It will be a span of more than 17 months out of the cage when Chico Bays (6-3) finally steps back into mixed martial arts action this Saturday at Caged Madness 27. That bout at UVC 20 was ruled a no contest against Travis Soto after an unintentional illegal knee, so it will be nearly two years since Bays’ last “official” bout, a first round TKO over Tim McCavit.
The time out of the cage has proved to be hectic for Bays, who is now a new father with a 6-month-old. The 31-year-old made the transition to Ronin Training Center after the closing of former MMA powerhouse Buckeye MMA, where he said his grappling has blossomed under world No. 3 ranked Vitor Oliviera.
Bays is set to face veteran Donnie Cameron (9-5-1), who comes in off of a layoff of nearly a year himself. Despite all of the setbacks, “The Ninja Assassin” says he’s ready for action.
“Im very excited but that excitement is overshadowed by focus!,” Bays said. “In any contact sport you go through injuries and unfortunately it was my turn.”
Bays has always been a fan favorite stemming from his early career, and his exciting fighting style may have something to do with it. With a background in taekwando and boxing, he brings a unique striking style to MMA. Half of his wins have come via knockout, but he has also never been a stranger to submissions.
The change in gyms has been different for Bays, who even recently competed in his first grappling tournament, which he won.
“Buckeye MMA was by far the best ammy gym but Ronin is by far a one stop shop for pros and ammys,” Bays said. “Plus [former Buckeye MMA owner and head coach] Josh Williams is now helping a day or two at Ronin. aAfter this fight I plan on going pro.”
Caged Madness 27 takes place this Saturday at the Tadmor Shrine in Akron, Ohio.
The full lineup:
Jerrell Hodge vs Ethan Goss – for featherweight title
Darnell Pettis vs Colt Gross – for interim bantamweight title
Chico Bays vs Donnie Cameron
Bhrandon Poindexter vs Josh Faison
Bryan Howe vs Pete Hernandez
Steve Stocker vs Joshua Barbee
Sean Holder vs Chris Brooks
Desmond Ford vs Kyle Kissel
Marvin Rolles vs Delby Alford
Matt Matlock vs Tyler Schlairet
Samuel Gross vs Aaron Felton
Brandon Jackman vs John Kelleher
Ronnie Wilson vs Darell Alford
George Murphy vs Joshua Strosnider
Chris Wood vs Ray Hollis
Steve Paugh vs Justin Clevenger