by Lee Whitehead and Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
One split-second lapse in judgment, that’s all it took to divert Paul Daley from the yellow brick road to a dusty road to nowhere.
In losing to Josh Koscheck at UFC 113, Daley also lost his opportunity to capture a spot as a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” and get the next shot at Georges St-Pierre’s UFC welterweight championship. In lashing out at Koscheck after the fight, Daley also threw his entire fighting career into limbo.
He’s keenly aware of the situation he put himself in, already apologizing to the UFC, Koscheck, and his fans for his lapse, accepting full responsibility for his actions.
“I know people will make a big deal about what Koscheck said to me after the fight, but that didn’t play a factor. He said I was a (expletive) and that I couldn’t get up and whatever. I think he is just trying to make a bad situation worse,” Daley told MMAWeekly.com Monday morning.
Now he’s left to wonder what his career options will be when the smoke clears.
With tempers running high after the bout, and Daley already on his way to the airport, still frustrated with the turn of events, he received a text message from matchmaker Joe Silva informing him of UFC president Dana White’s comments after the fight, announcing his release from the organization.
“He’s done. I don’t give a (expletive) if he’s the best 170-pounder in the world. He’ll never come back here again. He’ll never come back,” said White.
“Aside from (Silva’s text), I have had no other contact with the UFC,” he exclaimed, adding that he just has to learn how to relax and deal with his own frustrations moving forward.
“At the moment my main concern is the athletic commission. I don’t know what will happen there, but I guess I will find out this week. I just wish none of this ever happened. I am truly sorry to the fans, the UFC, and my opponent.”
There is a consensus from many fans that his immediate release is in direct reflection to the lack of a penalty applied to the Strikeforce post-fight brawl involving Jason Miller, Nick and Nate Diaz, Jake Shields, and others, tantamount to saying that kind of behavior won’t fly here.
Nate Diaz is a UFC contracted fighter, but received no punishment from his employers. White seemingly afforded more blame to Strikeforce than the individuals involved.
“Have you ever seen him do that at one of my shows?” White asked about Nate Diaz when commenting on the Strikeforce situation.
It now appears that the Tennessee Athletic Commission is poised to take action against several of the individuals involved in the Strikeforce situation. The promotion itself has said thus far only that it will honor whatever sanctions the athletic commission doles out, apparently not taking any further action itself.
It is currently unclear what sanctions are coming for those involved in the Strikeforce brawl, but the promotion seems to think lengthy suspensions are going to be at least part of the repercussions as they have declined to schedule any of the fighters involved in the brawl for its upcoming events.
Of course, a fighter reacting before thinking is nothing new. Case in point being Phil Baroni hitting referee Larry Landless after his encounter with the late Evan Tanner. The repercussions in that instance were toward the official rather than the fighter.
It took Gilbert Yvel years to overcome the stigma attached to him for lashing out at a referee in Finland. He only recently regained licensure in the United States and signed a contract with the UFC.
Daley knows his current fate with the UFC. White made that abundantly clear at the UFC 113 post-fight press conference, declaring that he didn’t care if Daley ever became regarded as the best welterweight in the world, he wouldn’t be back in the Octagon.
Could that be a heat of the moment decision that could be rescinded? Of course. You can never say never.
But as of right now, Daley doesn’t even know what his future holds outside of the UFC. He must first await word from the Quebec Athletic Commission.
All he knows right now is that he made the biggest, most regrettable mistake of his career, and is left to suffer the repercussions.
(UPDATED 9:15 a.m. PT on May 11 to correct Yvel’s incident taking place in Finland.)