Former MTV DJ Sean Gilley set to make his MMA debut March 9th, “I will get in the cage and do what I got to do to get that W and that £££££.”
Hailing from Newcastle, switching MTV for the cage, from partying to fighting, sounds familiar right? Well this time we aren’t telling the tale of who first comes to mind. This time it’s about Sean Gilley, the former MTV DJ who is pursuing his dream of becoming an MMA fighter.
Gilley has a background the sport dating back before his career as a DJ, however, was unable to keep up training due to the demand of his job and the lifestyle he lived.
“I was actually doing mma before DJing about 6-7 years ago but couldn’t keep it up because of the life style and wasn’t to serious. I got myself into being out every night on the party lifestyle DJing & traveling and had no time or fitness for the sport. Now I’ve given up that lifestyle to start what I’ve always wanted to do in my life. I’m training at Newcastle Fight Center and it’s run by head coach the legend Peter Irvin which is a huge name in this industry.”
Gilley has now completely called it a day as a DJ and is focused on MMA. Having been a fan of the sport for years he looked up to former welterweight and middleweight champion GSP, with aspirations of being like the superstar.
“I’ve completely give up that lifestyle now, of DJing, and just focused 100% on MMA. I’ve always been a fan of the sport. I used to watch bully beat down & I’m a massive fan of GSP and Nate Diaz and always looked up to them and said I wanted to be like them one day.”
Unlike many who enter the sport with a major background and huge popularity, Gilley is starting from scratch giving no one a reason to doubt him or his achievements. He has yet to think too much into going pro and is just looking to enjoy himself first before thinking about it further.
“I want to start at the bottom so no one can say anything and I think it’s the right choice. I have a 4 fight contract with on top and who knows we will see what happens after that. So to be honest am just in this to have fun and haven’t really thought much about it (turning pro). I know for a fine fact that everyone in the featherweight division are gonna look at me as an easy target but now am gonna be the money fight, even in amateur/pro someone is always gonna have something to say.”
Gilley was originally slated to fight for MTK MMA, however, nothing every came from it and was later invited to check out On Top promotions. Having enjoyed his time at their show he opted to sign with them as it felt like as opposed to some other major promotions around the UK.
“So I had an interview with MMAUK which I was saying I would be fighting in March for MTK in London, I hadn’t put pen to paper and to be honest I wasn’t really interested and never heard much about it. So I got a random message from James Lakes, from On Top promotions, asking me to come along and check it out, see what the atmosphere was like and give feedback about the show and see if I wanted to fight on the next show. I can’t explain, being there was unreal the atmosphere was electric and was well looked after by the team there, they made me feel a home if it wasn’t for James none of this wouldn’t be happening. On Top promotions is huge in Scotland and still growing.”
“There was interest from MTK, Cage Warriors and BAMMA but I knew it was right to start off where I feel like was home and on top provided me that.”
Going from the lifestyle of a DJ to an MMA fighter would be very tough, something Gilley has noticed himself. But has completely cut the old lifestyle out in effort to pursue his dream.
“To be honest this lifestyle has been hard, imagine DJing every night, traveling and being mortal at work. Now you can’t rock up to a cage with 5 Jägermeister or tequila and be like let’s go, maybe down the big market in Newcastle, but not in the cage. So I’ve literally cut my old lifestyle completely off to pursue my dream basically.”
Considering the backstory prior to transitioning to MMA it would be hard not to think of Aaron Chalmers. When asked about going down a similar route, Gilley admitted he has been a major fan of Bellator and would hope to fight there one day.
“Look I get this question asked loads all the time about Aaron, like Aaron is a sound lad and doing well for himself and bringing events to Newcastle which is good for anyone who is starting in MMA and wants to be on the big shows in the future. But I’ve always been a massive fan of Bellator more than the UFC, the Eddie Alverez vs. Michael Chandler fight, oh my god, what a fight. I’m a big fan of the belt design of On Top and Bellator so hopefully one day I will get there.”
Gilley debuts against Christian Walker and is not bothered about who his opponent is, he just wants to go in, get the win and get a step closer to his dream.
“I don’t know anything about this lad, I didn’t even know who I was fighting until like last week. I’m not too fussed, I will get in the cage and do what I got to do to get that W and that £££££. I’m always humble and respectful until someone gets in my face and he’s in the way of my future it is what it is.”
You can catch Sean Gilley’s MMA debut at On Top 22 on March 9th.
Economics and Finance Student in the University of Limerick. Editor for MMA Latest News and contributor to MMA Viking also featured on IMMAF, Fox Sports Asia, FanSided MMA and MMA-Today.