CHICAGO – Another weekend, another Dillon Danis fiasco.
That was the case this past Friday when Danis scuffled with British YouTuber-turned-boxer KSI and was punched by Anthony Taylor during a brawl at a DAZN event. This latest Danis fiasco happened less than a week after he was in the middle of a physical altercation with former UFC star Nate Diaz outside of Madison Square Garden at UFC 281.
Bellator president Scott Coker, Danis’ promoter, hadn’t seen the latest encounter but was told about it Friday. When asked about the situation, Coker was at a loss.
“I’m not sure what to think about it,” Coker told reporters, including MMA Junkie, after Bellator 288 in Chicago. “All I’ve got to say to Anthony and to Dillon: You shouldn’t be out there fighting for free. If you want to fight for free, please give me a call. You’re a professional prize fighter. You should fight in the cage or do it in the ring. I’m not sure what the tactics there are.”
His latest antics have resulted in a booking as Danis, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, will fight KSI on Jan. 14 in a DAZN pay-per-view boxing match in London.
From Coker’s standpoint, dealing – or rather, not dealing – with Danis has been a less-than-ideal situation. Danis, who gained notoriety as a training partner and friend of former UFC dual champion Conor McGregor, signed with Bellator in 2017 but has competed only twice for the promotion. He won both fights – in 2018 and 2019 – by submission before undergoing knee surgery, which put him on the shelf indefinitely.
At least publicly, Danis, 29, hasn’t shown a real interest in returning to MMA. He’s been caught up in repeated situations like the ones this past week, including a water-balloon incident with Jake Paul and being taken down by a bouncer outside of a Jersey Shore establishment.
When he acquired Danis, Coker believed in him. Now he laments how the past few years have unfolded.
“The thing that is frustrating is, when you think of Dillon Danis, the guy has a great ground game. He was one of the best jiu-jitsu guys on the planet at one time,” Coker said. “We signed him, we wanted to develop him, we wanted him to come into our system and start fighting, fight tougher guys and work your way up, but I think he got sidetracked a little bit. Things get in the way.
“To me, he had a lot of potential. And so we can’t make him do it, he’s got to want to do it, but right now he’s doing something else.”