English welterweight Paul Daley has been removed from Bellator MMA's upcoming Season 8 170-pound tournament, according to a representative for the promotion.
Daley, 29, is barred from entering the U.S. after being charged with assault stemming from a bar fight, the promotion said. He faces up to two years in prison.
Daley disputes the allegations.
"It's seems as though a mass press release has gone out to the MMA media, stating I was involved in a bar brawl, arrested, and cannot obtain a P-1 visa to compete in the USA," Daley stated on his Facebook page. "I am currently awaiting a decision on my visa, which is not expected until late April. Which means I am unable to compete in the Season 8 Bellator tournament, as it starts in January.
"I will be fighting in Europe in the coming months, so I am able to stay active while awaiting a decision on my visa status. I was not involved in a bar brawl. This is 100% a false statement."
Daley's manager, Wad Alameddine also said Bellator's statements weren't accurate "but there is an issue." He would not comment any further.
Controversy has followed Daley (30-12) throughout his nine-year MMA career, which has featured stints in the UFC, Strikeforce and, since July, Bellator. Most notably, he was released from UFC in 2010 after punching Josh Koscheck after the bell.
The colorful striker, who moved to MMA after a successful kickboxing stint, was set to fight War Machine (formerly Jon Koppenhaver) in January after fans voted the bout Bellator's first match on SpikeTV in 2013. A fractured tibia and partially torn ACL sidelined War Machine, however, and the bout was postponed four to six months.