What a frustrating 2017 it’s been for Michael Page.
The Bellator welterweight hasn’t fought since November 2016 when he defeated Fernando Gonzalez at Bellator 165. Since then, Page has been chasing a fight with Paul Daley, but his fellow Brit has turned down the opportunity to fight him on several occasions.
With a knee injury also keeping Page out of action at the last Bellator London card back in May, Page’s frustrations have been on edge all year, but one recent announcement angered him more than any other.
Pursuing Paul Daley
On July 24 it was announced that Daley would take on Lorenz Larkin at Bellator 182 in September. After chasing a fight with “Semtex” for nearly 9-months and then having to listen to Daley call him a “p*ssy” from the centre of the Bellator cage after his loss to MacDonald in London, to hear he’d been given another lucrative fight ahead of him appears to have brought things to head.
Speaking to MMAUNO.com yesterday, Page opened up about his recent treatment and admitted that things now had to change.
“I was extremely pissed off,’ Page said. At first I was told that he [Daley] didn’t want to fight me this year because he wanted to pursue a Bellator kickboxing fight. So I then went and told Bellator that I would happily fight him in kickboxing, I was like ‘You aren’t getting away from me.’
“But then the second I suggested kickboxing, he suddenly didn’t want to do that anymore, so I started trying to push a fight between him and my friend Raymond Daniels and he then avoided that at all costs as well.”
With the idea of a kickboxing fight out the window, Page then heard that Daley was pursuing a new business venture.
“Then I heard he wasn’t going to fight at all at this year and he was opening a school,” Page said. “So at that point I was like, I’m not going to knock him for that you know. We don’t get a load of money in this sport so if he’s doing a business thing that’s cool, we can do it next year.”
The Tipping Point
If you thought the story ended there you’re mistaken. Rumours started circulating that Daley was campaigning for a fight Lorenz Larkin. As you can imagine, this didn’t sit well with Page.
“When I heard that he was asking for a fight with Larkin, I was like, this has to be joke,” Page said.
“I thought there was no way that Bellator would give that to him, it’s makes no sense to me whatsoever.”
“Larkin just came off fighting for the title and Daley just got beaten convincingly by MacDonald. What happens if MacDonald beats Lima, and then Daley beats Larkin? You can’t have Paul fight MacDonald again because no one ever wants to see that fight a second time. It [Daley vs. MacDonald] wasn’t competitive at all so it makes absolutely no sense to me.”
Treatment From Bellator
Suffice to say, Page hasn’t been totally in agreement with Bellator’s recent welterweight matchmaking and the way that his own future has been dealt with.
“I understand it’s about entertainment and it’s about numbers, but to me it doesn’t event make sense on that aspect,’ Page said. The fact that Bellator even entertained that, I just felt that it was a joke. On that side of things I’m definitely not happy with them and to me, that just felt a bit disrespectful.
“I don’t complain about anything, I just get on with stuff and that’s just going to have to change because it just feels like if you don’t say anything, people will just take advantage. I’m not saying they give me a tough time on purpose, but that’s what always seems to happen and I know Paul is a lot more vocal in the back office about what he wants.
“I just thought they valued me a bit more than that.”
“I appreciate that they have multiple athletes to look after and keep happy, but I think you need to cater for the right people.
“I don’t see people like Paul in this sport much longer, especially if I get my hands on him.”
Things Are Going To Change
What’s happened recently has been an eye-opener for Page and he now feels like he’s got to change the way he behaves if he’s ever to get what he wants.
The British welterweight now says he’s going to be very clear with his demands.
“This has all got to change,” Page said. “When I’m unhappy with things I’ll say it and when I’m happy with things I’ll push to get what I want because they seems to respond better to that. It just seems to be what they respond to. When I look across Bellator I believe I draw way more eyes than a lot of athletes. I’ve got bigger social followings and that helps for marketing shows.
“When I compare what I get, with what others get, it just doesn’t add up.”
“Something that my friend suggested to me, and I’m not saying it’s true, I can just understand what he means, is that Bellator aren’t pushing me as hard because I’m valuable at the moment and I’m coming to the end of my contract. He said they might not want to push me as hard because in a few fights time I’ll be able to leave. That’s fine I would understand that, but at the same time it’s counterproductive because as it stands right now it makes me question if I want to be here anymore because I don’t get help in this place anyway.”
Let Paul Daley Sell Out London
All the frustrations appear to have come to a head in Page’s mind. His relationship from Bellator is far from soured, but he feels that things are going to have to change.
“Look for me, after all this I just like, if this is what you want and he [Daley] gets everything he wants, then have him sell out your next London show,” Page said. “That’s my stance at the moment. Let see how well he does selling out a London card now.
Getting The Claws out
Asked if this situation could change, Page said it could, but that Bellator would have to make it worth his while.
“Yeah of course, they can raise my funds,” Page said laughing. “If they value me that much they will do it regardless of my contract. It’s weird because what you hear in the back office about this guy or this woman being a diva, or being diva-ish, it kinda just makes me think that they are doing it because if they aren’t they don’t get anything.
“Why is it never the case that Bellator think ‘Actually, this guy is doing good things for us and he’s being a good guy, let us make the first move to show we value him’. It makes me shake my head, but it seems like if I don’t ask, I don’t get.
“It’s time to get the claws out.”
In part 2 of our interview with Page, we look at his upcoming crossover into the world of boxing and get his take on McGregor vs. Mayweather.