UFC’s Mike Davis explains how ‘Halo’ video game helped overcome childhood bullying: ‘That saved my life’

LAS VEGAS – Long before Mike Davis began making a name for himself in the UFC’s lightweight division, he was a kid from New York struggling with thoughts of self-harm as a result of bullying.

Today, Davis (11-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is an incredible mixed martial artist, who just recorded his fourth-consecutive victory at UFC Fight Night 239 by stopping Natan Levy in the second round with an arm triangle choke.

It was the first time anyone finished Levy (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC). Next, Davis aims to make two more appearances in 2024 and doesn’t really have a preference for an opponent.

In the meantime, Davis plans to return home and get back to streaming video games. He takes pride in this activity, as he loves communicating with people who join his streams. More importantly, it is an evolution of an outlet that he says saved his life.

“I like The Last of Us, but the game that saved my life was ‘Halo,'” Davis told reporters when asked about his favorite video game at a post-fight news conference.

Naturally, the second half of that sentence prompted follow-up questions, as it was a heavy way to finish the response. Davis proceeded to recall how he was bullied as a child, which led to self-harm.

“When I grew up as a kid – I’m from upstate New York. As you can probably guess, there’s not a lot of Black people, so I got picked on a lot,” Davis explained. “I was also really small, like a tiny child. So, I got stuffed in lockers, called names, got picked up and put in the basketball – bro, I got picked on.

“A lot of the times, I would find myself in the bathroom trying to inflict pain on myself. I would take a rubber band with toothpicks and shoot them into my leg. That could cause me pain. I didn’t have friends. I didn’t, I really didn’t.”

Luckily, Davis found his escape from bullying and negative thoughts through video games, specifically “Halo.” The first-person sci-fi shooter is one of the highest-grossing gaming franchises of all time, and is one that helped a now-talented UFC lightweight find a purpose to keep living.

“What saved my life was after school, I would go home, I would turn on the Xbox that I was gifted from my Mom – it was amazing. She worked hard to get it, and I got ‘Halo,'” Davis said. “I met friends. I met friends in the area, I met friends across the globe. Every day, the only thing that made me want to keep going was to jump on Halo and play with my friends.”

Years after the bullying ceased, Davis has transformed into a high-level UFC athlete, currently riding high on a four-fight winning streak in one of the sport’s toughest divisions. However, some of those bullies have tried to keep in touch with Davis, offering remorse for their actions.

“There’s all the apologies,” Davis said. “‘Hey Mike, sorry for picking on you back in the day. You know I was only trying to help you grow into a better man.’ Bro, it’s been dumb. It’s dumb stuff.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie