Former UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator welterweight Paul Daley has signed a three-fight, 12-month agreement with BAMMA. MMA Fighting confirmed the news with Daley's manager, Wad Alameddine, and the organization.
"I'm extremely happy to sign with a premier European promotion," Daley said in a statement provided to MMAFighting.com. "BAMMA provides exciting match-ups for hardcore fans, with a TV production that appeals to mainstream viewers. I'm aiming to bring my own brand of fight entertainment into households around the world the only way I, Paul 'Semtex' Daley, know how ... knockout victories."
"We are delighted to have signed Paul to a multi-fight deal with BAMMA," Ashley Bothwell, BAMMA's managing director, said in a statement. "Paul is an exceptional athlete who has built a huge fan base worldwide due to his electrifying style of fighting. All of his previous fights on BAMMA have contained Paul's trademark excitement and energy and we look forward to more of the same. We know how much Paul brings to a promotions fight roster and this multi-fight deal shows the mutual respect that we hold each other in."
Daley had recently voiced his desire to make a return to the UFC, going as far as saying it 'would be a dream' to once again compete for the organization.
"I don't really know what to say," he said. "The best thing I can say is I want to be back with UFC. It would be a dream come true to be back with the UFC. The things that I did say bad about the UFC, it was like what most fighters would do if they weren't in the best organization in the world. You don't want to be No. 2, you want to be No. 1. I just think it's fitting that I'm in the organization."
Daley was released by Zuffa following his bout with Josh Koscheck at UFC 113 back in May 2010. Following a frustrating three rounds struggling with Koscheck's wrestling, Daley took a swing at his opponent after the final bell. UFC President Dana White announced later that evening that he would never again appear in the UFC Octagon. "He's done. I dont a give a s**t if he's the best 170-pounder in the world. He'll never come back her again." As of last week White's stance hadn't changed, saying he 'hadn't even thought about it' when asked by Ariel Helwani if Daley's return was even a possibility.
The issue is further complicated by Daley's apparent Visa troubles. The 30-year-old Brit has a criminal record in England, most recently cited as being a party to a bar brawl. Daley plead guilty to one count of assault by beating, and two more of obstructing or resisting a constable in executing their duties. The accepted plea bargain guaranteed no jail time, but would, of course, make gaining entry into the U.S. much more difficult.
Largely due to the reasons above, Daley was unconditionally released from his Bellator contract last week after only once competing for the organization. Following a TKO victory over Rudy Bears at Bellator 72 in July 2012, Daley was forced to withdraw from the promotion's welterweight tournament citing Visa issues.
BAMMA's next event, BAMMA 13, takes place Sept. 14, but officials are hoping Daley will make his return at BAMMA 14, scheduled to take place sometime before the year's end.
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