Bellator signs wrestling star and former All American Pat Downey

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Pat Downey is heading to Bellator MMA.

A Bellator official confirmed Downey’s signing to MMA Junkie on Thursday after an initial report from reporter Ariel Helwani. No date or opponent has been set for Downey’s debut.

Downey, 29, was a member of the US World Wrestling Team, ranked World No.10, an undefeated senior level tour of 2019, international champion Dave Schultz Memorial, US Open contender and World Trials par team, and NCAA All-American.

It has always been one of Downey’s goals to compete in MMA. It’s just a matter of when. In 2020, Downey told MMA Junkie that his MMA career will follow the delayed Olympic trials. In April 2021, Downey failed when he placed fourth in trials. Last week, Downey announced his retirement from wrestling and his pivot to MMA.

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Downey ran into legal issues during his time as an outstanding wrestling rookie, resulting from fights. Downey was arrested several times from 2009 to 2010 and lost his full scholarship to Penn State University.

His varsity wrestling career has consisted of stays at the University of Nebraska, Iowa Central Community College, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa.

“For me fighting you usually have to pay to get out of trouble,” Downey told MMA Junkie in September 2020. “Now you’re telling me I can get paid to do this?

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