File Photo: Sherdog.com
Two separate instances of post-fight misconduct have occurred in the U.S.’s No. 1 and 2 promotions in the last month, though they have chosen to handle the fighters involved in them in contrasting ways.
UFC President Dana White immediately dismissed welterweight contender Paul Daley from the promotion Saturday night after the Brit threw and landed a punch on Josh Koscheck well after the bell had sounded on their three-round UFC 113 contest at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
“He’s done,” White stated in no uncertain terms on Saturday at the post-fight news conference. “I don’t give a s--t if he’s the best 170-pounder in the world. He’ll never come back here again.”
A month earlier, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker watched three of his promotion’s titleholders become entangled in a chaotic in-cage brawl sparked by Jason "Mayhem" Miller’s interruption of a live CBS post interview with middleweight champion Jake Shields. Coker hasn’t released Shields, Gilbert Melendez, or Nick Diaz – who all physically reacted to Miller in the heat of the moment – choosing instead to not re-assign any of them to their next bouts until the Tennessee Athletic Commission completes its disciplinary process with them.
Coker commented on the UFC’s decision to banish Daley on Monday’s “Savage Dog Show” on the Sherdog Radio Network.
“I’m not the UFC and they run their business the way they run it and I have no idea what thought process went into it,” Coker told the show, “but I’m sure it was influenced by what happened (at Strikeforce “Nashville”) a couple of weeks before.”
Coker said he hadn’t had the opportunity to watch Daley’s career-detrimental punch yet, but knows the 27-year-old British striker will pay for the cheap shot handily.
“I’m not sure really when cooler heads prevail, maybe (the UFC will) be able to work something out with Paul, but I’m sure Paul will be on some heavy type of suspension from the commission up in Canada and I don’t imagine Paul being able to fight anytime soon,” said Coker.
Coker, who didn’t acquire Daley’s contract from Pro Elite in early 2009, wasn’t particularly motivated on Monday in pursuing a new relationship with Daley now that he’s a free agent, at least not presently.
“I’m sure we’ll get a call, but let’s what happens,” said Coker. “Who knows? He could be on suspension for four to six months. He’s not going to be able to fight. I don’t think that type of reaction or behavior from a fighter will be accepted. It’s just unacceptable.”
Another fighter who might be left at the wayside following Saturday’s event is Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson. Though a ratings juggernaut for every network that has carried his fights, White said the promotion plans to drop the 36-year-old former Internet streetfighting sensation following his sobering second-round defeat at the hands of “Ultimate Fighter” castmate Matt Mitrione. Sherdog.com has not been able to immediately reach Slice’s management to confirm or refute his release form the UFC.
Still, with the prospect of Slice possibly back on the market, a proposed matchup between the Bahamian-born fighter and Strikeforce’s golden goose, NFL legend Herschel Walker, is quickly gaining steam.
“You’re like the sixth person who’s contacted me saying, ‘Hey, you have to put together Herschel Walker vs. Kimbo Slice,’” Coker shared. “The thing is with Kimbo is he was successful with the ratings, but when we purchased (the contracts) from Pro Elite, the deal at that time (for Kimbo), we felt was too rich for long-term viability…We haven’t revisited it internally yet, so as of right now I think we’re going to stick with our course, which is putting on the best fighters in the world in the best matchups.”
However, Coker added that Strikeforce would continue to both seek out and keep talent that enriches the company’s long-term strategy.
“The fighters that are important to develop our reach and growth, and are important to Showtime and CBS, we’re going to keep those fighters,” said Coker. “We’ve proven that we can stay in the game at the highest level with these athletes because believe me, Fedor (Emelianenko) is not a cheap fighter.”