(This story first was published at USATODAY.com.)
When Conor McGregor went on a rampage in Brooklyn two weeks ago, UFC President Dana White fumed that it was the “most disgusting” incident in UFC history.
The last time White was so angered by one of his fighters was in 2010, when British mixed martial artist Paul Daley punched rival Josh Koscheck after the fight was over as retribution for taunting him during a defeat at UFC 113.
It took White less than 72 hours to change direction on McGregor and describe their relationship as one of “mutual respect,” but Daley remains banned from the organization.
“Was what McGregor did worse? Yes, of course it is,” Daley said. “He and his team forced themselves into the Barclays Center, they attacked a bus of people. Me and Koscheck? It is completely different.
“I knew it was going to play out the way it did. The difference between me and McGregor is the amount of money that McGregor brings to the UFC. That’s it. That’s always going to be the case.”
McGregor’s antics included hurling a metal dolly at the window of a bus carrying UFC fighters. Two fighters were injured and a third, Artem Lobov, was found culpable in the fracas, resulting in the cancellation of three bouts at UFC 223 earlier this month.
That puts all eyes on White to see what punishment, if any, he imposes on the UFC’s biggest draw.
The UFC needs its superstars, yet the only real precedent White has to work from is the Daley saga.
Daley put up a solid performance in losing a unanimous decision to Koscheck in the co-main event of UFC 113. The build-up to the fight had been littered with acrimony and Koscheck, with victory effectively wrapped up, added some choice words to Daley as they clinched late in the bout. After the final bell rang, Daley punched Koscheck before being dragged away by referee Dan Miragliotta.
White was apoplectic afterward and used his post-fight press conference to lambaste Daley, proclaiming the Brit, then 27, banned from the UFC.
“I don’t care if he fights in every show all over the world and becomes the best and everybody thinks he is the pound-for-pound best in the world,” White said. “He will never fight in the UFC again.”
Daley hasn’t become the best in the world but has put together a strong career fighting in several organizations, most notably Bellator. He has beaten Lorenz Larkin and Jorge Masvidal, both of whom have spent time in the UFC’s top-10 divisional rankings, and will fight former UFC title challenger, Jon Fitch, at Bellator 199 in San Jose, Calif., on May 12.
“It has definitely been a driving factor for me in my career,” Daley said of his UFC snub. “Here is this guy who was banished from the UFC still doing my thing and fans still love to see me fight. To have the longevity I’ve had, even though I was banished from the biggest promotion, is a testament to my fortitude. I put that down to wanting to prove you can still succeed in the sport if you have the talent, whether you are fired from the UFC or fired from another promotion.”
Daley, who said he apologized to White after his attack on Koscheck, is 35 now and still fiery but has a more philosophical view about it all. He believes White’s actions are hypocritical – “plain and simply, yes” – but knows enough about the fight game to appreciate that financial factors carry the greatest weight.
“It’s a business and it is all down to money and I can’t hate on that,” he said. “Obviously it is a double standard and (McGregor) should be treated exactly the same as I was treated. But it’s Conor McGregor and he makes the UFC money, so …
“If they let McGregor go, they have nothing. Dana knows that. Hence, why he can attack a busload of people, damn near ruin a whole weekend event, cut up Michael Chiesa, whatever, do all that (expletive) and still be allowed to fight.”
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Dana White once banned Paul Daley for doing less than what Conor McGregor is charged with