The difference is the intentions of that sucker punch were not to knock Kos out or cause significant damage. That is obvious and clear as day. You say he failed to connect properly, yes, but on purpose. That sucker punch was more of a bitch slap, like a "**** you koscheck, ping". Clearly he didnt load up on the punch. Paul Daley with such highly touted striking could have quite easily loaded up and sparked koscheck out with a free shot, but that was not his intention.
And you can say what you want about professional fighters being trained fighters and having this code of respect (which is nonsense as far as I'm concerned) but Eric Cantona running and throwing a diving, flying kick into one of the fans with studded boots on is a worse offense than Daleys bitch slap, sorry sucker punch on Kos. Roy Keane intentionally ending another players career with a horrendous tackle is also worse and IMO, he should have been booted from the sport.
You can't say that Daleys actions should have resulted in him getting charged for assault and then defend the likes of cantonas and keanes actions simply because they are playing a different sport.
The difference sport is a key factor though, martial artist are expected to have a very different level of respect/restraint in these types of circumstances and such actions are frowned upon much more in the world of martial arts.
The fact that the UFC has spent years marketing itself in a fashion to escape the early connotations of it being a brutal and barbaric sport mean the powers that be within the organisation are going to (rightfully) take a very hard line on any such acts also.
I never said Daley should have been charged with assault, I said had he landed and caused damage he would have been.
Ok you can argue the level of intent to harm, and obviously he was not loading up looking to tear his head of, but his intentions were to land a significant enough strike on Kosheck via his frustration at the fashion of his loss and had he actually connected with that he from the angle of attack and amount of force thrown he still would have caused sufficent damage.
The sport in which such events occur does make a difference of course, a scuffle or two on the Ice Rink during a hockey match is pretty much acceptable and it is not frowned upon entirely on the rugby field so long as they do not result in severe injury.
Martial arts is different, its a basic and fundamental unwritten rule for any martial artist that such conduct is not acceptable, I'm sure if you have done any martial arts yourself you would have had it drilled into you a thousand times....this is another reason why the reaction to sucker punches (bitch slaps even if this is what you prefer to label Daley's strike) are seen to be so unacceptable.
I have even said, that because of the minimal level of damage caused the door should be left open to Daley to return to the UFC some day if he were to warrant a place via his results (but I feel he is not playing the game and refusing to take the remorseful stance he should take in order to repair whatever damage his actions caused to the sport and the UFC's marketing campaign)
As for Cantona, again no real damage was caused (he probably hurt himself as much) his kick was more amusing than deadly as it was poorly executed and he fell backwards onto an advertising board (although I believe he left some stud marks on Simmons)
Had he caused significant damage he no doubt would also have been charged with assault though, like Duncan Ferguson was (I believe he served time in jail for punching an opponent on field)
My point was the level of acceptance is different by the viewing audience in football/hockey compared to mma and certainly by the UFC compared to the FA or FIFA (as these footballing bodies do not have negative images of brutality to contend with and are not pushing to have their sport licensed in certain states/countries)
Zidane's head but was stupid, but made to look worse than it worse by Materazzi diving to the floor knowing he would gain advantage to his team by getting Zidane sent off.
The Keane incident you mention, yes that was a disgrace and I would also throw Ben Thatchers elbow on Pedro Mendez into the equations for examples of outrageous football violence.