A long, long time ago, back in 2018/2019, Dillion Danis was an active Bellator fighter. Not too active — the BJJ phenom stepped into the cage twice, winning both of his fights via first round submission. But he was competing, and looking good.
Then a severe knee injury completely derailed his career, and he hasn’t been seen in the cage since. Three years later and a return has been set, but not for Bellator. Instead, Danis will box YouTuber KSI on January 14th as part of KSI and DAZN’s X Series events.
That decision was “frustrating” for Bellator president Scott Coker, who has been waiting patiently in the wings for his high profile athlete to recover. And for those who know Coker, language that strong is akin to Dana White dropping a dozen F-bombs.
“The thing that is a little frustrating,” Coker said at the Bellator 288 post-fight press conference, “Is when you think about Dillon Danis, the guy has a great ground game, he’s one of the best jiu jitsu guys on the planet. So we signed him, we wanted to develop him, we wanted him to come into our system and start fighting. Fighting tougher guys. But I think he got sidetracked a little bit and other things got in the way. To me, he had a lot of potential. We can’t make him do it, he’s gotta want to do it.”
“Right now he’s doing something else.”
As for Danis’ recent hijinx, including a brawl with KSI and a subsequent parking lot street fight with former Bellator fighter Anthony Taylor, Coker wasn’t impressed.
“I’m not sure what to think about it,” Coker said. “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.”
The tactics are to gain views and attention online, and then convert them into millions. Danis has been cultivating a massive following of haters for years now, and after fumbling the bag with Jake Paul it honestly looked like he might never be able to cash in. Danis was in a full leg brace for much of the past two years, but now he has enough movement that he thinks he can beat KSI. Considering the striking skills Danis displayed in Bellator, we doubt it.
Who cares, though, if you get paid?