A little less than a decade ago, Marcus Davis, Tim Sylvia and Dale Hartt all worked together as bouncers at a Bangor bar and night club called Benjamin’s.
All three also went on to become Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts fighters.
Sylvia, still a professional mixed martial arts fighter, is no longer in the UFC, but Hartt and Davis are and both will make history today as part of the first UFC fight card in Germany and the first to feature two Bangor men on the undercard.
Davis is in the seventh fight of the 12-card UFC 99: The Comeback event in Cologne, Germany and Hartt is in the fifth. The event is available on television live at 3 p.m. and taped (10 p.m.) via pay-per view. Davis’ fight against Dan Hardy is expected to be one of the televised fights. Hartt’s is not, but he’s not letting that diminish his excitement.
“Oh man, I’m fired up. This is a huge honor for me,” said Hartt, who brings a 6-1 MMA record into his fight against Dennis Siver (13-6). “It’s a pain in the [butt] a little because Marcus usually corners for me, but it’s unbelievable for me, to be honest with you, to be on the same card with Marcus because he’s helped me so much.
“It’s also a smack to my head, reality-wise, but it makes me feel like I’ve arrived and accomplished something.”
This is a key fight for Hartt professionally as it’s the third one in a four-fight contract he has with UFC. A win would drastically increase his negotiating position and likely his earning power in contract renewal talks.
This is Hartt’s first UFC contract, which pays him about $3,000-7,500 per fight and another $3,000-7,500 per win. There are also potential, more lucrative bonuses he could earn for having the submission, knockout, or fight of the night.
“It’s probably worth about $8,000 a fight if I win, but I’m completely getting away from the business mentality and my contract,” said the 30-year-old Hartt. “I just want to get in there and have a good time.”
“The big money is in sponsorships and appearance fees, but I’m not even thinking about any of that stuff,” said Hartt, who added that fighters can make anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000 a day for appearances at trade shows and public events.
While Hartt is currently at the low end of that range, Davis has been moving up.
Davis, now in his third UFC contract period, sports a 21-5 record and will take on Dan Hardy (21-6). He has won 13 of his last 14 MMA fights since losing to Melvin Guillard in the Ultimate Fighter 2 TV show finale back in 2005.
With Davis being unavailable, Hartt has retained Greg Jackson, who he calls the smartest guy who’s ever trained him, as his trainer and corner man and the focus has been back to basics and fundamentals. Think Rocky training in the woods and snow, without the woods and snow.
“I started training at Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico, where I’m completely isolated with new fighters,” Hartt explained. “I’m more focused. “Maybe I’ve done a little bit less time-wise, but these guys run on this stupid mountain that’s 11,000 feet above sea level and we’re doing wind sprints on the stairs every day.
“We’re pushing a Jeep uphill in a competition to see which guys can push it the farthest.”
The 5-foot, 8-inch Hartt weighed in at 165, the same weight the 5-7 Siver is.
“He’s training at the camp I used for my last fight and I have a buddy there who’s feeding me info after sparring with him,” Hartt said. “I should have a couple inches’ reach on him and I think I’m stronger.”
Hartt, who has been training hard for the last six weeks, wants to take the fight low.
“He’s pretty evasive, has quick kicks, better Greco Roman wrestling moves than me, and an overhand right he throws everything he has into,” said Hartt. “It could be bad if I get hit by one of those, but my ground-and-pound and submission moves are better. I honestly think if he gets near the ground, I’m pretty hard to hurt there and if I get on top of him, I think I have the advantage.
“I’m looking to stand with him and look for a chance for a takedown. I want to wear him down and chip away at him.”
Hartt still can’t believe how far he and Davis have come.
“If you look back, it’s kind of incredible in a way because Bangor is kind of a small town and we used to bounce at Benjamin’s,” said Hartt, who has done almost two dozen interviews the last two weeks.
“I appreciate it because when I started fighting, you didn’t see a lot of mainstream coverage,” he added. “But out here, people treat us like royalty and it’s easy to let your head make you bigger than your britches.”