As time ticked down on a lopsided loss to Jon Fitch at Bellator 199, Paul Daley’s frustration took a bizarre turn.
As he continued to absorb ground-and-pound from Fitch in the final minute of their welterweight bout at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calf., on Saturday night, the British knockout artist turned his attention to the cageside commentary team of John McCarthy and Mauro Ranallo.
It was then that Daley apparently began to offer his own commentary, though much of it was inaudible — and likely profane — during the broadcast. The gist was simple: Daley was not pleased with being smothered by a superior wrestler for the majority of their 15-minute bout.
"You're going to get lots of fans with this, Bellator," Daley could be heard saying. "Millions! Millions of fans!”
In the waning moments of the fight, Daley began to yell out, “Boo!” repeatedly as Fitch sealed his victory. Despite those antics, Bellator President Scott Coker’s view on the fighter known as “Semtex” is still positive.
“My feelings have not changed. That is one of the most dynamic fighters that I’ve been associated with,” Coker told media at the Bellator 199 post-fight press conference. “He had a tough matchup with Fitch, and Fitch is a world class athlete…his experience really showed and Paul had a tough time getting up. Paul was at the point where he almost knocked him out at the (end of the first) round.”
Daley has expressed his displeasure with the California-based promotion a few times recently, even going so far as to say that he was “done” with Bellator following the conclusion of his contract. Around that same time, Daly (incorrectly) stated that Bellator had agreed to release him from his deal. Among other things, Daley was unhappy with what he perceived to be a lack of attention given to his second-round knockout win of Lorenz Larkin this past September as well as the organization’s emphasis on flamboyant British striker and rival Michael Page.
Still, Coker hopes that Daley will have a long future with Bellator, and he plans to meet with the fighter ahead of Bellator 200, which takes place on May 25 in London.
“I love that guy. I think he will always have a seat here,” Coker said. “He’s always welcome to be here at Bellator. I think he has some more fights here than he thinks he might have. I will sit down and talk to him when I get to London and we’ll sort it out. But I hope he’s here for a long time. Win or lose, Paul Daley always brings it. I’ve never been disappointed.”
Coker expects that cooler heads will prevail by then. After all, Daley has had worse reactions than what happened at Bellator 199 after losing to a wrestling-minded opponent. Following a loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 113, a post-fight cheap shot by Daley toward “Kos” resulted in a lifetime ban from the Las Vegas-based promotion. Daley’s booing and commentary were tame by comparison.
“It’s an emotional time for the fighter,” Coker said. “He just lost, he’s thinking about his future. So sometimes things come out. Let him calm down for a couple days. By the time we get to London we’ll have an intelligent conversation. I’m not worried.”