#CallHimDana – Contender Series Winner Chris Curtis
It all started in June of 2009 when Chris Curtis made his professional debut against Brandon Pinkston and would lose a tight split decision. After that loss, Curtis would get on a hot streak with five straight wins including a win over Nah-Shon Burrell who at the time was only 2-0 but went on to fight for Strikeforce, ACB, Bellator, and the UFC. As Curtis pieced up a 5-1 record he would fall short to a Tom Gallicchio who was 15-6 at the time who would later go on to fight on The Ultimate Fighter season 22 and season 25 and would have a brief stint in the UFC. On June 19, 2013, Curtis would have an opportunity as he would compete on a series “Fight Master: Bellator” where he would lose to Eric Scallan who had a record of 11-4. September 13, 2014 Curtis had a record of 10-3 would take on a name in Belal Muhammad who was undefeated at 5-0 and is now a contender in the UFC’s welterweight division as he beat Curtis by decision. Fast forward to January of 2015, Curtis would for the first time be in Team Quest founded by legends Dan Henderson and Randy Couture.
Smith while is camp was set to fight for arguably the best promotion out of New England, Classic Entertainment & Sports MMA (CES) for the welterweight title. Smith fought a very good Brazilian in Gil de Freitas who was 18-5 and the current CES champion.
At 13-4 and the current CES title holder while on a three-fight win streak you would think his next fight was gonna be in the biggest promotion in the world, the UFC. Well, the UFC didn’t come calling and Curtis took another fight for CES this time, fighting Nah-Shon Burrell in a rematch from 2010 where Curtis won. The fight went all five rounds which was a title fight but Burrell missed weight by six pounds and Curtis without a doubt won every single round but somehow the judges scored it a split-decision that had everyone saying “what the fuck”.
That loss which should have never happened caused a step back for Curtis. “The Action Man” got back on the board with a win over Leo Bercier and then a CES title defense over the well-known Will Santiago where Curtis got the finish in round two.
With that win, Curtis has put his time on the regional scene and has made a record of 15-5 over some stiff competition but the call still didn’t come. Chris took another title fight going to Covington, Kentucky and fighting for the promotion Premier MMA Championship against Portland Pringle who was 10-6. Chris again would cruise to a victory getting the TKO stoppage in round four. At this point, one would figure Curtis would just sign with Bellator but to Curtis, the UFC was always the ultimate goal and every other big promotion wasn’t an option. Curtis would yet again make another big move as he went to Alberta, Canada to fight for the Fight Night Medicine Hat promotion. This was another title fight and he was going against Peter Grajcar who was an undefeated top prospect out of Canada at 5-0. Curtis beat Grajcar by unanimous decision to win the promotion’s title. With his last three fights being championship fights the only possible next opportunity had to be the UFC, right? Nope, didn’t happen. Curtis chatted with MMA Today’s Max Freedman prior to another title defense at CES 49. CES 49 happened April of 2018 when he would defend his title for the second time against Jason Norwood winning via unanimous decision. Straight after the fight, it wasn’t long after when it was announced that Curtis would be fighting fellow prospect Sean Lally for the Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Curtis put on a technical boxing display and landed a highlight reel side kick knockout.
What a knockout! "The Action Man" Chris Curtis more than lives up to his nickname, felling Sean Lally in the third with this wonderful kick! A champion in three different promotions, you have to think he gets a contract. #DWTNCS #ContenderSeries pic.twitter.com/7RtMOO5JyQ
— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) June 13, 2018
As Dana White went to the back to decide who is getting the UFC contract, many fans watching worldwide thought Curtis was a shoe-in for the UFC. In the end, Dana decided to bring in Alonzo Menifield and bring on Greg Hardy for the development contract. It’s a slap in the face to Curtis who has been fighting top regional talent and many regional titles who has done more than put his time in. It’s understandable Menifield getting signed but Greg Hardy who is just 1-0 and has many fans around the world in disgust he was even apart of the show due to his past and getting more praise over Curtis is such an embarrassment. Dana White said he wants someone to come out and give everything they got and leave it all out there. With that being said, Chris Curtis fought a technical fight showing the best skill-set of all the fighters on the card but he didn’t get the contract cause he didn’t get a quick finish. Many were baffled Curtis didn’t get a contract:
“The Action Man” would go back and forth talking about hanging his gloves up for retirement as he simply don’t wanna be a 31-year-old prospect but would go on social media to announce his retirement and would say he broke his hand in round one.
It’s hard to form a solid argument to why not to pick Curtis but amateur-level fighters like CM Punk and Mike Jackson are in the UFC. One could argue UFC brass is less concerned about the talent and more concerned with PPV buys (which isn’t doing so well). There where five competitors last season that were not awarded contracts on fight night but eventually went on to sign deals with the UFC. Even two who lost in their fight actually got signed eventually (Steven Peterson and Matt Bessette). It’s unknown whether Curtis will fight again but if the UFC was to come calling, maybe Curtis would come out of retirement. Curtis is a great fighter, a great personality, a profession to the fullest who’s never missed weight, and a family man who has put his all in this fighting game. CALL HIM DANA!