After his loss to Raphael
Assuncao at WEC 52, L.C. Davis
spent more than a year away from live competition in the mixed
martial arts arena, only recently returning to action in
He found plenty to keep him busy in the meantime.
Davis was released by Zuffa after his loss to Assuncao, a little
more than a month before many of his WEC brethren moved on to the
UFC as part of the promotional merger at the beginning of 2011.
Despite posting a 3-2 record within the WEC, Davis had no problems
with the decision.
“Everybody [that isn’t there] probably wishes they were still
there,” Davis recently told Sherdog.com. “You’re definitely
expendable when you’re with Zuffa. If you don’t perform, you’re
gonna get cut, and I lost two in a row... Typically, that calls for
your walking papers.”
A series of events have kept the Kansas City, Mo., resident away
from the cage until last month. After agreeing to fight Jared
Downing at a January 2011 Titan Fighting Championship event,
Davis was forced to withdraw upon suffering a knee injury in
With no health insurance, the IFL veteran waited for the ailment to
heal itself. Satisfied that he was healthy enough to compete, Davis
attempted to become a cast member on Season 14 of “The Ultimate
Fighter.” He lasted until the final cut but did not make it onto
Davis returned home and resumed his training, only to reinjure his
knee more severely. Considering that all fighters under the Zuffa
umbrella had been granted health benefits around that same time,
Davis could do nothing but lament his situation -- and purchase
some insurance of his own.
“Yeah, it kind of sucked,” he admitted.
A visit to the doctor revealed that Davis needed surgery, and as it
turns out, Part 2 of his extended layoff could not have come at a
better time. Shortly thereafter, Davis found out that he was going
to be a father. Meanwhile, he was hard at work with Strikeforce
veteran Jason High on
plans for opening an MMA gym in the Kansas City area.
Not surprisingly, the latter half of 2011 was booked: DaKhari Lee
Davis was born on Sept. 24, and High and Davis officially opened
the doors of HD MMA a little more than a month later. Once he
became more comfortable with the dual duties of fatherhood and gym
ownership, Davis was able to return to a regular training
Davis’ return didn’t go as planned, as he fell to Christian
Uflacker via narrow split decision at Hoosier Fight Club 10 in
Valparaiso, Ind., on Feb. 11. According to a report in The Times of
Northwest Indiana, two judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of
Uflacker, while the other awarded Davis a 30-27 scorecard. Overall,
it was a frustrating night for Davis, who struggled to get off the
canvas against a larger opponent.
“I won’t make no excuses, but it was [near] the guy’s hometown,”
Davis said. “He’s from Chicago, and it’s right outside of there. I
just kind of lost a close, hometown split decision.”
The silver lining in the loss: it led Davis to seek a new path in
his MMA career.
“Since [the layoff] I’ve actually lost a little muscle and a little
size. My last fight, I fought a guy that was cutting from 170 at
least to get to 145. I think that had a little bit to do with me
not winning the fight,” he said. “In the future, I’ll be fighting
at bantamweight and looking to make a run in the UFC.”
Davis competed exclusively at featherweight during his WEC tenure,
which included victories over Javier
Vasquez and Diego Nunes,
but earlier in his career he took fights at 155 pounds when they
were available. Davis hopes to follow the path of Urijah
Faber, who once ruled the WEC ranks as a featherweight but has
since risen to No. 1 contender in the UFC at 135 pounds.
“He’s made a great run since he’s dropped to bantamweight,” Davis
said. “There weren’t a lot of 145-pound fights when I first
started, so I fought 155 a lot in the IFL. Then 145 came around,
thanks to Urijah paving the way. I made 145 my home, but 133 was
actually my college wrestling weight all four years. I decided to
go back down to the weight that I was most competitive at in
college and see how that treats me.”