Originally from High Ridge, MO, Michael grew up in a fairly typical blue-collar, hard-working, middle-America household. Michael is the son of a union carpenter and a secretary. The value of hard work was instilled early on by Michael’s parents and he attributes a lot of his blue-collar work ethic to the example they provided.
Michael currently resides in Nashville, TN where he and his wife Brie live life on-the-go as they juggle both of their careers, parenthood and running their gym TRAINING CAMP – Nashville. Michael and Brie adopted their son Hap October 26th, 2017.
Passing on scholarship offers to smaller schools, Michael took a leap of faith and walked onto the University of Missouri wrestling team in 2004 after high school graduation. He knew “betting on himself” was a gamble and that it’s no easy task to compete at the highest level of college wrestling, but that didn’t stop him. Today Michael looks back at his time at MIZZOU as another chapter in the continual defining seasons of is life. He was the most unaccomplished young man on the team, but through determination and putting in more work than was expected of him, he was able to amass a 100-30 record, All-American honors and become a leader on the team.
A list of his accomplishments at the University of Missouri include:
Four-time NCAA qualifier
Division I All-American
Two-time runner-up at BIG XII Championships
100 career wins
Two year team captain
In 2009, three months after graduation, Michael competed in his first MMA fight, won by first round TKO and hasn’t looked back since. Winning multiple world titles has kept Michael a perennial top 10 lightweight in the world rankings. He has been involved in some of the most action packed fights in Mixed Martial Arts history being nominated for “Fight Of The Year” three different times.
2011, 2013 and 2016 Fight Of The Year nominations Most wins in Bellator history Most submission wins in Bellator lightweight history Most knockout wins in bellator lightweight history 3 Time Bellator Lightweight champion Ranked top 10 in the world