conference it became the central plank on which he spoke. How useful this information is to McGregor remains to be seen.

All through his career McGregor has been a guy poking and prodding opponents to either get in their head or at least glean enough information from them so as to establish who they are at their core. I don’t think McGregor has managed to get in Mayweather’s head but Mayweather has revealed himself to be utterly childish and childlike in his behaviour. I don’t believe this is a pretense and one would almost feel sorry for him just for the sheer volume of hangers on that surround him and that are in all likelihood bleeding him dry.

What Mayweather has learned about McGregor could be of more value. McGregor is absolutely convinced that he is going to dismantle Floyd Mayweather. His mind does not and will not entertain defeat. If you knew nothing about boxing or MMA and watched the fighters talk you would be forgiven for thinking it was Mayweather who was the one that was crossing over into McGregor’s domain. Such is the Irishman’s confidence. I was watching an Interview with Mayweather’s business manager Leonard Ellerbee and he almost spoke in awe as he described how confident McGregor comes across and in particular how confident he is in predicting a win.

‘ This motherfucker is absolutely convinced he is going to knock Floyd out and Floyd is aware of that now ‘

I think any chance there was of Floyd Mayweather underestimating and coming in cold against McGregor has evaporated during this World Promotional Tour and that in the end might be the saving of him. Although We’ll see what the next 6 weeks bring!!!!

At the very end of the London Press Conference Mcgregor ended by saying

‘That’s the end of the Bullshit – now we fight’ – I have a feeling there maybe a little BS left in this one yet!!

 

Conor McGregor – Cultural Icon to the ‘140 Character’ Generation

 

I genuinely think 40 year old Floyd Mayweather didn’t get it. But Boy does he fucking get it now. It doesn’t matter how big his entourage of yes men is – There is only one  ‘A’ side and he’s not the guy in the iffy tracksuits.

Toronto, Canada was added to the world promotional tour at Dana White’s insistence and what a fucking superb stroke that was. Conor McGregor absolutely schooled Floyd Jnr last night in front of what has to be one of the wildest crowds i have ever seen at any event anywhere. There is no other way to put it. Conor McGregor blew in to the Province of Ontario like a hurricane from the Day After Tomorrow.

He used the mishap with the microphones from the day before in L.A. as his starting point and he just kept on rolling. If Conor McGregor adapts to Boxing like he’s adapted to boxing press conferences this fight could well meet his prediction of being over within 4 rounds.

Floyd Mayweather looked old and foolish tonight. A sad thing to see from such a long-standing champ. From the trashy tracksuits, to the routine with his school bag -everything was off tonight. It became clear early he was going to use the same routine from the night before. Conor killed any notions he had about that and the crowd most certainly killed it too. The Toronto fans were hungry for flesh and Mayweather was on the menu.

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Conor McGregor is a cultural icon for the new Millenium. Whether you like that fact or not – it is becoming abundantly evident on this World Press Tour about just how big he is. Fan’s don’t just like him. They adore him.

The brashness , the confidence, the expletive infused language, the obvious intelligence, the lightening fast retorts. He is the male messiah of the 140 character generation.

After tonight i do not expect Floyd to stand toe to toe with him on the podium again. He’ll wait for the ring and pray all this shit-talk is just that shit-talk. But here is the problem with that – Conor McGregor to date in his career has nearly always backed up his claims. That is why he is loved.  And that is why the fans love him. He has the balls to talk about the impossible, put it out there and go chase it down. Deep down each and everyone of us admire that in him because we lack or have lacked the courage to do it in our own lives to a greater or lesser degree – at some point.

Still Conor McGregor Can’t beat Floyd Mayweather. Hmmmm……are you as sure about that Today as you were Yesterday?

If Floyd is asking is Mcgregor prepared to weather a storm. Conor McGregor is responding  ‘ I am the Storm motherfucker’

The show continues….

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Krystle – Would a model Rose by any other name smell as sweet?

