“The Italian Gangster” may be down, but he is far from out.
Danny Sabatello challenged Raufeon Stots for his interim bantamweight title in the Bellator bantamweight Grand Prix semi-finals at Bellator 289, and came up on the wrong end of a split decision.
One judge scored all five rounds to Sabatello, but the other two sided with Stots, as the trash-talking 29-year-old saw his title challenge come up short in Uncasville at Bellator 289.
Sabatello, unsurprisingly, wasn’t impressed with the judges scores.
“I’m pissed off. I think I won that fight, my team thinks I won that fight,” he said.
“I take full responsibility for the loss. Every time you lose a decision, you could have stopped the guy. I don’t know how the f**k I lost the fight. I think the judges f****d this fight. I don’t know how one judge has 50-45 and the others get it wrong.”
Sabatello may be riled by the scorecards going against him, but his mindset has already turned to making sure that situation never befalls him again.
“Regardless of how I view the outcome of the fight, I go back to ATT and go balls to the f*****g wall to get back to that belt.
“This is just a speedbump for me. I’ll always be motivated for the next one. I still think that I’m the best f*****g bantamweight in the world. It’s just three f*****g people that don’t know what they’re looking at.
“I had over 10 minutes of control time, and he had under a minute. He threw a lot of strikes that don’t land. I don’t have a bump or bruise on me. It’s very frustrating because I thought I won, but I don’t make excuses and it’s my responsibility.”
Sabatello said that he will go back to the drawing board with a new tactic – to show the judges what they want to see, or what they think they want to see. To Sabatello, that means trickery as much as it does technique.
“A loss like this, you gotta go back and work on techniques to trick the judges,” he said.
“If I throw a lot of punches that don’t land, it’s gonna convince the judges. Make it look like I’m winning even when I’m controlling.
“I got to go back and watch the fight, but nothing changes; I’ll go back and become a better martial artist.”
When asked about how he felt the fight should have been scored, Sabatello offered, “I think I won four rounds to one. I think the only round he won, possibly, was the third round.
“If you’re throwing volume, it might look like you’re winning to someone who doesn’t know MMA. It has not become a fight, it has become how to trick the judges.”
The nature of the bout, and the lively build-up beforehand, means that the pair could well find themselves sharing the Bellator cage again further down the line. That’s certainly Sabatello’s opinion, and he said that he’ll leave no doubt when he does eventually get a rematch.
“Me and him are never gonna see eye to eye. None of this was fake,” he said.
“This s**t’s not over. If it was up to me, I’d fight him again in 15 minutes. We will meet again. I will beat him again, but I’ll throw more volume in addition to the control.”
And he explained why he still came out to chat to the media, despite not being asked to, he said, “Something that I’ll reiterate: whether I win or lose, nothing changes. The only thing that changes is my phone’s gonna blow up with haters.
“I don’t care about them; they’ll never say it to my face. I’m the most pissed off ever, because I think I won this fight. It just sucks because in this sport, it comes down to three f*****g people.”