Paul Redmond says Bellator’s New York date would be “ideal” as free agency looms

The UFC veteran's contract with rival promotion BAMMA is set to expire

Paul Redmond

Image: ©INPHO/PressEye/Philip Magowan

In less than a month, UFC veteran Paul Redmond will be a free agent, as his contract with BAMMA is set to expire.

Redmond signed a deal that could potentially see him fight four times within the year for the promotion, but the Dubliner only managed two outings during the time; a co-main event slot against veteran Chris Stringer and a headline world title fight against fellow UFC veteran, Norman Parke.

Parke getting the nod over three rounds has been debated since the fight. With the decision on a knife-edge, Redmond wanted to see if he could get a rematch of the massive domestic clash in Dublin in June. However, with Parke closing in on a deal with KSW, the rematch is off the table.

"It’s been inactive to tell you the truth," said Redmond when asked about his year with BAMMA.

"I wanted to get back in there a few weeks after Norman, but Andy (Ryan) told me that it would make no sense because I hadn’t given myself time to recover from the weight cut and the fight itself.

"I didn’t have a hair out of place after that fight. The doctor in my post-fight check nearly had me out of the room as soon as I had sat down backstage in Belfast.

"I’ve watched that fight back with Norman, and no disrespect to him, but I don’t know how you can score two rounds to him for lying on top of me. I went out and did post-fight interviews after that fight and that’s something that I never do.

"I wanted to try and get the rematch set for Dublin, but that hasn’t really worked out for me in the end."

The loss isn’t ideal for Redmond as he approaches free agency, but based on the reaction he has seen to the fight, he is confident that his stock has risen since the SSE Arena date.

"I genuinely think my stock has gone up since the fight. Even straight after the fight, the top brass in BAMMA all told me that they thought I had won the fight. If you watch the fight back you can hear how the fans react to the decision, and that was in Norman’s backyard.

"When Cage Warriors came over a few weeks later some of the most experienced officials in the UK were coming up to me and telling me I was robbed. I’m not trying to say it was a robbery, but I’m just trying to explain how many people have approached me about that fight.

"I’m not crying about anything. It’s on to the next one for me," he added.

"People saw how I game I was. I came out and tried to finish that fight in every round. I wanted five rounds before we signed. I really don’t know why it wasn’t five rounds.

"Me and Norman are high-level fighters, we’re well able for five rounds. I think the fans would’ve liked to see that one go on a little bit longer because it was one hell of a fight while we were in there."

Paul Redmond acknowledges the crowd after losing via majority decision. Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

Redmond underlined that he is open to all offers when his contract runs out. With KSW, ACB, Cage Warriors, Bellator and BAMMA all vying to become dominant brands in Europe, it could be a good time for the Team Ryano man to test his worth.

"I’ve fought for everyone. Cage Warriors eight times, BAMMA twice, UFC twice and Bushido Rings. I’ve been signed to fight for Bellator too, but I had to pull out with an injury.

"All I want is good, solid fights and to be paid what I’m worth," he said.

"I’m not fighting for buttons anymore because I put absolutely everything into this game. I’m 31 this year, and I’m not fighting for money that anyone would consider a living wage or anything near it.

"If I’m good enough to main event or co-main event a show, I’ve got to get paid accordingly. I fight my heart out for the fans. I always go out on my shield. That should be acknowledged."

MMA made its return to New York City last November when the Conor McGregor headlined their UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden. Image: Jason Silva/Zuma Press/PA Images

New York City

Redmond also revealed that his "ideal" scenario would see his next outing on Bellator’s Madison Square Garden card, which takes place on June 24.

"That would be an ideal situation. I’ve fought in stadiums for UFC, I’ve fought in national arenas that I couldn’t have even dreamed about fighting in before going pro, but Madison Square Garden would definitely be the highpoint of my career if we could arrange something with Bellator."

On Patrick’s Day, Michael Conlan’s professional boxing debut underlined how well Irish fighters are supported in New York.

Although Redmond acknowledged that Bellator already has a card that will sell with Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, Matt Mitrione, Douglas Lima and Lorenz Larkin all booked for action, he thinks the promotion need to use as many Irish fighters as possible to guarantee that the event has a "raucous backdrop".

"When it comes to the national scene over here, everybody knows who I am. Every time my name is mentioned in the same sentence as a big card the Irish fans come out and get behind my name because they know I leave everything in the cage every time I step into it.

"Look at Michael Conlan on Paddy’s Day. A lot of New Yorkers probably didn’t follow his amateur career, but by the time his pro-debut came along they were well aware of him after he got the promotional push from Top Rank.

"For me, they have to put James (Gallagher) on that card to captivate the Irish-Americans.

"They’ve already booked three great fights so it will sell, but if they want the raucous backdrop that the Irish bring to the table, it’s Bellator’s interest to have a few more Irish names on the card.

"I’ll help them in any way I can. I think I’m the right kind of fighter to bring in here. They believed I was good enough to fight for them when they booked me against Weichel, and if anything, my stock has only gone up since then.

"I really hope we can make this happen."

After fighting his last bout for UFC in July, Redmond had to wait five months until he was released from his contract. It would be 14 months before he fought again, but 'Redser' is hoping for a much quicker turnaround between contracts this time.

"If you handed me a contract today I could be ready in four weeks. Honestly, I went out for a few drinks with the lads from Ryano on the Sunday after the Norman fight.

"I did two sessions that Monday. That’s honestly the only night out I’ve had since that fight.

"I have a different mindset now. I just want to compete. I don’t want to knock my training back by going out on the piss. Those kinds of nights can set you back weeks.

"I’m good to go in four weeks for any promotion that wants to sign me."

@PetesyCarroll