Ed Ruth scored a TKO victory at Bellator 224 (Photo/Bellator)
Bellator MMA has announced that it has extended the contracts of a handful of its fighters, including former Penn State wrestling champs Ed Ruth and Phil Davis ... while failing to renew the contracts of a number of others, including a trio of former collegiate wrestlers.
Davis and Ruth have each signed an "exclusive, multi-fight, multi-year extension," according to MMAjunkie.com.
The 34-year-old Davis was a 2008 NCAA Division I champ, four-time NCAA All-American, and two-time Big Ten titlewinner - all at 197 pounds -- for Penn State. He launched his pro mixed martial arts career not long after graduating in 2008, fighting for UFC for nearly five years before signing with Bellator in 2015. Four fights later, Davis won the organization's light-heavyweight (205-pound) championship (though lost it to former Arizona State wrestling champ Ryan Bader in June 2017.) In his most recent bout - Bellator 220 in April - Davis scored a third-round TKO over Liam McGeary, improving his overall record to 20-5, and 7-2 in Bellator.
Ruth, 28, launched his pro MMA career right off the bat with Bellator in November 2016 after crafting a brilliant mat career with the Nittany Lions which included three NCAA titles and four Big Ten individual championships. One of the eight participants in Bellator's recent welterweight (170-pound) grand prix, Ruth is now 7-1 in his pro career ... with the one loss in the grand prix quarterfinals against Neiman Gracie. Just last month, Ruth defeated UFC veteran Kiichi Kunimoto by second-round TKO at Bellator 224.
In addition to the two former Nittany Lion mat stars Davis and Ruth, other Bellator fighters who have had their contracts extended according to a Bellator official include flyweight (125-pound) Kate Jackson (who is 11-3-1 overall, and 3-1 in Bellator bouts), middleweight (185-pound) Charlie Ward (7-3 overall, 4-0 in Bellator), and featherweight (145-pound) Pedro Carvalho (10-3 overall, 3-0 Bellator).
A trio of former college wrestlers let go by Bellator
Sadly, the news was not good for three former mat stars with Bellator contracts. Chris Honeycutt, Jarod Trice and Carrington Banks were among nine Bellator fighters let go by the organization this week, according to multiple media reports, including an MMAjunkie.com report Friday.
A 2012 NCAA finalist for Edinboro University at 197 pounds, Honeycutt, 31, launched his pro MMA career in June 2013 ... and came on board with Bellator in September 2014. The former Fighting Scot wrestler fought primarily at 185, compiling an overall record of 11-3, and 7-3 in Bellator. Honeycutt's last Bellator bout was a split decision loss to Costello van Steenis at Bellator 210 last November.
The 30-year-old Trice, a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler for Central Michigan University, signed with Bellator in May 2016 ... and crafted a perfect 4-0 record with the organization as a light-heavyweight. His most recent bout was a split-decision victory over Sean Powers at Bellator 205 in September.
Banks had been an NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) champ at Iowa Central Community College who later went on to earn All-American honors at 157 pounds for NCAA Division III mat power Wartburg College of Iowa. The 30-year-old Banks started his pro MMA career seven years ago; during that time, he was featured on the MMA reality show The Ultimate Fighter. He was 8-2 overall, and 4-2 in Bellator, having suffered back-to-back losses within that promotion in 2018, but more recently scoring a second-round TKO in a fight within another organization in March 2019 as a lightweight (155 pounds).