A little Shakespearean gymnastics for you MMA heathens in the Title. But first a little stage direction.

Enter Krystle Rose –  Freelance model, Diva D.J. and 33.3% of former Girl band  The Fallen Femmes


One of the more enjoyable aspects of covering the various promotions involved with Mixed Martial Arts are the cast of characters and industries that often intertwine with a big fight night production. And amongst that supporting cast of characters comes undoubtedly the world of modelling.

In the UFC and I am not joking when I say this, the cast of Ring Girls and models involved with the organisation, probably to a woman, have a higher social media following than the vast majority of fighters. Don’t believe me?. Pick out any one of the UFC ring girls from the website and check out their Twitter and Instagram numbers. Now check against one of your favorite fighters. Surprised?. I was initially but then beauty is a beast of an opponent in the Octagon of Social media.

Krystle Rose is an Irish Freelance model who has worked on assignment at a number of Sporting events most recently covering exhibition events for Darts Superstar Phil Taylor and another for 2016 World champ Gary Anderson. She admitted that she would love to cover MMA events and has turned her attention in this direction along with the Fitness and health markets.

Krystle is a relative newbie to modelling having only started two years ago.

I was approached out of the blue by an online shopping company to model their clothes. They must have come across my personal social media. The great thing was that i had previously bought from this company. So it was a great fit for my first gig

I was curious to find out if she saw a thread linking her previous incarnations as band member and DJ

I have a real need to perform and express myself . It’s not about what I perform or the location it’s more about the adrenaline i get from it!  – I suppose it is like an Alter Ego 

Freelance Modelling is not for the fainted-hearted and Krystle is Freelance in all aspects she handles her own bookings, photographers, travelling , collaboration with other models and of course the relentless social media aspect of this particular Industry.

She entered an Irish modelling competition at the Wright Venue in Dublin last year and while she didn’t win it she met a plethora of other industry people that was enough to really kick start her into 2017.

‘ I got to meet other aspiring models, Producers and photographers. We all added each other on social media and various groups’

It’s very interesting to hear her talk about how the dynamic between photographers and models works when one or both are on the way up the ladder. I mean photographers and models quite obviously need each other but in terms of both building up Portfolios and Profiles a lot of the trade between them is done in the form of what is called TFP. Time for Prints. Basically it is a bartering system

What Time for Prints involves is the models Time in exchange for the photographers prints. So the photographer can use the prints to build up his Portfolio or for a different look he is going for and the model has full copyright of the prints and can use them is any way she see’s fits also

Most recently she has been working with the Irish brand RnR Fits, a fitness range of clothing. All photos featured here are from that burgeoning brand. The Fitness apparel market is a huge one and an important one for models to break into. That it ties in nicely with her natural inclination to model around sporting events is a bonus.

This is probably a good time to introduce the fact that Krystle Rose has graduated from the University of Limerick with a Master’s Degree in the Science of psychology.  I don’t know why it continues to surprise me when i find that models are highly educated . As all personal evidence to date indicates as a profession the majority in the Irish Industry are university educated, sharp as fuck and great business people.

Anyway  i digress!  ‘ The Psychology of Health and fitness’  was a module of Krystle’s Master’s degree that she feels has relevance to her day to day work and what she may have planned for the future.

To that end Krystle has started to run workshops to aspiring models who are thinking of entering the freelance modelling world. The traditional route into modelling via Agencies isn’t the only one anymore. She has built a huge list of contacts not just from her modelling career but also from her previous work as Diva D.J and part of the Fallen Femmes. Her Workshops cover everything that the aspiring model or Selfie sensation needs to grasp and grasp quickly in the modelling industry.

From what range of healthy tanning cosmetics to use, how to build contacts, how to ensure your personal safety, how to professionally deal with different types of clients and how to manage and build your social media brand.

The clinics to date have been a resounding success.

