MMA Odds and Ends for Friday: Phil Davis Signs With Bellator

Phil Davis 2 Bellator made a huge splash in the MMA free agent market this week, signing former UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis to a multi-fight contract. Davis (13-3, 1 NC) went 8-3, 1 NC in the UFC since 2010, defeating the likes of Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira, and Lyoto Machida. Davis, who is 30 years of age, lost his last fight in the Octagon, a split decision defeat to Ryan Bader, but he was still ranked in the top 10 of the world and losing him puts a dent in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. According to Davis, signing with Bellator was purely a financial move. With the UFC, Davis was stuck in the middle of the pack as far as pay goes when compared to his light heavyweight counterparts. With Bellator, though, he will be paid handsomely, with rumored figures putting his payday at over six figures per fight, which is a nice get for him. MMA is a prize fighting sport and so one cannot at all blame Davis for wanting to take the money over the superior competition in the UFC, because, after all, who wouldn’t want to get paid more money to do what they do for a living? With Davis now in Bellator, Scott Coker and Rich Chou now have a solid stable of 205lbers with which to make fights with. The list of Bellator light heavyweights includes Davis, champion Liam McGeary, King Mo, Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Sokoudjou, Emanuel Newton, Linton Vassell, and Francis Carmont. Considering light heavyweight is one of the weakest divisions in all of MMA, for Bellator to have a solid group of 10 light heavyweights like they do is pretty solid, although of course the Bellator light heavyweight division is not even close to what the UFC brings to the table with their own light heavyweight division. According to Davis, the UFC actually did want to re-sign him — and why not, considering his place as a top-10 light heavyweight in the sport — but Bellator offered considerably more money than the UFC did and at the end of the day it didn’t make financial sense for the UFC to re-sign Davis considering the promotion did not feel he was moving the needle and wasn’t improving enough as a fighter to warrant the pay increase Bellator offered him, even despite his solid record fighting for the UFC. Regardless of how much money he is getting paid, and regardless of what the fans may think of his wrestling-first style, Davis is a solid fighter with a solid resume and getting him is a big boon for Bellator as they continue to make strides as the world’s No. 2 MMA promotion beside the UFC, while for the UFC it opens up their light heavyweight division as someone else will step up into Davis’ role in the top 10 and hopefully take advantage of the opportunity his leaving gives.

Written by Adam Martin.

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