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KSI on Dillon Danis withdrawing from fight: ‘We probably had a bit too much faith in him’

KSI was shocked when Dillon Danis pulled out of their boxing match.

KSI was set to take on Danis in the main event of the latest Misfits Boxing enterprise on Saturday until Danis withdrew from the contest this past week. While Danis’ withdrawal may not have surprised the MMA community, KSI said he didn’t see it coming.

“We probably had a bit too much faith in him trying to show up, and he didn’t even show up in the end,” KSI told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Yeah, that was bad on us, but it is what it is.”

In defense of KSI, there were early signs that Danis would show up for this bout. A few weeks ago, the polarizing erstwhile MMA fighter went on The MMA Hour and aggressively hyped up the fight, saying he was making “a bag” and adding he would absolutely show up to the fight.

That’s why KSI felt pretty confident Danis wouldn’t bail.

“I actually thought he was going to show up. 100 percent,” KSI said. “Him being there made me go, OK, he’s actually serious. He’s going on your show, he wants to actually fight, he looks like he’s somewhat prepared. Maybe he’s rambling on here or there, but he looked like he was serious. So I was like, ‘alright, cool,’ and from what my manager’s been telling me, from what people have been telling me, he’s actually down.

“I did hear whispers on Twitter, and a few comments here or there like, ‘He’s not going to show up. He’s not going to fight.’ But I was like, ‘No, man.’ Especially for the amount of money he was going to be making. There’s no way he’s going to pull out. Especially with everything he said, saying I’m not a real fighter, I’m an idiot, I’m stupid, this and that, I can’t box, he’s going to knock me out. There’s no way he can come through with this much smoke and then pull out. And then he did.”

While KSI may have been shocked, Danis’ withdrawal was not without precedent. Though “El Jefe” has excelled at staying in the headlines, he has struggled to get in the cage in recent years with his last actual fight coming in 2019. He also bailed on the Misfits Boxing event’s pre-fight press conference, which KSI acknowledged could portend bad things for the Bellator contractee’s attendance.

Still, the YouTube sensation thought this time would be different, explaining the thought process that led to him fighting Danis in the first place.

“I was going to be fighting [Tyron] Woodley, and Logan Paul was going to be fighting Dillon Danis, and then Logan got injured, the budget got shorter from DAZN, and then Tyron Woodley was just having a little back-and-forth with the rehydration clause and the weight, and we were just like, ‘We’ve got Danis here, who’s free, and he’s hungry,’” KSI explained. “He’s been telling us that he wants to fight. ... So I was like, alright. Let’s go. He wants it, he’s hungry for it, and he’s going to be entertaining. I know between Danis and Tyron Woodley, I’m going to get more entertainment from Danis, because he’s just wild and weird and stupid. He gravitates eyes toward him. It’s just going to make it a bigger spectacle. Also, get the MMA community into watching it. It was just a smart play, and I knew I would knock him out anyway, but I think it would have been a great showcase of me to be like, ‘OK, this is what I can do.’ But yeah, we all know what the story is.”

KSI went on to suggest that aside from the previously alleged lack of preparation, Danis also made some noise about a rehydration clause that was part of the contract. Really, though, he puts Danis’ withdrawal down to one simple fact: fear.

“I think he was scared,” KSI said. “I think he probably saw videos of how I was training and how prepared I was, and how serious I was taking this. Since the first Logan fight, I have told myself I will always take every boxing fight seriously.

“I will fight as is I’m fighting Mike Tyson, or I’m fighting the best of the best, because after I beat Joe Weller all those years ago, I got super complacent. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m sick. I’m awesome. I don’t even need to train. I trained super hard and I got to this level, and I was able to beat Joe Weller. Alright, cool. Let me fight Logan Paul, who hasn’t done any boxing. I don’t need to train as hard. This should be a walk in the park.’ Go in the ring and he’s massive. Jab is just beating me, slapping me up. And I’m there like, ‘Oh, I’m actually not as sick as I thought I was.’ Then I had to dig deep, get the dog in me to scrape a draw. Then with the second fight I put my all into it to make sure I got a win.”

For his part, Danis has yet to speak about his withdrawal but for one tweet stating “the truth will shock everyone.” Given his almost four-year layoff from any sort of combat sport, any explanation likely won’t be well-received. It certainly won’t be by KSI, who made it clear he has no intention of ever offering Danis a fight again.

“No – no, no, no, no,” he said. “It’s done. F*** him. F*** Dillon. I hope everyone forgets about him and he disappears into irrelevancy. No, no, no. I’ve literally told Mams [Taylor, KSI’s manager] I don’t want him anywhere near it. I don’t care. With me, I don’t care about money. I’ve got money. I don’t do this for money. If you disrespect me like that, I just cut you out. I don’t care.”

With Danis out, KSI now faces pro-gamer FaZe Temperrr on Jan. 14 at Wembley Arena in London.

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