Bellator President Scott Coker took a moment during a recent Bellator post-event press conference to weigh in on undefeated MMA personality Dillon Danis’s move to celebrity boxing.
Announced earlier this week, Danis will face YouTuber and aspiring boxer KSI this January at an MF & DAZN X Series event in London. A 2-0 contender in the cage, Danis will be making his first foray into a striking-exclusive combat sport despite his proclivity for the ground game.
A BJJ Black Belt under Marcelo Garcia, Danis made a name for himself first for his grappling prowess and later for his controversial behavior. UFC legend Connor McGregor hired the young Danis as a grappling coach in 2016. Danis signed with Bellator a year later. Making his debut in 2018, Danis ran though both Kyle Walker (2-5) and Max Humphrey (3-3) with back-to-back submissions. The significance of these fights would suffer years later when Danis failed to remember either of his opponents names in a 2021 interview with Ariel Helwani. Neither man has competed professionally since.
Starting with a cageside brawl with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, all of Danis’s post-Humphrey fights have taken place outside of competition. His public spats have ranged from getting pelted with toilet paper by celebrity pugilist Jake Paul, to being physically detained by a bouncer in New Jersey. He’s frequently lobbied to fight either of the Paul brothers, but both have gone on to face higher profile opponents, including Anderson Silva and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Responding to the news of Danis’ boxing endeavors, Coker expressed disappointment in ‘El Jefe’’s career change.
“The thing that is a little frustrating is when you think about Dillon Danis, the guy has a great ground game, he’s one of the best Jiu-Jitsu guys on the planet,” Coker said of Danis in the post-Bellator 288 press conference. “So we signed him, we wanted to develop him, we wanted him to come into our system and start fighting. Fighting tougher guys. But I think he got sidetracked a little bit and other things got in the way. To me, he had a lot of potential. We can’t make him do it, he’s gotta want to do it. Right now he’s doing something else.”
KSI currently sits at a 3-0 record, his first win being a split decision against Logan Paul in 2019. Bloody Elbow has reached out to Danis for comment, and will update the story should he respond.