To say Daniel Straus has had a rough 2013 would be an incredible understatement.
The Bellator season six featherweight tournament winner was slated to face top-ranked champion Pat Curran at the end of the promotion's season eight debut on Spike TV, but a broken hand forced him out of the bout.
But that was the least of Straus' concerns, as last March he was picked up in Florida and charged with possession of cannabis, MDMA as well as drug paraphernalia.
Every media site reported on the arrest, as a number one contender for a top promotion getting those charges was a pretty big deal. Problem was, no one ever reached out to Straus to get his side of the story.
That was five months ago.
Straus finally had an opportunity to explain his side of the situation to MMAmania.com on a recent episode of The Verbal Submission and it sheds a much different light on the story.
See for yourself:
"Basically what happened was I was at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. I was driving, there was two other people in my car. We got pulled over. There was stuff in my car and whatnot but it wasn't like it was mine or I had it on me and once we got pulled over, we got popped in my car that I was driving so I went to jail for it. It wasn't like I was walking around or driving around with drugs on me or like I was doing drugs or selling drugs or anything like that.
To have the media put it out there like that's what it was, it really frustrated me because no one ever came to me and asked me what my side was. No one ever mentioned the fact that there were other people in my car. I'm the only one that had the name so I'm the only one that went to jail. It really bugged me. That's what bugged me, it made people put me in a certain light and that's just not what it is.
How people look at me really doesn't bother me period. If you're gonna be a fan of mine, you're gonna be a fan of mine regardless. If you're not, you're not. I'm still gonna wake up in the morning and I'm still gonna go to bed at night. it did make me concerned about how people see me but I definitely always wanted to get my side and my view out there because I had family and friends calling me going, "Oh my God, you're down there doing this and you're partying!"
Man, I've lived down here so long and I couldn't even tell you where the closest bar is. Definitely not how the media put it out there. It was a bad situation, being in the wrong place at the wrong time like I said. I learned form that. I'm not gonna sit up here and say, "Oh, I'm completely innocent," because I shouldn't have been with certain people, but that's what it is. With that, I picked up the ball and kept on moving with my life. I'm not still pissed about it or stuff like that. Somebody else saying things isn't gonna hold me back from what I'm getting to.
For the younger generation that do look up to me, I apologize. Being put in that type of spotlight does hurt a little bit. I'm just gonna keep moving forward. My next step is to win the world title. That was my dream before this and it'll be my dream after it."
If Straus has his way, he'd like to be the next man to challenge Curran for his Bellator featherweight title this fall. Are you willing to give him the benefit of the doubt?