http://mmajunkie.com/2018/05/paul-daley-bellator-playing-me-for-an-idiot-and-i-aint-an-idiotWhen Paul Daley heard that Bellator wanted him to fight Jon Fitch at Bellator 199 this Saturday, one thing went through his mind.
“I thought, ‘Finally, a fight that makes sense,’” Daley told MMAjunkie.
In case you couldn’t tell, Daley (40-15-2 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) still isn’t too pleased with his present employer. After he butted heads with Bellator CEO Scott Coker back in March over a possible fight with Michael Page, Coker wrote it off as Daley being “emotional.”
According to Daley, the primary emotions he feels in regards to Bellator these days are anger and frustration. But it wasn’t always this way.
“I’ve had great times with Bellator,” Daley said. “I just don’t like the recent treatment of me. I’ve made it clear, and I will continue to make it clear through all the interviews – at the post-fight, at the pre-fight, during fight week – I ain’t happy with what you guys are doing. I can see through what you guys are doing.
“They’re playing me for an idiot, and I ain’t an idiot. Let’s just be done with all the bull(expletive). Let me fight, let me go, or you treat me like you want me to be here.”
For Daley, his treatment at the hands of Bellator seems to be the major sticking point. During a phone interview late last week, he complained of a lack of communication between himself and Bellator officials, as well as comments Coker has made in interviews that Daley seems to think were inaccurate or unfair.
“They don’t address me,” Daley said. “I’ve been in this sport for 15 years, and they don’t address me. The only time I speak to Scott Coker is on fight week. I don’t know the reason, but I’m sure other fighters, especially the AKA boys and the Americans, have more of an interaction with him. And there is no U.K. representative for Bellator, so no, there’s no one else for me to speak to.
“I just think that in itself is a bit disrespectful, that the boss of your promotion doesn’t speak to you but then goes and does an interview and says, ‘Paul says this and Paul says that. We offered Paul this and we offered him that.’ You ain’t offered me (expletive). You ain’t even spoke to me in person, Mr. Coker. So what the (expletive) is that? This is how I feel, and this is the attitude I’m going to take all the way up until fight night and after fight night.”
In the past, Coker has insisted that he has plenty of respect for Daley, but also didn’t seem surprised that the British slugger might feel disgruntled with management from time to time.
“It’s really interesting, because when I think of Paul Daley, I think of one of the most entertaining fighters I’ve ever been around,” Coker told MMAjunkie after Bellator 192 in January. “Some of the best fights in the history of (Strikeforce) were with Paul Daley. I love his fighting style – I’ve always loved him. When I came to Bellator, he was one of the first guys I reached out to. But Paul is very emotional, and Paul is Paul. I don’t take it personally.”
Daley, however, seems to take it all very personally, so much so that he said he plans to fight out the remaining two bouts on his Bellator contract. And when that’s finished?
“Then I’m done with all of MMA, especially Bellator,” Daley said.
As for what he might do with his life and his career then, Daley said he might return to kickboxing, where he would expect to “have nine fights in 12 months, and then I’ll be done with all fighting sports.”
If that sounds like a man who’s disillusioned and disappointed with the fighting life, maybe it is. At 35, Daley’s been competing in MMA and kickboxing for the last 15 years, and this isn’t the first time he’s found fault with how promoters have treated him.
“When your passion for training and preparing for a fight starts to dwindle, then it’s time to do something else,” Daley said. “I’m not saying I’m there yet, but I’m not really feeling MMA anymore. When I was on the free market and I was kickboxing, MMA kind of kept things interesting for me. … But sitting out for nine months doing nothing except bargaining for a fight or training just to train, that’s not my style.”