The Big Winners from BAMMA30

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The only let down with BAMMA30 last night in the 3 Arena was the main event – Philpott Vs Walsh. It brought a somewhat anti-climactic finish to what was an otherwise excellent card. If you haven’t already heard, the bout was ruled a no contest due to Philpott’s Illegal kick to Shay Walsh’s head while he was still on the ground trying to get up.

Philpott has only himself to blame for this one as with a little patience I believe he would have finished the fight inside the next 30 seconds. He was absolutely killing Walsh in that torrid 1st round. The two have been engaged in a war of words since the controversial finish as it has subsequently turned out that Walsh has suffered a broken jaw from the illegal blow and will be no doubt out of action for a long time to come.

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Paul ‘Redser’ Redmond defeated C4 Sinclair in the other Co-main event slot and I have to say that Redser looked very, very good in this one. C4 is a BAMMA legend but the Knee Bar finish by Redmond in the 2nd showed his ability to recognise an opportunity and implement the appropriate finish quickly. He has to be in line for a title shot after that and C4 after announcing his retirement in the ring by throwing his gloves on the floor said as much in his interview afterwards

Fabian Edwards for me was the most impressive fighter on show last night. In fact i’d congratulate Aaron Kennedy for actually making it into the second round. Fabian has a combination of speed and power that looked just different class here last night. He also showed his repertoire of skills by getting the submission finish.

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Interviewed afterwards ‘The Assassin’ sounded a little downbeat. He was I think miffed that he made a few mistakes that meant he didn’t get that first round finish he predicted. This is a kid in a hurry , maybe a little too much so, and the only word of caution i’d issue here is possibly skip that September BAMMA card and go again in the November Bellator/BAMMA offering. This is a minor quibble and I would be very surprised if Fabian Edwards isn’t in the UFC inside of 12 months. He’s that good.

Other Big winners on the night for me were Blaine O’Driscoll and Richard Kiely. Blaine has an all action style and got the submission in the second round. It took a little bit of work to get that rear naked choke but he worked the position and and eventually the finish. He is a work in progress but progressing definitely in the Right direction. It was Interesting to note, that as far as i could tell, his fight had the highest viewing figures on the Unilad Stream so it would seem he also has a quite a fan base. Definitely the streaming figures dropped by 2,500 to 3,500 in the subsequent fights.

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There was a war of words and feet between Daniel Olejniczak and Richard Kiely in the run up to their bout that even managed to seep out into the mainstream press. Richie is not shy about saying that he is the Face of BAMMA and the people’s main event. So it is fair to say that he had lumped a fair amount of pressure on himself in the lead up to this Welterweight bout but boy did he deliver in style with a clinical finish in the second round. The combination of Patience and devastating speed to set up the finish will I am sure have pleased his coach John Kavanagh.

In the 1st round both fighters were feeling each other out with not a huge amount in the way of action however Richie set up the finish with a beautiful straight left which knocked his opponent to the ground and hammer-fisted away until the Referee could jump and save Daniel from further punishment. That means Kiely is now 2-0 in his BAMMA career and he will be definitely looking for a shot at the Welterweight title very soon if not his next fight.

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Fabian Edwards – I’m Gonna Knock him out early and go out and meet some Irish Girls!

MMA Insider - the Inside view of the crazy world of Unarmed Combat

It’s often instructive when interviewing a fighter to start with their ring name. Often times it’s gimmicky and bears no resemblence to the man or their ring craft but in the case of Middleweight Fabian ‘The Assassin’ Edwards it bears up to the scrutiny thus far in his career.

‘ I take people out clean and quick like an Assassin. Simple’ he explains

‘ One of the things i’ve been happy about in my career both as an amateur and professional is that my finishes have never been dirty or awkward. Always Quick. Alway Clean.’

Irish Featherweight Andy Murphy had pointed out to me that there is a lot of hype surrounding this kid. I mean he’s very high up the main event card in only his 2nd gig as a professional. Some of this has to do with his meteoric rise through the amateur and paid ranks no doubt but…

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