BANGOR, Maine — After training, boxing or competing in mixed martial arts for more than three decades, the thought of retirement has crossed the mind of 39-year-old Marcus Davis in recent years.
But there are no specific plans along those lines — far from it.
“I’m feeling very healthy right now, all of the major stuff has subsided,” said Davis, the Bangor resident who has battled bursitis, arthritis, impingement syndrome, bulging discs and other ailments during his career.
Davis’ recent deal to fight on Bellator’s March 21 nationally televised MMA card at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston will be the first stage of a three-fight contract he has signed with the nation’s second-largest mixed martial arts organization that runs through March 2014.
Davis’ fight will be one of the featured bouts of Bellator’s first event in Maine, along with the promotion’s $100,000 welterweight tournament final and the Bellator debut of world kickboxing champion Michael “Venom” Page.
The main events of the March 21 card will be broadcast live starting at 10 p.m. on Spike TV as part of the channel’s Bellator MMA weekly series, while preliminary matches will be streamed live and free on Spike.com starting at 8 p.m.
“Marcus is a guy that’s stayed in Maine, who’s built his gym in Maine and really has been a fan favorite for so many years in the UFC,” said New England Fights co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson, whose organization is working with Bellator in a promotional capacity for the March 21 card.
“He’s someone we’ve been chasing for a long time, and we’re super thrilled to be working with Bellator to bring him here for a big show in March.”
And Davis’ future cage presence doesn’t stop there.
As part of that contract, Davis said he will be free to compete on a New England Fights card in May as well as in a Team USA vs. Team United Kingdom pay-per-view event in June.
“We went back and forth for a while,” said Davis of his negotiations with Bellator. “But everybody got what they wanted, we’re all happy.”
Davis is expected to headline the May 18 NEF card in Lewiston against a yet-to-be-announced opponent.
“It’s a natural marriage,” said Peterson. “We’ve been exploring it for a long time, thinking about the appropriate way to make it happen and to find Marcus a competitive opponent. This is a guy who’s done it all at this point, but we think we’ve got a matchup that’s familiar to Maine fans that’s going to happen on May 18.
“To have him on our next NEF show, we’re just kids in candy stores at this point in terms of promoting mixed martial arts in Maine. All of our dreams are coming true.”
Davis began his competitive career in boxing, going 32-2 as an amateur and 17-1 in the pro ranks. He once was the top-ranked middleweight in New England before contractual issues soured him on the sport just as mixed martial arts was taking hold nationally during the late 1990s.
Davis made the switch and has compiled a 21-9 professional MMA record, including 9-5 during a five-year run in the top-tier UFC.
He is coming off a three-round unanimous decision victory over David Bielkheden in a welterweight (170-pound) bout as part of Superior Challenge 8 at Malmo, Sweden, on Oct 6.