Following UFC 113, Dana White announced that Paul Daley would never fight again in the UFC.
Daley had earlier delivered a big left hand to Koscheck following their bout in Montreal, where Koscheck had just fought to earn a unanimous point victory, a job as a coach on the next season of the Ultimate Fighter, and most importantly, a UFC welterweight title shot.
However, Daley’s evening ended in disgrace.
Frustrated with his performance, Koscheck’s antics, and some disparaging comments from Koscheck in the final seconds of the bout (reportedly about his opponent’s mother,) Daley took matters into his own hands and it resulted in the end of his UFC career.
However, while Dana White’s decisive action might have been justified to maintain the reputation of the sport, it certainly does give rise to another question.
Is Dana White guilty of double standards?
He has consistently fought to clean up MMA’s image, as he attempts to make it more universally popular.
He even threatened to cut the UFC Middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, if he continues to showboat and disrespect his opponents.
Back at UFC 74, he cut Renato “Babalu” Sobral from the promotion for actions similar to Daley’s.
Following his submission victory over David Heath, Sobral decided to ignore the referee’s instructions, and did not release an anaconda choke on Heath until he had put him to sleep.
Similarly to Daley, it was an act of violence after the end of a fight, it followed a period of ill-will between the two contestants, it earned the UFC negative press and damaged MMA’s reputation, and Sobral was cut from the UFC immediately after the event.
However, in a not too dissimilar situation last month, Nate Diaz was involved in an incident that tainted MMA’s reputation, which included an assault much worse than either Daley or Sobral was responsible for, and Diaz walked away without punishment.
Following the conclusion of the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship bout in Nashville, Jason Miller interrupted Jake Shields’s interview to ask the champion for a title fight.
This degenerated into a shoving match, before Nate, and his brother Nick, and others from their gym restrained Miller of the floor while others attacked him.
The Diaz brothers, well known for controversial behaviour, were a large part of the four on one beat down, as they punched and kicked the grounded Miller, before security could step in and stop them.
This unwarranted act of violence did a huge amount of damage to the sport of MMA, particularly when so much work has been done to dispel the notion that fighters are simply mindless thugs.
With the Diaz brothers acting like mindless thugs, obviously the sport’s reputation was going to suffer.
Yet, despite this, Nate Diaz is still in the UFC.
He has not been punished by Dana White.
Daley on the other hand, is finished in the UFC. His contract has been terminated and White insists he will never fight for the promotion again.
While Daley’s actions cannot be condoned, Diaz’s actions were surely worse, and more damaging to the sport than Daley’s.
Diaz sucker punched a fighter who had never feigned injury during a fight, never goaded him, never insulted his mother, and never acted in any way towards Diaz that was untoward. In fact, Miller had never even fought him.
Furthermore, Nate Diaz started an attack, which amounted to little more than a gangland assault, as four men attacked an isolated Miller.
Following this weekend’s saga, Daley has apologised for his actions.
Whether he truly is sorry will never be determined, but his apology should be taken at face value, and it certainly proves that Daley regrets his actions on Saturday night.
Diaz never apologised, nor appeared to regret his actions.
As if to add pour more salt in the wound, Jake Shields, who played part in the assault of Miller, is expected to become a UFC fighter in the very near future having been signed from Strikeforce by Dana White.
So, following such behaviour, why should Daley lose his job fighting for the top MMA promotion in the world while Diaz is allowed to stay, and Shields is signed to join the UFC?
Only Dana White knows. But on the face of it, Daley has been dealt a very cruel hand.
White’s double standards are evident following Daley’s dismissal.
Nate Diaz went unpunished for an act which was even more cowardly and unprovoked than that of Daley, and Dana should make sure these double standards do not continue.
Perhaps White should let the dust settle, and think long and hard before he makes a decision the next time a fighter decides to act like Sobral, Daley or Diaz.
And there will be a next time.