Paul Daley Executes Best MVP Game Plan But Judges Penalize Him

Daley’s patience and cage generalship not good enough at Mohegan Sun.

The grudge match between Paul Daley and Michael “Venom” Page took place on Saturday.

To the surprise of many, Daley executed a plan that is not his quintessential one. He waited, as the first round saw him circling the perimeter, staying away from the center.

MVP followed, but unsure of the vicious striking attack that Daley is known for, circled in return while moving to Daley’s beat. However, Daley was unmoved.

 

There as no frustration in Daley’s eyes at the lack of action and he employed a term rarely used in MMA, ring generalship.

Most other fighters that allowed the reputation of MVP to get in their head fell into his trap. It puts his snake charming right-hand pose into perspective, as MVP thrives off intimidation.

Like Conor McGregor, Page understands the art of instigation and dispenses it to rile up his competitors. However, the veteran in Daley controlled the action first by frustrating Page with patience and then wrestling.

Takedowns & Tampering

Many believed an MVP vs. Paul Daley fight would be a striker’s cornucopia. Instead, they received a tactical battle. That fact kept each man at bay, but what was clear was that a normal ground-shy Daley executed a wrestler’s game plan.

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Daley believed he won the fight three rounds to two. And after losing a unanimous decision, he felt politics entered the fight.

“I’m disappointed, MMA politics and Bellator protecting [their] investment,” Daley wrote. “I feel I won three rounds to two. IMO I beat that fool. Really. Close fight. It’s just sad MMA is going the way of boxing. I’m a ‘striker’ who wrestled so I lose, and the fool they pumped money into wins.”

Whenever an unfavorable decision happens in combat sports, many are quick to place blame on the promoter. A rising star like MVP versus a cagey veteran like Daley will always incite conspiracy theories.

However, judges are rarely influenced by promoter graft and more by perception.

Daley is known as an aggressive striker and his strategy might have been just as jarring to the judges as it was to the fans.

As a result, Paul Daley lost a decision that was a moral blunder and MVP progresses to the second round of the welterweight tournament. Like boxing, MMA needs to look at its officiating and why certain fighters reap the benefits of a take-down-heavy strategy versus others.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.