Leah McCourt and Janay Harding at Bellator 259 Media Day

Bellator 259 goes Friday, May 21st and is headlined by Cyborg vs Smith II. The latest Bellator MMA event broadcasts on Showtime and emanates from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Below are excerpts from my interactions with ranked featherweights Leah McCourt and Janay Harding who do battle with one another on this card.

Leah McCourt and Janay Harding

Leah McCourt

I had noticed on Instagram there, a bit of a hidden kind of situation in the suitcase there. A nice card from your daughter Isabella.

I’m wondering how much motivation that gives you heading into this one? Because that definitely made me smile seeing that.

“She breaks my heart and anybody that asks me about her, I just start crying. But she is my biggest motivation obviously. We’ve grown up together. I had her so young and we are just such a team. I’m just trying to make her proud and provide a better life for her. And that’s why I’m here.”

Janay Harding

The last time we spoke, you were still getting in at work at King’s Academy of Martial Arts. You were mentioning some of the people you were sparring with…Who are you getting in that work with ahead of this one?

“Yeah, that is my main gym. In a sense, that’s sort of my base. Especially due to the facilities and the team that’s there. The good thing is that it’s like our Kings team moves around together. So we do sort of jump around from that Kings down to a different area. But all with the same people. So it’s sort of like our base.”

“Definitely, I spend at least like four days a week there, and then the rest of the days just moving around like strength and conditioning and boxing at a different MMA gym which is great. But yeah, it’s been fantastic. Elvis Sinosic as you know, the owner of King’s Academy, the facilities and everything he provides us there is phenomenal. That’s my main sparring gym as well. So it’s been great.”

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Dylan Bowker
I've been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I've hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I've been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I've provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I've worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.