Page was the target of a heated in-cage callout from Paul Daley following Daley’s main event loss to Rory MacDonald. Daley then dialed things up by charging Page outside of the cage, leading to a scuffle between the two English rivals in the stands of London’s SSE Arena.
On Monday, reflecting back on the altercation, Page said he wasn’t surprised to see that type of behavior from Daley.
“I kind of expected it,” Page explained on The MMA Hour. “Because I felt he went in there knowing that if he wins the fight, he would automatically call out Douglas Lima, going for the belt, and if he lost, which he did, he would call me out. So, I think that was just very tactical. But I have to say, I’m extremely disappointed and I’ve lost all respect for Paul Daley. And it’s not because of him calling me out.
“The main reason was his mom was in the crowd, distressed and angry after the incident. And obviously, knowing that your family is there, you have to be careful, you have to be professional about how you handle yourself. And I had to kind of explain and calm her down. We had a lovely conversation; although it was tense, I had to calm her down. It left her feeling a lot better afterward obviously, but I would never put my mother in that situation, having to defend my battles over something that I caused. So I have to say that I’ve lost a hell of a lot of respect for him.”
Page and Daley have a rivalry that dates back to last year, when the two former acquaintances began taking potshots at one another through the media. Daley rebuffed several attempts to set up a fight between he and Page, dismissing the notion by stating that the two Englishmen were not on the same level and referring to Page as the Adrien Broner to his own Floyd Mayweather. Daley also labeled Page as the ‘Justin Bieber of MMA’ after Page released an original music video calling out Daley.
So given how far back the bad blood stretches, Page said he was amused by Daley’s timing on Saturday night.
“I find it funny, because there’s a time and a place for everything, and since all the hype started, we’ve been at a couple of events where we’ve been sitting across the room from each other, and this was the first time he’s looked me in my eyes,” Page said. “And he decides to do it then. I was a bit annoyed, but then at the same time I found it a bit funny because, one, if he exited the cage the opposite way, within five steps he could’ve looked me straight in my face, and there was hardly anybody around at that side. He went out the opposite way and then decided to create a scene and charge towards me.
“I hadn’t actually said anything to him at the time, so I would love to actually hear what triggered him to turn around and charge at me anyway. I hadn’t said anything, I hadn’t shouted anything, I hadn’t waved at him, there was nothing. So, again, I think he’s just trying to sell another fight and distract people from the whooping he actually got in the cage.”
Security broke up the altercation before anything major happened, but Page indicated that Daley was lucky things didn’t escalate at Bellator 179.
“The first thing I was thinking of doing was hitting him straight away, and that’s purely out of self-defense,” Page said. “I’m not that way inclined, but the pure aggressive way he approaching with he and his training partner, or whoever that other idiot is, you can’t walk towards someone like that and not expect them to defend themselves. So, they charged towards me. Luckily it didn’t get to that point because my coach stepped in the way and pushed him back, but he could’ve caused a very big incident at that particular time. And like I said, he could’ve called me into the cage and I would’ve gladly walked in. There’s a way of doing it, and I think he did it the safe way.”
In a way, the incident somewhat overshadowed Daley’s performance against MacDonald at Bellator 179, which saw Daley lose a one-sided, takedown-heavy fight via second-round rear-naked choke. Afterward, in his post-fight speech, Daley said that MacDonald “played the safest way to get the win” by resorting to his wrestling — a point which only added to a performance that Page found laughable.
“It was horrible,” Page said. “You know when you’re watching the back room when they’re warming up for a fight and you have a training partner helping you out? It just felt like Paul Daley was in there as Rory MacDonald’s training partner, and Rory absolutely destroyed him. Again, I find it funny that he had immediate excuses after the fight. Again, that just shows your character, because he got completely schooled in every area and his excuses were, ‘oh yeah, he took the safe way out. He decided to take me down. He knew that he’s better than me there.’
“Now, why does he know that? You’re supposed to be an established MMA fighter. It shouldn’t be a case of, ‘yeah, he knows he can take me here and win.’ You should be working on all areas of your game. So I just feel like, immediately after losing, you should have the decency to congratulate someone for that kind of performance.”
Page said he expects to spend the next few months rehabilitating his injured knee, but then he wants to “get back in very soon” and settle his grudge with Daley.
Page called for that fight to be booked “as soon as possible,” and he promised to give Daley his third hometown loss inside the Bellator cage.
“I would love for Bellator to set up another show immediately in London, and I think I owe it to the London crowd, because my injury this time,” Page said. “I would love to come back here as soon as possible. I think me and him alone would fill this place. I think the hype around this fight is going to be insane, and there’s very few times you’re going to see two English people doing this fighting, causing so much hype for one bout, and I think we need to get it done as soon as possible. I don’t want to wait until next year. I want it done now. I want my next fight to be him.
“I actually guarantee, in that fight, he’s going to try and take me down. I guarantee it. He was talking about Rory taking the safe option — I guarantee he tries to take me down when we fight, because he’s not going to handle my striking. He’s not going to handle my movement. He’s not going to handle my precision. He’s going to show a lot, he’s a very emotional fighter as well, as that’s going to drive him to make very bad mistakes in that fight.”