What to do if you are Paul Daley. Just a few months ago you were riding high after crushing Scott Smith in your first fight for Strikeforce. The good news kept coming when a delay in the Heavyweight Grand Prix moved up your fight with Welterweight Champ Nick Diaz. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the rug is pulled out with the news that Zuffa (parent company of UFC) has purchased Strikeforce. Daley you may remember was fired from the UFC after punching Josh Koscheck after their fight. Dana White said at the post-fight press conference “Paul Daley will NEVER fight in the UFC again.” Now we’ve heard White make bold statements in the past only to back away from them later, but last week in an interview White again said that Daley will never fight for the UFC. That was too bad, because “Semtex” had been great in his first two fights under the UFC banner, knocking out both Martin Kampmann and Dustin Hazelett. Neither fight lasted three minutes.
So what do you do if you are Daley? Do you still fight Diaz knowing your new boss hates you? OR, do you avoid the ten hour flight to the states, and instead stay home to fight for BAMMA? Daley recently said the paydays are about the same, so the decision will not be influenced by money. Knowing that Strikeforce will stay afloat through 2014 based on its contract with Showtime, I hope Daley still fights Diaz. The trash-talking outside the cage should be as good as the fight itself, and it’s a fight that more and more people are picking Daley to win. It would be nice if it was that simple. Dana White can say that Scott Coker will handle Strikeforce, but we all know that White will have the final say on anything and everything moving forward. What actions would White take against Daley? Who knows, maybe none, but if you were Daley is that a gamble you want to take?
A lot can change over the three years left on the Showtime deal, but White’s comments make it tough to believe they will. Having met Daley in St Louis, I like him. I know he screwed up throwing the punch, and I can’t figure out why the guy always shows up over weight, but as a guy and a fighter I like him. I hope he stays long enough to fight Diaz. After that he can do what he wants, but Daley vs. Diaz is a fight that has to happen. I’m not going to call it MMA’s version of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, but for me it’s close. I might be a Daley fan, but I think Diaz gets the slight edge based on experience. I’ve been to Diaz’s last two fights, and he was like a surgeon picking apart KJ Noons and “Cyborg” Santos. Will he be able to do the same against the hard-punching Daley? I don’t know; let’s just hope we get a chance to see it.