One of the bigger news this week was UFC light-heavyweight Phil Davis signing with Bellator MMA. It might not be unusual for free agents to switch promotions, but it is a bit surprising that a top-ten fighter like Davis decides to fight for a smaller organization. Now, he explained his reasons in an interview with MMA Junkie Radio.
"It's simple," Davis said. "We, as fighters, fight people for money. There's no real secret there, guys. We fight people for money."
Davis' UFC contract expired after his last fight against Ryan Bader, a disputed split-decision loss at UFC on FOX: Gustafsson vs. Johnson in January. Instead of instantly re-signing with the UFC, Davis waited until his mandatory 60-day restricted free agency period ran out and waited for job offers to come in. And they came in, with Bellator's being the most tempting, according to Davis.
"I had to offer the chance to go back to the UFC and have them match the offer, and they declined," Davis said. "There was another offer on the table, and they declined to match."
So Davis does, what UFC president Dana White repeatedly tells every fighter in his roster to do: Use the small window of time as a pro fighter, and try to make as much money as possible.
Davis has been one of the top-light-heavyweights in the UFC, with a 9-3 record and wins over Lyoto Machida, Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira and others. He enters a division in Bellator, that presents a couple of promising match-ups, with names like 205-pound champion Liam McGeary, Emanuel Newton or UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz coming to mind.
There is no date for his promotional debut set, yet.