On Saturday February 16th, one of the biggest MMA fights in UK history goes down ... in Connecticut. Michael “Venom” Page and Paul “Semtex” Daley will face off in the opening round of the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix, and the hype goes beyond their positions as some of the best strikers Britain has ever produced.
It’s a good old fashioned grudge match, with pioneer Daley seeming to get more and more heated as upstart Page’s star rose. In turn, Page took to poking the bear every chance he could get. Just one example of things getting out of hand: Daley trying to start a brawl with Page at a Bellator event in London back in May of 2017. Page discussed the moment with Ariel Helwani and why it didn’t impress him.
”In my opinion, Paul’s a very childish person, a very impulsive person,” Page said. “Look at his history, he’s been kicked off the UFC before through that very same impulsive action. Especially when he loses, he’s a very sore loser. Even now my coach is like ‘After the fight, all goes to plan, you have to stay on guard.’ The fight’s not over because the bell’s done, he’s that kind of person that it may continue, it may spill over.”
Page said it was that reputation for unprofessional behavior that kept Bellator president Scott Coker from having the two fighters face off during a press conference to announce the long awaited fight. At least the bout was finally booked. Page put the blame on things taking so long to happen squarely on Daley, who refused the fight even as he attempted to attack Page at events.
”After every interaction that we had like that, Bellator was like ‘Let’s make it happen,’” Page said. “And he’s ‘No no no, not yet.’ Okay. So then he has another fight that he wins and afterward he’s calling me out again. So we’re like okay, send the contract, let’s go. He says to Bellator ‘Nah nah nah, don’t want to do it yet.’ And there was just multiple multiple excuses as to why we shouldn’t.”
”Some people say it worked out for the best because it makes it build a bit longer and so on. I think it’s just as big. It would have been as big anyway. And honest opinion, because the tournament is involved, I think that had a massive part to play as to why it’s in America as opposed to the UK. If he had taken the fight when he was supposed to, especially after that nonsense, if he’d took the fight then, we’d be in the UK having this fight and it’d have been a massive fight.”
And while Page maintains he didn’t start the feud with Daley, he’s happy to build on it now that the fight is here.
”I can be frustrating as a fighter, let alone as a person,” Page said. “I can frustrate people, I can get into people’s heads. And I feel like that’s what I was able to do then. He’s trying to backtrack now which I don’t understand. He’s trying to play it all calm, ‘There’s no real issues between us’, trying to play it all Mr. Nice Guy. I don’t get it but it comes across as fake because the second I say anything he bites, there’s an immediate explosion in him. And it is what it is, I think I’m living in his head right now and it’s gonna take its toll through this whole promotional period and then we get to the fight.”