Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
It was an infamous moment that will forever go down in mixed martial arts (MMA) history. It's practically the MMA equivalent of when former professional boxer Mike Tyson grotesquely bit a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear off.
If you're a fan of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), you probably even remember where you were on the night that Paul Daley sucker punched Josh Koscheck after the final horn, when the two fought at UFC 113 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on May 8, 2010.
Daley had just finished being smothered by "Kos" for three full rounds, as he was frustrated and exasperated by not being able to stop his opponent's takedowns, as well as his ability to get off of his back for most of the fight.
In a split-second of impaired judgement, "Semtex" took matters into his own hands, cold-cocking the unaware Koscheck after the fight was over. Daley was cut from the UFC afterwards, prompting UFC President Dana White to publicly proclaim that he would never fight inside the Octagon again.
Since that unfortunate night, Daley has been working his way back from the bottom, fighting for such organizations as Impact FC, BAMMA, Shark Fights and, most recently Strikeforce, before he was signed by Bellator Fighting Championships earlier this week.
Daley is moving on and looking forward to what the future hold for him in Bellator, but he'll never forget the way things ended for him in the UFC, and the regret he feels is very real:
Daley appeared on Spike TV's "MMA Uncensored Live," where he discussed his move to Bellator, in addition to his past indiscretions.
During the interview, he was asked, point blank, if he regrets hitting Koscheck after the fight:
"I do, I do. But, you know, everything happens for a reason. I'm here now, in New York and, yeah, I feel great."
Continuing to discuss the incident, Daley tried to explain just what he was thinking when he initiated the act that almost cost him his career:
"You know, it was a very frustrating fight to be in. I wasn't thinking much. I sort of had flashbacks to my old days, and I just thought, 'This guy's punked me out on national TV. I just have to get my own back.' So I did, and it didn't work out very well.
Partly true. It was back and forth. He'd say something, I'd say something. I think the final thing that was said, I said, 'When this is done, when I get up, I'm gonna hit you.' And I don't think he believed me. I told him that. He'll tell you that. I stick to my word."
Daley was also asked if he was surprised about being cut for what he did, and not just disciplined in some other manner. Here's what he had to say:
"I was. I think the way it was handled could have been handled better. But, when you're dealing with volatile characters, you're gonna get a volatile outcome."
Though Daley didn't come right out and identify the name of the "volatile character" to whom he was referring, it was a thinly veiled reference to Dana White. According to Daley, the two have still yet to mend their respective bridges. If he saw him in public, it'd probably be a little awkward:
"I wouldn't say much. I think we'd just walk past each other. I don't think we're on speaking terms."
Moving forward, Daley is excited about his signing with Bellator. He's not sure who his first opponent will be, but he's confident the results will be in his favor:
"Yeah, I'm gonna be fighting in July, over in Florida. I don't know exactly who I'm going to be fighting. I have a short list of about ten names. But, whoever it is, they're gonna be getting knocked out. It's gonna be a short night for them."
Wrestling and takedown defense have long been Daley's 'Achilles' heel.' He was asked if he's doing much in his current training camp to try and shore up those weak spots in his game:
"Apart from certain changes in my training camp, like being out in 'The States' for the majority of it, not too much. I think there's a lot of great fights in there for me. I think, on the run-up to the finals, there's not many wrestlers, so I think it's gonna be a lot of stand-up wars. You know, you got Zaromskis in there, Ben Saunders -- I think there's a lot of entertaining fights there for me."
If Daley is able to successfully navigate his way through the competitors in the Bellator Welterweight tournament, he will be given the opportunity to take on the division's long-reigning champion, Ben Askren.
Should the fight end up coming to fruition, his strategy is simple:
"Not get taken down, which is going to be very difficult. He's a great wrestler, and it's going to be a tough fight."
In the meantime, Daley continues to work on his takedown defense, notably, by working with wrestling coach Kenny Johnson:
"I have, and I have been for a long time. I have a great wrestling coach in Kenny Johnson. You know, he's worked with a lot of top guys. I think he's working with Anderson Silva at the moment. I just have to learn to get up off the bottom and stop the takedown."
Do you Maniacs think "Semtex" has what it takes to win the upcoming Bellator Welterweight tournament? Could he possibly withstand the takedowns of Askren if the two ever do end up doing battle in the cage?