Danny Sabatello is happy with the way things worked out in the long run after not getting signed by Dana White.
Sabatello, currently scheduled to face Leandro Higo in a bantamweight grand prix bout at Bellator 282 on June 24, competed on Dana White’s Contender Series in November 2022 and picked up a lopsided decision win over Taylor Moore — even earning a rare 30-24 scorecard in the process. The UFC president opted not to sign “The Italian Gangster” who went on to sign with Bellator in 2021, earned wins over Brett Johns and Jornel Lugo to get a spot in the grand prix, and a step closer to winning the $1 million prize.
At this point in his career, Sabatello is happy to thank White for not signing him when he had the chance — which seems to be a theme amongst several of the fighters at American Top Team, according to Sabatello.
” I love Bellator, and everyone that is in Bellator seems to enjoy Bellator,” Sabatello said to MMA Fighting’s Heck Of a Morning .. “The good thing about being at the best gym in the world, American Top Team, is we’ve got so many f****** guys in the UFC, and so many guys in Bellator, and I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot more positive talk about Bellator than there is in the UFC and that’s a pretty main thing across the board. Everyone loves Bellator. I’m not too familiar with the UFC, but others aren’t too positive about it.
“Thank goodness Dana did not take me there, but the truth is that Conor McGregor made the UFC and I believe I can do the same for Bellator. It would be great to become a big name in Bellator and make Bellator the most popular promotion. I’m looking forward to it.”
Sabatello was asked about some of his teammates’ comments at ATT. He said that it went beyond fighters’ bank accounts and more to a general, positive feeling among Bellator athletes than the UFC.
” “There are many things.” Sabatello stated. “Not just about pay because Bellator is paying better than the UFC, but just the professionalism and getting fights. Everything’s a little tough right now in the UFC — I don’t want to get too in-depth or sell anybody out because the one thing I’m not is a rat — but even if you check on Twitter or Instagram, or talk to these fighters, but I think more fighters in the UFC are not as satisfied with the promotion as the fighters in Bellator.
“You talk to guys in Bellator and it’s like, ‘Man, Bellator runs a great f****** show, they pay me well, everybody’s nice and respectful.’ They do all the right things, and not many people are saying that about the UFC.”
Sabatello wouldn’t lie if he said that not being offered a UFC contract in the nick of time was disappointing. Now seeing how is career is shaping up, along with a chance to face Raufeon Stots for the interim title with a win over Lugo, and a new multi0-fight deal he signed following his win over Lugo at Bellator 279, the 29-year-old is more than satisfied with where his career path is taking him.
“Yeah, absolutely, I think these are the best shoes I could possibly be in,” Sabatello explained. “I’ve got a chance to win $1 million — I don’t really care too much about the money — but being that bantamweight champion. Bellator is home to the most bantamweights. Look at how deep this f ****** tourney is. It’s insane. All of these guys are straight killers. When you look at the guys in the UFC, I think they’re really deep, but I think I would take our top-eight against their top-eight, so obviously this is a good move for me.
” Back then it would have been really stupid to say that I wish they wouldn’t take my because at that point I was really desperate for them to take. But it turned out that way and I am very lucky to be with Bellator .”