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Bellator 183's Lorenz Larkin gives origin story of Paul Daley beef


SAN JOSE, Calif. – Bellator welterweight Lorenz Larkin doesn’t like talking about Paul Daley.

Talking, after all, is the opposite of what he thinks their upcoming fight should be about – a collision of two prolific strikers. That’s enough. There’s no need to dress it up with a manufactured grudge.

And yet, Larkin (18-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) told MMAjunkie that’s exactly what Daley (39-15-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) has done – or tried to do – as their fight has gone from a text message from Bellator President Scott Coker to a co-main event at Bellator 183, which takes place Saturday at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

“I don’t do the fake stuff,” Larkin told MMAjunkie during a media day in support of the Spike-televised fight. “I get it, you’re trying to sell the fight. But we don’t need to sell the fight. It’s exciting in and of itself. So don’t do the extra (expletive).

“He’s not that guy. He’s not a talker. He doesn’t have that charisma. He just fights. If I was a promoter, I’d just be like, ‘Fight.’ Let’s not put him in front of the camera. Let’s not let people talk to him. Let’s just let them like him because he fights, not his charisma. Because he doesn’t have it.”

Up until July 4, Larkin didn’t feel this way. He thought of Daley as his next fight. There was no grudge to be had.

When Coker proposed the bout, a reboot after Larkin’s miss against welterweight champ Douglas Lima and Daley’s rout by Rory MacDonald, Larkin had asked for a few days to check with his doctor if he was healthy enough to fight. He was waiting for the go-ahead when his phone buzzed with a message from Daley.

“‘We’re waiting on you, Larkin, to sign the contract,'” Larkin remembers of Daley’s words. “‘Don’t be scared,’ or some (expletive) like that. So I’m like, scared?”

The statement struck Larkin as particularly ludicrous considering Daley’s past. Weight misses, losses blamed on takedown-savvy opponents, fights turned down – the Brit was a guy in a glass house.

So, Larkin told him as much. And that’s where the drama got started.

Larkin probably could have predicted what was coming next. Daley used the media to bash him, trying to drum up as many headlines as possible before their showdown. And Larkin would be forced to respond, because that would be the most obvious narrative heading into the fight.

That’s fine, Larkin said, but it’s annoying. If history serves as any indication, he added, footage of Daley talking trash to him will mysteriously disappear on the internet, supposedly wiping the slate clean for the next opponent that needs to be sold.

“It’s going to be funny in the years that come along,” Larkin said. “I know somebody is going to do a compilation of him talking all this mess and the repercussions of his stuff.”

After this article, maybe someone will take him up on that. But first, Larkin needs to make sure he’s not the one who ends up on a highlight reel.

He’d never hear the end of that.

For more on Bellator 183, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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