First-round TKO gives Davis a perfect pro record
BURLINGTON — As a professional mixed martial artist, Parnell Davis is undefeated.
The Mt. Pleasant fighter won his first-ever professional MMA fight at Memorial Auditorium in Burlington on Saturday night, defeating John Reed by technical knockout in the first round.
“I feel so blessed right now,” Davis said after the fight. “All the hard work has paid off.
“I have to thank my beautiful wife who supports me and puts up with me, and most of all, the Lord, who is my motivating factor.”
Davis said that he was more nervous on Saturday than he’s ever been before a fight, and that he has been overcoming some cold symptoms for the last few days.
“I didn’t tell anyone about that,” Davis said. “I just hoped he (Reed) didn’t hear me coughing.”
But Davis said that during the fight — which had five-minute rounds, instead of the three-minute rounds that make up amateur fights — his lungs never got tired. The only thing that got tired was his arms, from taking so many shots.
Early in the fight, the heavyweight competitors got in only a few jabs before going to the ground, and Davis quickly found himself on his back, pressed against the cage.
“He got me to the ground right next to his corner,” Davis said. “He was throwing a couple elbows and hitting me with a few little shots, but he wasn’t doing much damage. I was just trying to hold on, trying to stall, and waiting for the ref to stand us back up.”
Being on his feet was an advantage for Davis, and Reed knew it.
“After the first jab, I knew that he didn’t want to stand with me,” Davis said.
So he waited patiently for another opportunity to get back up.
The crowd wasn’t as patient, demanding with loud boos that the ref put the fighters back on their feet.
“When you’re a ground guy, you need a lot of time work,” Davis said, giving the ref credit. “There can be a lot of little things happening that the crowd can’t see. The ref has fought in the UFC and has a lot of experience — I think he stood us up at the right time.”
About three minutes passed in the first round before the fighters got back on their feet.
“I knew I had to cause as much damage as possible,” Davis said. “I managed to catch him with a couple jabs, and then we went to the ground again.”
But this time, that also worked in Davis’ favor — and made him appreciate a practice drill that he usually hates.
“We do this four-station conditioning drill, and one station is ‘ground and pound,’” Davis said. “It’s an extremely exhausting drill, and I don’t like when (trainer) Gabe (Lemley) tells us we’re going to do it.”
But on Saturday night, Davis was glad for all the time he had put into that drill.
“I saw the position open up in the fight, and it was second nature to me,” Davis said. “I grabbed his hand, trapped his arm and just unloaded on him, so to speak. My arms were tired, but ... I heard the ref telling him to fight back, and I could tell his will was breaking.”
It was just over four minutes into the first round when the ref pulled Davis off Reed, ending the fight and leaving Davis with a 1-0 record as a professional.
“God gets all the glory — I couldn’t do this without him,” Davis said. “I also have a lot of community support — people would stop me at WalMart or just while I was walking around town and wish me good luck and blessings.”
Davis is now looking forward to a little break from fighting. His break got off to a good start, as he was spending Monday with his son, Jeremiah.
“I’m just relaxing and hanging with my boy,” Davis said.
And there’s one other person he is looking forward to spending more time with: his wife, Norma.
“I’m going to take a month off and pamper my wife a bit,” Davis said. “She’s sacrificed a lot, and so I’m going to take a little time off from Gabe’s. I’ll still focus on eating right and working out at the REC Center — I want to be as in-shape as possible.”
He’s not sure yet when his next fight will be, but he’s aiming for the end of April, so he will still have eight weeks to MMA train before he gets back in the cage.
“That’s my plan,” Davis said. “God might have something different in mind.”
For now, Davis is content to enjoy his time with family and his spotless professional record.