Professional Fighters League’s Daniel Gallemore may look like your typical MMA fighter at first glance. He sports a burly beard, a slew of tattoos and at 6-foot 5-inches, Gallemore has the build of a professional heavyweight. Yet, Gallemore is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
In high school, Gallemore competed in the typical sports one of his stature finds themselves in. Football and wrestling were on the athletic agenda for the heavyweight contender. However, “Big Kansas” wouldn’t go on to rush the field on Saturdays in Manhattan or Lawrence.
“I started training with a guy that I met in high school,” Gallemore said regarding his start in MMA.
I started training to relieve stress and stay in shape. There was some guys that I was training with who were competing and doing well. So, the coach asked me if I wanted to take a fight, I said ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ I won that one and that started the snowball effect.”
While most MMA fighters typically hit a few regional MMA promotions to grab some wins and build their record up. That wasn’t the case with Gallemore as he made his professional MMA debut in 2011 inside the Titan FC promotion, one of the top tier regional shows in the US. In his second professional bout, Gallemore found himself competing on the Bellator prelim cards.
Competing on bigger shows than most fighters at that point in their careers, Gallemore knew he needed to branch out from his Midwestern roots. Luckily for him, he didn’t need to travel too far.
“The training out here is stacked. There’s a lot of good gyms and a lot of high level guys out here,” Gallemore said of his training in Colorado. “It made sense. I could drive home today if I wanted to like if something happened to my kids or family, I could be there by tonight.”
Proximity to his family is just one bonus for training with the famed Elevation Fight Team. Fighters frequent the high altitude state, looking to increase their cardio skills. Also, the ability to train with not only guys competing in heavier weight classes, but the chance to work with quality big men was a major focal point in Gallemore holding his training camp in Colorado.
“It’s nice be able to have these big guys around because you know big guys have to go and train where other big guys are,” Gallemore said. “Curtis Blaydes is one of my main training partners. Josh Copeland comes up to train with us regularly and Tony Darling, an up and coming heavyweight has been coming in as well. I get to work with guys like Dave Zabriskie and Max Wessel too. These guys are big! I work with Division-I wrestlers almost every day. And they’re not guys like, ‘Okay I wrestled one year at whatever college.’ I’m talking guys that were national champs. These guys are monsters.”
Working with quality (and beefy) training partners has paid dividends for Gallemore. After a 3-1 run in Bellator, Gallemore captured the heavyweight title in Victory FC, a promotion that’s seen quite a few fighters jump to the UFC’s Octagon. Gallemore not only captured the title against the veteran Abe Wagner, he did so in impressive fashion, landing a first round submission. Gallemore followed that up with two first round finishes in his two title defenses.
Another secret to his success is the active lifestyle he lives. When most MMA fans think of heavyweights, cardio and endurance aren’t qualities that come up frequently. Training in Colorado allows Gallemore to take active rest days outside of the gym walls.
“Fighting is primal. Hiking and being out in the middle of nowhere is primal,” Gallemore said. “It’s clean and quiet. But it’s still being active and the hikes are usually at high elevations. A heavyweight with mediocre technique and excellent cardio would do well just because you can outpace someone. When you outpace someone and get them tired, technique goes out the window.”
Gallemore will aim to outpace a seasoned MMA veteran at #PFLFightNight in the form of American Kickboxing Academy standout Mike Kyle. Sporting a record of 22-15, Kyle will be Gallemore’s toughest opponent to date. As he heads into their heavyweight clash, Gallemore is familiar with Kyle in more ways than simply knowing his accomplishments. The aforementioned Copeland is not only one of Gallemore’s training partners, he happens to be Kyle’s previous opponent.
“He’s a veteran. There’s not much that I can throw at hi mthat he hasn’t seen,” Gallemore said of Kyle.
“He and Josh went to a close decision. I was on edge about that when they went to the judge’s decision. Obviously I’m a little bias to Josh because he’s my friend but that was a super close fight… Josh hit him with some good shots and he didn’t go down. He’s got some pretty good hands. I think it’s going to be a good show for the fans.”
Copeland’s fight with Kyle coupled with Gallemore’s film study will have the new PFL heavyweight prepped for success once the Decagon doors close.
“Josh had a successful gameplan and his gameplan worked with six inches less reach than I have,” Gallemore said. “We’re gonna go out there and trade leather and see who goes down first. So far that’s worked out pretty well for me.”
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? To see these two titans of the Decagon square off, be sure to tune in this Thursday, November 2. #PFLFightNight will hail from the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. and will round out the PFL’s 2017 schedule. The show will be streamed live at ProfessionalFightersLeague.com, Facebook Live, YouTube, Periscope, via the FITE TV app and on the Kiswe Mobile App.
Full Fight card: