In the MMA world, it is recognized that Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known by its acronym UFC, is the premier organization to compete in. Probably that many big name fighters, like Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez, works for them is a factor. Or maybe the fact that on a promotion to profit level, UFC has the most prominent women’s divisions in MMA, primarily centered on Ronda Rousey.
All in all, UFC holds the title of legitimacy in the world of MMA. So it was a shock among the MMA community when Phil Davis opted to not renew his contract with UFC and instead signed with Bellator MMA.
According to the Examiner, Bellator MMA announced on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, that they signed Phil Davis (a.k.a. Mr. Wonderful) to an exclusive, multi-fight deal. This is surely a huge acquisition for the organization given the fact that Davis is currently the sixth ranked Light Heavyweight MMA fighter in the world. Also, Davis’ has a stellar 13-3-1 record with the likes of Antônio Rogério Nogueira, Lyoto Machida, and Alexander Gustafsson on Davis’ win list.
After the announcement by Bellator MMA, Phil Davis made the following statement, one that shows a bit of cockiness on his behalf.
“I can’t wait to be fighting in Bellator and wreck shop on everyone. I am the absolute best and most dominant grappler to ever fight in MMA and I’m excited to get in there and compete at my new home.”
It is questionable if Phil Davis is in fact the best and most dominant grappler to ever fight in MMA, but it is not unthinkable that Davis will have a championship match right away, as reported by Yahoo! News. On the Bellator MMA roster, Davis currently has the most impressive credentials. Therefore, it would be peculiar to see Davis participate in any fight that isn’t a marquee title fight at this point in his career.
Overall, the real winner is Bellator MMA. In the past, the promotion was known to sign on older, established fighters who are nearing the end of their MMA career, such as Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson, Ken Shamrock, and Kimbo Slice. Such a practice was done just to boost viewership. Phil Davis differs from said practice for he is still young and has many years left in his MMA career. Also with Davis, Bellator MMA achieves legitimacy in the MMA world, a title — as mentioned earlier — held by UFC for now.
[Images via Buda Mendes/Getty]