It was inevitable after an undefeated college career in wrestling for Compton native Joey Davis, who signed a pro contract with Bellator MMA, one of the combat sport’s top mixed martial promotions. Bellator officials confirmed the news on Friday.
Nicknamed “Iceman,” Davis, a four-time Division II NCAA champion at 184 pounds, plans on fighting in Bellator’s 170-pound division. He will train at Antonio McKee’s Body Shop gym.
Davis was 131-0 at Notre Dame College, where he was a man among boys. Only two other collegiate wrestlers accomplished his perfect record: Cael Sanderson went 159-0 during his Division I run, and Marcus LeVesseur went 155-0 in Division III.
Since its inception, Bellator has sporadically featured tournaments, unlike several other MMA promotions. However, in 2015, Bellator President Scott Coker made the decision to drop the 8-man tournament format in favor of smaller tournaments.
Bellator includes weight classes from bantamweight (135 pounds) through heavyweight (265 pounds) and tournaments in each weight class are conducted over a three-month period. Each tournament begins with the opening round featuring eight fighters in that respective weight class, moving onto the semi-finals and then the finals. For four-man tournaments, only the semi-finals and finals are
included. Each tournament is single elimination and there is a one-month break between opening round, semi-finals, and finals.
During the tournament, the rules are slightly different from those of a non-tournament fight. Elbow strikes are illegal in the quarterfinal and semifinal tournament bouts due to the high probability of a cut occurring. Elbow strikes are legal in the finals. The tournament final encompasses three five-minute rounds.