British welterweight slugger Paul Daley was unceremoniously given the boot by UFC president Dana White following an ugly post-fight incident at UFC 113 in May of last year in which Semtex attempted to slug Josh Koscheck after the last bell of a three-round fight.
White has stated unequivocally on several occasions that there is simply no room for the rowdy Brit on the UFC roster anymore and that he will never be allowed back within the UFC’s eight walls. Daley spoke with MMA Nation ahead of his weekend Strikeforce fight with Tyron Woodley and admitted vexation at White’s unrelenting stance on Daley’s place in the UFC.
“I was at the fighters summit. Dana mentioned people he has problems with and named Josh Barnett. Basically he named everybody but me,” said Daley. “I don’t understand his big problem with me. It’s definitely something personal because there’s been opportunities for things to happen and they’re not happening. I’m an exciting fighter. English people want to see me. I have a big fan base in the UK and a few fans in America.”
Daley explained that a number of fans have broached the subject with him and wonder why he isn’t allowed back in the promotion now, over a year after the incident went down that got him fired. The 28-year-old said that he sees White’s vendetta against him as a personal one and isn’t sure why he’s been treated so harshly.
“A lot of people do want to see me back in the UFC,” he said. “I’m happy with Strikeforce and I’m happy with the fights that I’ve got for now. I think that in the future after getting past Cyborg, I don’t see much in the way of big marquee fights I can have outside of the UFC. I’ve said in numerous interviews that I want to be back in the UFC, so I’m not holding a grudge no more. I’m saying I want the UFC. This is from peer pressure from my fans saying, ‘You deserve to be back in there. There’s people who don’t deserve to be back in there that get a lot of the lime light that have messed up.’
“I have reached out. He’s looked past a lot, every other fighter he’s had a personal beef with he’s overlooked but for some reason he just don’t like me. I don’t know what it is. I’d like for him to explain it to me. I can’t remember apart from the whole Koscheck incident, which I think with any other fighter would be overlooked and they’d be on a banner or something. I dunno, I think it’s personal.”
Speaking with SportsIllustrated.com recently, White spoke about Daley and, after giving him credit for his performance against Nick Diaz and admitting that he’s a legitimate welterweight contender, he had this to say on Semtex’s odds of returning to the UFC.
“Yeah, it’s just a bad taste in my mouth, man. It doesn’t happen in the UFC,” White said of Daley’s post-fight punch. “You don’t go up and… Listen, you just had 15 minutes to punch this kid in the face. You’re going to punch him in the face when the fight’s over? Two different worlds, man. You had 15 minutes inside this sport to do it. After that bell, it’s assault.”
His final word on whether he ever considers giving Daley a second chance?
“Yeah, it doesn’t even cross my mind,” he said. “That’s one thing I just can’t take.”
You can watch the interview below: