IT’s not every day you get to meet Hollywood action movie icon Arnold Schwarzenegger at the training base of UFC superstar, Conor McGregor.
This week, however, Strabane man James Gallagher got the opportunity to spend time with his childhood idol when the former Governor of California casually dropped into the ‘Mac Mansion’ in the outskirts of Las Vegas.
Local MMA talent, Gallagher is preparing for the upcoming International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s world championships which take place on July 5th alongside his Straight Blast Gym International teammate McGregor at the lavish mansion.
And he got a pleasant surprise when the king of blockbuster action, Arnie - who was in town attending last weekend’s UFC 187 - popped in to say hello.
The ‘Terminator’ star is currently dating Conor McGregor’s physical therapist, Heather Milligan. And when she called by McGregor’s lavish pad to offer her professional services she brought along her boyfriend who is a huge fan of the UFC world featherweight challenger.
And 18 year-old Gallagher took full advantage of the opportunity to meet his hero.
“Arnold is going out with Conor’s physiotherapist and he was in town for the UFC,” explained Gallagher. “And Conor’s physiotherapist came to do some work on him and Arnie came along as he’s a big fan of Conor.
“It was such an inspiration to sit down and have a chat with him. He has been through it all and achieved so much in his life. So I enjoyed having a chat with him and it was great to meet an idol of mine.”
Gallagher has been living it up in Vegas since arriving at the start of May, but he is also putting in the hard work as he targets success at the IMMAF world championships in six weeks time - the tournament a prelude to McGregor’s world featherweight title fight against Jose Aldo at the MGM Grand.
“I’m having a great time in Vegas at my teammates’ Mac Mansion,” added Gallagher. “Training is going great, we are training every day at the UFC gyms. It’s such an honour to be a part of this amazing team out here.
“We are all isolated out here, helping each other improve and bouncing off each other.
“It’s a wonderful thing we’ve got going and I’m so glad to be a part of it. It’s six weeks until I fight in the world championships and until Conor fights Jose for the UFC world title.
“I’m feeling great for it. I’m trying to learn and improve and trying to get my body to move freely rather have than hard grit training every day.
“I’m just trying to move more freely and fluently. Conor is looking amazing in training and is ready now to go and pick up his belt.”
It was such an inspiration to sit down and have a chat with him. He has been through it all and achieved so much in his life. So I enjoyed having a chat with him and it was great to meet an idol of mine.James Gallagher