Wrestling may have been an unexpected path for Pat Downey to take in his career, but mixed martial arts was always a given. Former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler Downey (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who was dismissed from the wrestling team at Iowa State University in 2017 for repeated violations of team rules, found himself in the middle of a variety of other controversial incidents that had an impact on his career. Downey's career was derailed as a result of these events. On Friday's Bellator 284 card at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the 29-year-old fighter is scheduled to make his debut in the professional mixed martial arts division when he competes against another promotional newcomer named Keyes Nelson, who has a record of 0-3 in MMA and 0-0 in BMMA.
“It was a blessing in disguise,” Downey said. “But it’s easy to say that now in hindsight when you’re going through it. I’m like, ‘What the f*ck is happening?’ I’m losing my career, my life, my house, my insurance, my sponsors, my stipend, my ability to compete. They stacked the deck against me to make this Olympic team, which was a big goal of mine.” He continued, “I always knew I was gonna fight. It was never a matter of if I’m gonna do MMA. For me it was about when I’m gonna do MMA. I wanted to do it on my terms with my accolades, have a successful career, finish my masters degree. I had this plan. ” Downey is prepared to make the most of his current prospects, despite the fact that his plans did not turn out the way he had anticipated they would. However, he is not quite ready to give up wrestling just yet. “I can confidently say I’m back on my purpose, but there was a little weird, transitional phase there where I didn’t know if I was f*cking coming or going,” Downey said. “I didn’t know what was going on. My life was kind of up in a blender. I moved three times this past year, then my grandfather died, I crashed my car, a couple of near-death accidents back in Baltimore with some personal sh*t I’d rather not get into, but it’s been a hell of a past two years since hitting what some would call my peak. The wrestling world team, I didn’t lose for two years in this country, but that just seems to be the nature of my life. The highs and the lows, I’m on a roller coaster, it feels like.” He continued, “The drive, the hunger, the chip on the shoulder, the feeling of unfulfillment, the actual ability, the opportunity I have to supersede what I did in wrestling. … I got some things in store too for these next Olympics, 2024. Don’t be surprised if you see me representing another country in Paris.”