On Saturday morning, Paul "Semtex" Daley was one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's hottest welterweight commodities. The brash Brit was preparing to fight Josh "Kos" Koscheck for a trio of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
The winner of the tilt would lay undeniable claim to the No. 1 contender title, become one of the coaches for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter , AND receive a guaranteed shot at pound-for-pound king Georges "Rush" St-Pierre.
In other words, when the sun rose in Montreal, it found Daley sitting on top of the mixed martial arts world. Well, maybe very close to the top.
When our central star emerges Sunday morning, it will find an MMA landscape from which Semtex has been banished. At least from its choicest real estate.
That's pretty hard to imagine, but easy to believe after he sucker-punched Kos.
The 27-year-old got himself cut from the organization and—if we are to believe Dana White's emotional post-fight proclamation, which is an admittedly dicey proposition—permanently kicked to the curb by delivering a cowardly left hook to Koscheck after the horn had ended the final stanza of the three-round contest.
The punishment is neither surprising nor inappropriate.
As many have and will say, there's absolutely zero room for antics such as that in the world of professional combat sports.
If you can't trust a guy to keep his wits about him and anger in check once the official unpleasantries have ended, he's simply too much of a liability.
Period—these physical specimens are that dangerous.
Luckily for the new No. 1 welterweight contender, the dastardly deed left him no worse for the wear. Nevertheless, Semtex's best impression of LeGarrette Blount definitely connected with Koscheck's face, even if it didn't look like it did too much damage.
Make no mistake, however, a blow like that from a heavy-handed PAID striker to an unsuspecting target could've done irreparable harm. Actually, there's no reason the striker has to be paid for the art.
Ask Kermit Washington or Rudy Tomjanovich—I'd wager both men would take a do-over on that infamous haymaker.
If any number of variables shakes down even slightly different, neither Koscheck nor Daley would've escaped so easily.
Consequently, White stuck the landing when he came down with both feet on the promising young fighter. Still, it's a pretty astounding turn of events given Semtex's last year, his first in the UFC.
Describing his rise as "meteoric" would be perfectly accurate.
In Daley's debut, he was supposed to ease into the deeper organizational waters via the preliminary portion of the UFC 103 card. Instead, an injury to Mike "Quick" Swick created an opening in the main card and Semtex walked right through it. What's more, he won that bout, stopping Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann via technical knockout due to strikes in less than three minutes.
Four months later, the British export graduated all the way to the co-main event at UFC 108 where he was schedule to square off against Carlos "Natural Born Killer" Condit. However, the injury bug bit once again and forced Condit from the event. Dustin "McLovin" Hazelett would be opposite Daley in the Octagon.
Semtex earned Knockout of the Night honors with his first-round detonation of McLovin's chin in, again, less than three minutes.
However, the occasion was not a pure triumph as Daley had missed the 170-pound limit. The match was contested at the catchweight of 172 pounds because of the heavier fighter's failure of discipline, a subtle and dismissed harbinger of things to come.
The Hitman and McLovin aren't world-beaters, but they're far from tomato cans. To hang both their pelts on his wall in impressive fashion was quite an accomplishment for Semtex.
Which makes his absurdly self-destructive meltdown at UFC 113 an incredible waste.
Daley spent 15 minutes trying and failing to connect with his devastating left hook and take the next step on his way to MMA immortality. Josh Koscheck's superior wrestling and defense just wouldn't cooperate, frustrating him at every junction.
Sadly, it turns out the vanquished wasn't going to leave the cage without landing at least one of those hooks.
Well, Paul Daley succeeded.
Except this time, it was Semtex who was devastated.