Paul “Semtex” Daley has never been one to mince words, and the British MMA fighter didn’t disappoint fans when he spoke to ESPN UK. Daley had plenty to say about his future in Strikeforce’s champion-less welterweight division, expressing his desire to fight 18-14 MMA fighter Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos for the title.
Daley is already scheduled to face Cyborg on July 30 in a non-title fight, but feels the belt should be on the line, given the fact the two MMA fighters were the last to face former welterweight champion Nick Diaz.
Daley also had some criticism for the most popular referee in MMA, John McCarthy, claiming his fight against Nick Diaz was stopped prematurely.
“A different ref, a different day… we’ve recently seen the Jose Aldo v Mark Hominick fight, we’ve seen the Shane Carwin v Junior Dos Santos fight. Those guys were in far greater trouble than I was and the fight was allowed to go on. John McCarthy refereed the Hominick fight and let it continue, but he was different with me. He stopped it with three seconds to go, yet when I landed six shots after Diaz face-planted he didn’t even bat an eyelid. There’s frustration about that because I think McCarthy is a good ref, but there is no consistency.”
Daley does have a point that MMA fights are often officiated differently, but in his fight against Diaz, it looked like he was out when McCarthy stepped in and stopped the fight. You can even argue Daley was unconscious on his feet, since he fell to the ground awkwardly. Referees are usually quick to stop a fight when an MMA fighter appears to be unconscious, and you really can’t expect them to take too many chances when people’s lives are on the line.
MMA promotions definitely need to keep improving the quality of their referees. The MMA fight between Kimbo Slice and James Thompson in 2008 is a good example of how much a referee can influence the outcome of a fight. Too many MMA fights like that and the sport will lose the credibility it has fought so hard to get.