Losing to Kalib Starnes just over a minute into the first round of the main event of the Barefoot Beach Battle was not what Clay Davidson had in mind.
Starnes and Davidson were the feature fight of the Five Star Fight League, which held Canada’s first professional outdoor event in Penticton.
“It was disappointing. We’re very competitive so I went in there with intentions to win,” said Davidson. “Just wasn’t my fight. He was the better man that night.”
As Davidson said, the beginning of the end for him happened when Starnes, who entered the weekend winning his last two Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts, delivered a hard body blow.
“He kicked me so hard in the liver and it killed me,” said Davidson with a laugh. “Once he hit me, my body just stopped responding.”
Davidson tried to fight through the agonizing pain. He started well but it lasted only so long. Davidson, who before the fight said he had to be cautious of Starnes’ boxing ability, was concerned with his right hand. Starnes surprised him with a kick.
“In hindsight I would have blocked it or done something differently,” he said Monday. “I left it all out there. I fought as hard as I could.”
Davidson said he was offered easier opponents, but he didn’t want to take that route.
“I wanted to fight Kalib,” said Davidson, who added that he already has offers for more fights. “I wanted to challenge myself. I’d fight him again. He didn’t scare me out there. He destroyed me pretty quick. I have confidence in my abilities.”
Davidson enjoyed the atmosphere that was sparked by the crowd at the resort and felt like he had the whole crowd behind him.
Other fights on the pro card had Matt Baker defeating Darrio Mobley using a guillotine choke two minutes and nine seconds into the first round. Ryan Chiappe knocked out Aaron Shymyr with a punch 2:06 into the first round, while Duncan Wilson submitted Jason Gorny using a rear naked choke 4:05 into the opening round.
Jeff Porter earned a unanimous decision against Ryan Ballingall and Morgan Littlechild submitted Blake Shearing using a rear naked choke at 3:14 of the first round.
On the amateur card, Paul Alec Jr. defeated Penticton’s Mitch Burke by TKO with punches at 1:10 of the second round. Josh Heinz used a spinning back fist to knock out Ty Endonoste 46 seconds into the second round and Doug Westbrook defeated Penticton’s Jesse Sayers by unanimous decision.
Justin Donally, president of Five Star Athletics Inc., which organized the event, said it went great and the fights were excellent.
“People were having a great time,” said Donally, who didn’t have exact attendance figures, but believed it to be around 1,000.
Donally said Davidson had a tough opponent in Starnes.
“Tough break for Clay,” said Donally, who hung out with him the next day. “It was a tough fight. Kalib will probably be back in Ultimate Fighting Championship.”
The MMA event will return to Penticton as Donally said he has already booked the event with Max Picton’s Barefoot Beach resort for next August.
The plan is to make it bigger and better, and going all day with a band and DJ.