Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

“The pressure has got to him.” Cal ‘Pacino’ Ellenor on why James Gallagher pulled out of their Bellator Dublin match-up. [VIDEO]

Posted on 17 February 2020 by Jake Jones


Cal Ellenor (8-2) and James Gallagher (10-1) have been due to face-off twice now for the main event of Bellator Dublin. However, both times the fight has been pulled within days of the headline bout.

The first match up was due to be on the 27th of September 2019 at Bellator Dublin. However, surreal circumstances left for the fight to be called off, when a Doctor from SafeMMA misread Ellenor’s brain scan and discharged him as unmedically fit to fight.

Ellenor was told the heart-breaking news that he should no longer train and that he would never be able to fight again.

Despite being told that a doctor simply would not get this information wrong. Further investigations found this report to have been false and Ellenor was cleared to fight again.

However, the bout had since been called off and Gallagher was rematched against last-minute stand in Roman Salazar (13-9). Gallagher won the fight in just 35 seconds, taking Salazar’s record to 13-10.

Embed from Getty Images

Gallagher openly said that he will actively seek to ensure the bout between him and Ellenor would take place and took to social media to wish Ellenor a speedy recovery.

Ellenor feels this was just playing the nice guy to begin with, as he then claims Gallagher went on to talk about Ellenor’s ‘fried brain’ and lack of sleep thinking about the fight.

On November 23rd, at Bellator London, it was announced that the match up between ‘The Strabanimal’ and Cal ‘Pacino’ will headline the up-coming Bellator Dublin event on February the 22nd, 2020.

Bellator Dublin fight poster @BellatorMMA

At the Bellator London media day, Gallagher and Ellenor shared a lot of respect for each other and it seemed the bout would go ahead.

However, now just two weeks away from the fight, Gallagher took to social media to announce he will no longer be fighting in his capital city, due to a back-injury sustained during his fight camp.

Ellenor believes that Gallagher may be faking this injury due to his lack of preparation for the bout and he feels that Gallagher’s ‘easy-fights’ in the past have had a role to play in this.

“He [Gallagher] might have had a camp and thought two weeks out maybe he is not in the place he needs to be” Ellenor said.

“The pressure has got to him, as you have seen in his interview before about panic attacks two weeks out and wanting to pull out.

“He says he has the strongest mindset in the game? Well it cannot be that strong if you are talking about panic attacks and pull out of fights two weeks before.”

Ellenor went on to say that he would have accepted the injury, if Gallagher had not have contradicted himself when posting across social media shortly after pulling out.

“It is fair enough if he has got injured and he cannot train, everyone gets injured, it happens to the best of us.” Ellenor said.

“But to then be putting videos online driving about in his Merc, giving it the big one and posting pictures carrying around gym bags and that, it doesn’t really look good does it.”

James posting 6 days after announcing he had pulled out of the bout @strabanimalMMA

Ellenor will still be attending Bellator Dublin. However, he had a few words to say about Gallagher for when their match-up is eventually re-booked.

“He intimidates me the least out of anyone I have ever fought” Ellenor said.

“I have put down bigger people than James”

“I am going to get in there, and I am going to take his head off. There is no denying that I can definitely knock him out with both hands, and that is what I plan on doing.”

Prior to this match up, many people criticised the fight for the level of respect the two shared, leaving no fire to fuel the fight.

However, after yesterday’s interview, I think it is fair to say this fight has more than enough to make for an exciting and blood-soaked battle.

Ellenor and Gallagher at Bellator London @JakeJonesMMA