Welterweight Derek Anderson twice missed out on a chance to fight Paul Daley in the Bellator cage. But he took home what he considers a moral victory.
“I don’t think I could have gotten more confidence off of fighting him and beating him than him chickening out on me twice, so I’m good,” Anderson, who on Thursday faces Killys Mota at Bellator 251, told MMA Fighting. “I’m good.”
Anderson was asked whether he’d like to be the opponent standing across the cage when Daley appears in his retirement fight, which he announced after his second booking with Anderson was canceled due to complications from weight-cutting.
Daley was unable to walk to the stage for the ceremonial weigh-ins at Bellator 247 and was transported to the hospital. He later said he could have fought when his condition didn’t appear to rule him out. But he subsequently announced a final fight at 175 pounds, adding, “health before wealth, and NEVER COMPROMISE YOURSELF.”
Anderson is still not pleased by the turn of events. Not only did the second cancelation rob him of a full payday, but the chance to put a big name on his resume.
“He backed out on me three or four years ago in Connecticut, and that time I was like, ‘Woah,’” Anderson said. “It was weird. But this last time in Italy, I was blown away, because it had already happened before. I think he kind of got scared. I’m sure he cut his weight, and he was getting a little exhausted – we all get a little delirious. But I didn’t really cut that much weight, and I was kind of excited, and then they told me he didn’t make weight. I was like, ‘Hell yeah, it’s Christmas time.’ And he’s like, ‘Did he say it’s Christmas time?’
“I think he realized I felt a lot better than he did, and that I wasn’t scared. I’m sure he’s seen my fights, and I fight pretty ruthlessly sometimes, and I was going to come after him the same way and not be intimidated at all. But he just backed out, and I couldn’t believe it. I was pretty upset at first – well, I’m still upset about it. We were main event, it was a big name on my record, I could have gotten his extra money for missing weight.”
The blow was softened by a check for the canceled fight, and Bellator booked a fight with Mota for Thursday, Anderson said.
After so many injuries and setbacks, just getting back to work is a big victory for Anderson. He plans to make the most of it. But his time with Daley is over.