Bellator 199: “Bader vs. King Mo” takes place this Saturday night (May 12, 2018) at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., featuring an exciting Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament match in the main event of the evening as 205-pound kingpin, Ryan Bader (24-5), takes on Muhammed Lawal (21-6, 1 NC) in the final first round bracket bout.
Meanwhile, you can also look forward to a big match in the Bellator MMA debut of Jon Fitch (30-7-1, 1 NC) against the very hard-hitting Paul Daley (40-15-2). Daley earned the nickname “Semtex” after a form of highly compact and powerful explosive, which suits the 5’9” fighter with 30 mixed martial arts (MMA) wins by knockout (and 14 in kickboxing) very well.
Fitch had a reputation in UFC, though, for “making good fighters look bad.” He’s a relentless grinding wrestler with some power in his hands (five knockouts) and a decent Brazilian jiu-jitsu game (six submissions) whose single biggest asset is that he will never ever quit in a fight (19 decisions).
MMAmania.com recently spoke with “Semtex” about facing Fitch in San Jose — a fight he campaigned for and which he’s happy to take — even if Fitch may be a local favorite thanks to American Kickboxing Academy (AKA).
“I’m happy to be fighting. It could have been anybody really, but I’m just happy to be fighting. I’ve always performed well in San Jose. I know it’s his hometown, but I like to think that people know when they come to see me fight that there’s gonna be some kind of entertainment and they’re gonna get their money’s worth. And that’s what I’m looking forward to — I’m just looking forward to going out there and fighting, finally.”
That “finally” is the tip of a Titanic-sized iceberg. Daley has been unhappy in Bellator for a while and wasn’t shy about addressing it with the media before the Fitch fight.
“I feel like I should have been put out (to fight) a lot sooner than that, they obviously thought different, whether it’s the fact that I’ve got two fights left or what. What I don’t get is … I speak to people at Bellator and I don’t feel like I’m valued. Well, if I’m not valued why are you holding me for these cards? Why don’t you just put me out? Put me in your Pechanga Casinos, put me in your smaller shows, just get rid of me. They say one thing and they’re doing another.”
If I can speak directly to the readers for a moment, it’s a little awkward to have a fighter dogging a promotion on a call it arranged to promote an upcoming event. It wasn’t going to get easier.
“So either value me and treat me like you value me or you just put me out and let me run my contract and go somewhere else. That’s just how I feel. This is why I’m happy to be fighting because promises have been made and promises haven’t been kept. Bellator is saying this shit is like because I didn’t accept the MVP fight. Well, I’ve made it clear, I’m not going to beat Lorenz Larkin, who’s beat a former UFC Welterweight champion, who was ranked in the Top 10 when he left UFC, and go and fight MVP who hasn’t fought anybody and in his last performance looked horrendous against Fernando Gonzalez, a guy that I beat with one hand! Like, no, I don’t want that fight, give me a big name.”
Just to connect all the dots together here, Daley is referencing Larkin’s fight with Robbie Lawler and his kickboxing match with Gonzalez, so by his “MMA math” he’s bypassed a Michael “Venom” Page fight.
“Jon Fitch, um, the match up isn’t great for me as far as wrestlers versus strikers in my history book. Thankfully, Scott Coker listened to me and gave me someone that I’m worthy of fighting coming on the back of a win like Lorenz Larkin, and that’s that. As you can hear I’m not happy with the promotion, I don’t even want to be doing these hour-long interviews that I have to, not because I don’t like doing media, but because these guys treat me like I’m not valued.”
At this point, the dark clouds looming overhead threatened to rain on Fitch vs. Daley entirely, but thankfully “Semtex” brought it back into perspective by praising his opponent ahead of the fight.
“This is a great fight. Like I said, this is the kind of fight that I feel makes sense coming off the Larkin fight. He was a champion of another promotion and in that run as champion he beat some other fantastic guys. This is a good fight, this is the type of fight that I’m happy to be having. Do I wish it would have came sooner? Yes. I think Fitch — despite him being a little older than he was in his prime — he’s still a world class operator. So I’m happy that a fight like this has been put together.”
Bad weather nearly ruined Fitch’s last fight, and coincidentally, Fitch wasn’t happy in his promotion, either. He’s coming to Bellator looking for sunnier days, while Daley may be trying to make a statement on his way out of the sport altogether.
“My mind’s right for this fight so, I think that’s the key to this fight, my mind’s right. I know what I have to do, I’m relaxed, and yeah I’m ready to perform. I’m not too concerned about the titles no more. I just want to fight. I’m 12 months left in this sport, and I just want to fight big fights, fights that my fans will love. That’s why I’m still here and that’s why I keep heading up these cards in America, because people like to see me fight, so who cares who it is? Just bring me bodies.”
Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Bader vs. King Mo” resides here at MMAmania.com all week long.
To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.
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