Neiman Gracie: Dillon Danis only calling out people when ‘he knows the fight will not happen’

Neiman Gracie is undefeated in MMA.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dillon Danis called out Ben Askren after his Bellator MMA debut. He’s been in social media exchanges with former UFC champions Michael Bisping and Rafael dos Anjos.

Neiman Gracie said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour that he is still waiting for Danis to respond to his call out. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace — and nephew of legend Renzo Gracie — believes a fight between he and Danis, another high-level black belt, would be a big one for the grappling community and beyond.

“People want to see this fight,” Gracie said. “Everywhere I go, people are talking to me, ‘Hey man, when are you gonna fight him? When are you gonna humble him?’ If people want to see this fight, I want to do the fight, it’s just up to him now. So if he wants to fight, let’s fight.”

Gracie said he has a theory on why Danis is trying to pick fights with Askren and others when he is right there asking. It’s because Danis knows these fights with the Bispings of the world won’t happen now and probably never will, Gracie said.

“He’s calling out guys that he knows the fight will not happen,” Gracie said. “The other day he called out Rafael dos Anjos. He called [Michael] Bisping, something like that. What the hell, man? You know this fight isn’t gonna happen. Are you gonna call out Mike Tyson? You’re gonna go tweet it and call him out? It’s crazy.

“It’s strange because I call him out, he knows this fight can happen and I hear nothing from him. That’s a little strange.”

Danis debuted by beating Kyle Walker with a toehold at Bellator 198 last month in Rosemont, Ill. Gracie was on the same card — he fought right after Danis — and he defeated Javier Torres via arm-triangle choke.

A fight between the two would certainly be fascinating clash of BJJ aptitude. But Gracie is 8-0 as a pro MMA fighter, going back to 2013. Danis is a neophyte, having just made his debut. For that reason, Gracie acknowledges why Danis might not want to face him at this juncture. And he doesn’t plan on trying to lure Danis into a bout by talking crap.

“I’m not the type of guy that would come here and do trash talk,” Gracie said. “Some people knew that I was coming here, some friends of mine and they said, ‘Hey man, go there and talk some crap about his mom.’ I said, ‘Man, I would never do that.’ I’m not like that.

“Some other guys they came to me and said, ‘You’ve gotta change a little, you’ve gotta start talking more.’ I won’t change who I am because of money. My mom raised me as a man, not — I’m sorry — as a prostitute. I’m not gonna come here and change who I am and talk crap about the kid. I don’t know him, so I have nothing against him. I just want to fight him. If you want to fight, let’s fight. If you don’t want to fight, I understand. Maybe we’ll fight in the future.”

As far as Danis’ performance against Walker, who came in 2-4 as a pro, Gracie wasn’t all that impressed. Walker landed hard punches on Danis early in the bout and Gracie believes he has some work to do.

“I don’t think he’s really good,” Gracie said. “It’s his first fight, it’s normal. When he got hit, he was closing his eyes. That’s not good.”

Gracie said he’s also not a big fan of the way Danis dresses, saying it looks like he’s wearing “my grandmother’s curtains.” More than that, he doesn’t appreciate the way Danis talks about other fighters. The culture in MMA right now, Gracie said, needs to change.

“This is horrible,” Gracie said. “There is kids watching us. I feel like MMA right now is going the wrong way. It’s not nice. Like McGregor, he has two sides. He has one side that I like and the other side that he’s been doing right now. The side that I like is the guy that came out of nowhere and he did all the hard work and he made it. The other side is this guy there breaking buses and talking crap. Man, there are so many kids watching us. You’ve gotta be a role model.

“If you want to be like someone, be like Demian Maia, be like Frankie Edgar. Those guys, they have their families and they’re supporting their families and they’re great role models. I hate to see MMA going this way and I feel this is something that we can blame fans also. Because they want to see that — and that’s sad.”

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