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May 7, 2013

For Bangor-Native, and MMA Legend, Marcus Davis, You CAN Go Home Again

[NEF Press Release]

Lewiston, Maine (May 7, 2013) – “But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter, and if this little town, and the immortal hills around it, was not the only home he had on earth? He did not know. All that he knew was that the years flow by like water, and that one day men come home again.”

Those words were penned by Thomas Wolfe some 75 years ago and published posthumously in 1940 in Wolfe's novel "You Can't Go Home Again," two years after the author's death. Three-quarters of a century having passed, the nation, and indeed the entire world, having become a much different place, yet that statement holds as true today as it did in the World War II era. The idea that one can always look to one's home for a sense of comfort and familiarity, no matter how long and how far one has strayed from that home, is a timeless sentiment immortalized in tales and song stretching to the dawn of history. Such is the case of the prodigal son. Such is the case of Marcus Davis (21-9).

On May 18 in Lewiston, Davis will step into the cage in Lewiston, Maine to face Darrius Heyliger (4-1) before more than 3,000 fans packed into the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. The welterweight battle is scheduled to headline a fight card stacked with home state competitors, the good majority of which are at the very beginnings of their careers. Mixed-Martial Arts (MMA) not having been regulated in Maine until 2011, Davis, who began competing in the sport in 2003, was not afforded the same pleasure nor the comforts of competing in his home state early on in his career. Instead, Davis, now 39 years-old, traveled to other parts of New England and as far away as Atlanta, Georgia to hone his craft before entering the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). At the pinnacle of the sport, "The Irish Hand Grenade" became one of the most recognizable stars in the game, his rivalries with names like Dan Hardy (25-10), Chris Lytle (31-18-5) and Mike Swick (15-5) delivering some of the most memorable bouts in the promotion's storied history.

While Davis got to travel the world with the UFC and other international promotions, competing in each corner of the United States and all points between, trekking to foreign locales such as Birmingham, England, the frozen landscape of Alberta, Canada, and Malmo, Sweden, Davis's finest moments may have come fighting in his home state of Maine in the past two years since the sport's legalization and regulation there. In September 2011, Davis competed for the first time ever in a cage on Maine soil. That night he defeated Travis Coyle (11-6) in Portland before a raucous crowd of over 2,000 fans, all there to witness Davis's much-anticipated homecoming. Then, just six weeks ago in Lewiston, Davis once again came home to face Waachiim Spiritwolf (7-11-1) before a crowd of 3,000 jammed into the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on a card presented by fight promotion Bellator and broadcast throughout the world on Spike TV. Unfortunately, this time the home crowd left disappointed, the bout having ended as a "no contest" just three minutes into the first round when Spiritwolf could not continue following an alleged low blow. Moments later, when the May 18 bout between Davis and Heyliger was officially announced, the sense of disappointment subsided and tickets for the next New England Fights! (NEF) card in Lewiston started to move quickly out of the box office.

" I’m always pumped when I get to fight in my homeland of Maine,” stated Davis. “The last time I was able to do so, I was absolutely floored by the support I received, heard and felt that night."

Looking to spoil Davis's latest homecoming is Darrius Heyliger, a 6'4," 24 year-old stud out of Ithaca, New York. Heyliger trains with Ryan Ciotoli's Team Bombsquad, one of the most respected (and feared) camps in the entire country. Indeed, it was the same team that produced current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon "Bones" Jones (18-1). Heyliger has competed in Maine twice before, making his auspicious debut against world-class BJJ brown-belt Jarod Lawton (2-1) in April 2012 with an impressive victory. He returned to Maine five months later, scoring a third-round TKO victory over Josh Bellows (1-2). Darrius Heyliger is the real deal, with all the tools to make it to the big show, and he knows that a win over Davis on May 18 will propel him quickly to that level.

May 18 may very well be the last opportunity Maine fans will have to see their hometown hero fight live in the state. Just two weeks ago, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney announced that Davis had signed a long-term contract with the promotion. While the exact details of the contract have not been revealed, it is understood that this new contract will likely take Davis into retirement. With what very well could be his final fight on home turf, "The Irish Hand Grenade" will no-doubt come to this fight with Heyliger all-guns-blazing, looking for one last win before his massive legion of Maine fans.

Whether or not Davis competes again in-state after May 18 remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain - each and every time Marcus Davis returns to Maine, there will be thousands of fans there to welcome the prodigal son, just as they will do in Lewiston eleven days from now. For Davis, no matter how far or how long the road traveled, and though the years may flow by like water, he can always go home again.

At the time of this writing, the fight card for May 18 in Lewiston consisted of more than thirty fights. The co-main event will see UFC veteran Henry Martinez (9-5) squaring off with Dez Green (8-1) for the Maine State Lightweight Title. In another title fight, Travis Bartlett (8-3) meets former NFL player Tyler King (6-1) for the Maine State Heavyweight Championship. Tickets start at just $25 and are on sale now at or by calling The Colisee box office at 207.783.2009 x 525. For more information on the event, visit You can watch NEF videos, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”