Wrestlers to help launch Cowboy Fight Series in January

Pat Downey (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

Pat Downey is among a handful of amateur wrestlers who will be among the first contestants at the debut of Cowboy Fight Series amateur MMA promotion, with the premiere event taking place Jan. 19 at Hylton Performing Arts Center at George Mason University in Manassas, Va.

Other wrestlers which have been announced for the new venture launched by UFC fighter Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone include Richie Lewis, Garrett Lineberger, and Greg Velasco.

Pat Downey was a two-time Maryland high school state champion who had earned a silver medal at the 2012 Junior Worlds ... with a collegiate wrestling career spanning a number of programs. He started at University of Nebraska then transferred to Iowa Central Community College, where he won the 197-pound title at the 2015 NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) wrestling championships. The following year, after enrolling at Iowa State, Downey earned All-American honors by placing fifth at 197 pounds at the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. For the 2016-17 season, Downey dropped down to 184 pounds, but suffered a rib injury which limited his time in the wrestling room and in competition. After being booted by then Cyclones head coach Kevin Jackson for breaking team rules in February 2016, Downey transferred to the University of Iowa, but the NCAA declared him ineligible for further collegiate mat competition in January 2018.

Richie Lewis celebrates after beating Alex Marinelli at the Big Ten Championships (Photo/Richard Immel)

Richie Lewis was a U23 World champion who competed collegiately at Rutgers University in his native New Jersey, where he was a two-time NCAA championships qualifier in 2016 and 2018 at 157 pounds, twice a Big Ten conference championships placer, and placed fourth at the prestigious Midlands tournament in 2015. Prior to wrestling for the Scarlet Knights, Lewis was twice a NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) championships All-American for Iowa Central Community College.

Garrett Lineberger was a teammate of emerging MMA star Joey Davis at Notre Dame College in Cleveland. Lineberger was a two-time NCAA Division II champ -- and four-time All-American -- for the Falcons at 184 pounds. Prior to wrestling at Notre Dame College, Lineberger was twice a Maryland high school state champ and nationally ranked by InterMat in high school.

Greg Velasco wrestled heavyweight for Rider University. Before that, he was a two-time All American at the New Jersey high school state wrestling championships. Velasco has competed in muay thai, compiling a 4-0 record.

Cowboy Fight Series is the product of Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, 35, an MMA veteran who launched his pro career a dozen years ago, and has competed in UFC since 2011, compiling an overall record of 33-11 as a welterweight (170-pounds).

Here's how described Cerrone's new venture:

"These events, Cowboy explains, will give amateur fighters a platform on which to grow their skills and their reputations, and in some cases, earn professional contracts with top regional promotions. Cowboy will also invite some of these amateurs to live with him on the BMF ranch, where they'll have the opportunity to train and develop amongst some of the sport's very best fighters."

Cowboy Fight Series has been slowly introducing its fighters one-by-one at its official Facebook page and official website.


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