Don’t sleep on @TallSteveMMA
Steve Mowry returns to the @BellatorMMA cage this Friday and puts his unbeaten record on the line.
A record of (7-0) with a 100% finish rate. #Bellator242 pic.twitter.com/YX3cuO74vp — Overtime Heroics MMA (@mma_oth) July 20, 2020
Steve Mowry’s athletic career had an inauspicious beginning, to say the least.
“My dad put me in wrestling when I was five. A coach yelled at me and I ran home crying,” Mowry told Sherdog.com. “I didn’t want to do it again.”
A few years later, Mowry was already “the tall guy” in his fourth grade class, and that drew the attention of his high school’s basketball coach, who urged him to take his talents to the hardwood in hopes of earning a college scholarship. Back then, Mowry’s interest in hoops didn’t extend much beyond the movie “Space Jam,” and perhaps more importantly, “I didn’t even know what a scholarship was,” he admits.
By the time Mowry was a high school junior, mixed martial arts caught his eye, and further research dictated that there was one clear path to a career inside the cage.
“I read about fighting, and I read about how most successful fighters tended to be wrestlers,” he said. “Wrestling itself didn’t stand out to me at the time any more than any of the other disciplines, but it was one of the most successful. I grew up in Pennsylvania, where the wrestling’s really strong; it has a deep culture there. It just seemed like a good place to jump in at.”
Fast forward to the present day, and the 6-foot-8 Mowry is an intriguing prospect in Bellator MMA’s heavyweight division. The 28-year-old Pittsburgh native will put his 7-0 record on the line against Rudy Schaffroth at Bellator 242 on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Mowry vs. Schaffroth is part of the evening’s preliminary card, which streams on the promotion’s YouTube channel beginning at 8:45 p.m. ET/5:45 p.m. PT.
Bellator 242 marks the California-based organization’s first event since the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to put its schedule on hold in mid-March. For Mowry, his return has been delayed even longer, as he was initially slated to meet Schaffroth at Bellator 239 before he was forced to withdraw due to a skin infection.
“Obviously it’s cool and I’m honored to be one of the first people they called, but at the end of the day it’s just another fight for me,” Mowry said. “Of all the entire roster, they’re probably kicking at the door for a fight. I’m glad I was one of the first people they had on the docket.”
Thus far, Mowry has finished all seven of his opponents inside of two rounds — including five via submission. He would like the opportunity to showcase his striking more, but when a chance for victory presents itself, it’s usually best to take it.
“I work really hard on my striking,” he said. “It’s not something that I’ve showcased very much until now. It is something in the gym that I pride myself on, being somebody who’s pretty skilled in all facets of the game, not just the wrestling and the grappling.
“I’m looking forward to showcasing that whenever the opportunity presents itself. It’s just five out of seven times I’ve fought as a professional it just so happened to be that grappling was the way to go to get the victory.”
Mowry believes Schaffroth will be his toughest test in four Bellator MMA appearances thus far. The Team Quest representative is coming off the first defeat of his pro career, a second-round submission loss to Tyrell Fortune last August.
“Rudy’s tough. He’s strong, he’s dangerous and he comes to fight every time,” Mowry said. “I think I’m gonna be able to handle it, and I’m gonna do really well on Friday. I’m looking forward to it as a challenge.”
Further down the road, Mowry would like to compete in the Far East. Bellator held an event in Japan this past December and has done some cross-promotional work with Rizin Fighting Federation in recent months, but it’s currently unknown when a return might be possible.
Regardless, the future looks bright for a towering heavyweight with still-unblemished record.
“I’d like to do something really violent and really special on Friday. We’ll see what happens from there,” Mowry said. “I’ve got to say at some point in the future I’d like to fight in Japan. Hopefully the world has properly dealt with the pandemic by then and we can go put on another show in Japan. Scott [Coker] and Rich [Chou] and I can have another conversation about fighting there.”