Bellator promotion officials announced Thursday that they had released two of the most famous fighters on their roster: welterweight Paul Daley and middleweight Maiquel Falcao.
The move comes as both fighters face legal problems as a result of their actions away from the cage.
The announcement Thursday that Bellator had dropped the hammer (h/t MMA Fighting) came as a bit of a surprise. At the same time, though, the logic in the moves is fairly clear. According to MMA Fighting:
Bellator has unconditionally released the fighters, both of which have dealt with recent legal trouble in separate incidents. The decision was confirmed by a Bellator spokesman on Thursday.
Maiquel Falcao (31-6-1) has had his share of run-ins with the law. Most recently, earlier in July Falcao was involved in a violent altercation at a gas station. The whole thing was clearly captured on video.
Falcao, 32, is a popular fighter who gained notoriety for his hyper-aggressive style in the cage. Twenty-three of his 31 pro wins have come by way of knockout. He had won four straight and 13 of his past 14 when he stepped in the cage with Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko in February. Shlemenko won via second-round knockout.
In the wake of the gas station incident, UFC president Dana White confirmed in an interview that the UFC had cut Falcao because of a 2002 incident that alleged Falcao assaulted a woman.
Paul "Semtex" Daley (33-12-2) has been dealing with various legal, behavioral and resultant visa issues for several years. Those visa issues stemmed largely from a previous case involving an assault in a bar. Daley apparently received some closure on the issue in June. However, Bellator officials came to a different conclusion. According to the MMA Fighting report, Bellator spokesman Anthony Mazzuca had this to say:
We recently received and reviewed the real documents in Daley’s situation, which made clear that he was not in fact cleared, but was actually convicted of both assault by beating and obstructing an officer.