Pat Downey will make his professional MMA debut on a massive card.
Promotional officials confirmed to MMA Fighting on Tuesday that the former USA Wrestling world team member and NCAA All-American will face Daniel Compton at Bellator 277. The event takes place April 15 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Ariel Helwani was first to report the booking.
While Downey had incredible success during his wrestling career, it was also mired with controversy. The 29-year-old found himself in trouble with the law multiple times stemming from fights, which caused the revocation of a full scholarship to Penn State. Downey also received criticism for comments made about women’s wrestling on social media, which led to his removal from the New Jersey Regional Training Center in 2019.
Downey was scheduled to compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2020 before the event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He would go on to compete at the rescheduled event in March 2021 where Downey went 1-2 and finished fourth. From there, he fully made the transition to MMA, though he would be open to returning to the mat under the right circumstances against a big name — including UFC surging contender Khamzat Chimaev.
Compton (4-3) makes his promotional debut and enters the fight coming off of a first-round knockout win at Zhong Luo’s CFS 2 this past November.
Bellator 277 is headlined by a featherweight championship rematch between A.J. McKee and Patricio Pitbull.