Paul Daley was one of the more vocal fighters in his disapproval of Zuffa buying out Strikeforce. He basically threatened to pull out of his upcoming Strikeforce welterweight title fight against Nick Diaz because he didn’t want to put any money in Dana White’s pockets. Ultimately, he decided to move forward with the fight, but that doesn’t mean he let go of his grudge with the UFC president after he permanently banned him from the organization for throwing a cheap shot at Josh Koscheck at UFC 113. As Daley told MMA Fighting’s Mike Chiappetta, he plans to even the score by beating Diaz and putting himself in a stronger position to negotiate as a champion under the Zuffa umbrella.
“What we were trying to do is assure we had security away from the Zuffa people prior to the fight,” Daley said of his deliberation. “But the truth be told, when I am the Strikeforce champion, I’ll have even more bargaining power, and it will be even more of a kick to the teeth of the guys that don’t like me in the organization. To negotiate before the fight would show a lack of confidence in myself, and I’m very confident I’m going to beat Nick Diaz. Once a champion, I have more power to negotiate.”
Even if Paul Daley does manage to defeat Nick Diaz on April 9 and become the Strikeforce welterweight champion, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee though that the UFC will suddenly want to do business with him again. That’s a fact that Daley seems to be somewhat aware of. He thinks Dana White’s animosity towards him stems from something more personal than the cheap shot he threw at Koscheck.
“I don’t particularly know why he has dislike for me, but it’s obvious he does have dislike for me,” he said. “If no explanation or reason is given for disliking me, I’m generally going to dislike someone in return. If Dana gives me an honest opinion — aside from hitting Koscheck after the bell — as to why he genuinely dislikes me, then at least I’d get some explanation. But there’s too many incidents in the history of the UFC that prove it’s more personal. Many of the UFC fighters have done a lot worse things to bring the company into disrepute, and they’re still there. So it must be personal.”
Regardless of what Dana White’s problem with Daley is, it would be in Daley’s best interest to navigate the waters back to the UFC a lot more carefully than he has thus far. The UFC already has a welterweight champ. They don’t need another one, and as history has shown, they’re not afraid to erase fighters from their existence that cause them problems.
At least for the time being though, it seems Daley will still have a job in Strikeforce as long as they’re still around. When Dana White said after the deal closed that the two organizations would be acting completely independent of each other in terms of signing talent, he apparently wasn’t kidding. Tucked deep down inside in Mike Chiappetta’s updated piece on the buyout today was a note that recent UFC washouts are being told they cannot simply be transferred to Strikeforce. They will have to negotiate with Strikeforce officials just as they would before the buyout.