Following his recent victory over James McErlean at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Ireland, Shay Walsh detailed the issues leading up to Bellator 173.

The main issue surrounding the fight was that the two fighters were given different contracts for their bout agreements. Whilst Walsh was given a contract to fight at bantamweight, James was given a contract to fight at featherweight.

“We were talking to each other after the fight and he kept reassuring me his contract said featherweight,” Walsh told MMA Plus, recapping the weight debacle. “I’m thinking in the back of my mind ‘I’m not sure’ but I had mine ready, on my phone, I brought it up straight away that mine said bantamweight. 

I didn’t know that it actually said featherweight on his and if it did, it’s a f–king massive mistake on Bellator’s part. It’s all worked out in the end but that could’ve gone pear-shaped for me last night.”

The Lancastrian responded to the situation well and was crowned victor of the fight with a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) despite the huge disadvantage in weight difference. Walsh admitted it felt like a double victory after being financially compensated, but he is adamant if the opportunity arose, we could see him move back to featherweight.

Walsh on potentially fighting Alan Philpott

Again, the Tiger Muay Thai athlete has been called out by BAMMA Lonsdale champion, Alan Philpott in a fight the Irishman wants for the vacant BAMMA bantamweight title. Shay seemed enthused about the potential clash but admitted doubts after previous call-outs from the Irishman not materialising.

“He’s called me out about three or four times now and it’s never happened,” he exclaimed. “I’ll take that fight any day of the week and he knows it. The thing is the place where it made most sense would’ve been last night [Bellator 173] in Belfast. He’s from Belfast, we just both previously lost to Tom [Duquesnoy], it was the fight that made sense, the fight I was completely presuming it was going to be.

“He even said he wanted that fight in Belfast, but then I don’t know what happened, he changed his mind, said he didn’t want to compete on the card. He doesn’t want to fight on that card, gives it up, lets somebody else take it and 30 minutes after the fight he’s all over Twitter again saying how he’ll do this and that. He is always respectful to me, but at the end of the day he thinks he can beat me and he can’t.”

With Shay moving to (15-4) he is adamant that he can still earn a call-up to the UFC but insists a move to the mixed martial arts promotion isn’t essential. A move to the UFC could see him rematch Tom Duquesnoy after the pair met in 2016. “Firekid” won the first fight by technical knockout.