Joseph Francis Schilling (born January 13, 1984) is an American professional Muay Thai kickboxer and mixed martial artist who most recently competed for Bellator Kickboxing in the Middleweight division, and in the Middleweight division for Bellator MMA. Known for his use of elbows to cut opponents and nicknamed "Stitch 'em Up", Schilling began fighting professionally in 2006 and was a two-time national titlist before defeating Kaoklai Kaennorsing to become the WBC Muaythai Interim World Light Heavyweight Champion in 2011. His profile further increased the following year when he engaged in a controversial rivalry with Simon Marcus. As of 1 November 2018, he is ranked the #7 middleweight kickboxer in the world by Combat Press.


Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Schilling was raised by a single mother alongside two other siblings. A troublesome child, Schilling was expelled from four different schools and took up Muay Thai at 15 years old, hoping that it would give him direction and focus. After being kicked out of the family home at 17, he worked odd jobs and began his fighting career in local Toughman Contests while living in a small property that his grandmother owned with his brother Kevin. After his grandmother died, Schilling moved to Los Angeles, California where he found work as a personal trainer at a YMCA. He met his future trainer and business partner Mark Komuro while training at the LA Boxing Club, in downtown Los Angeles. When that gym shut down, the pair moved to a spartan gym situated in a dilapidated structure that had formerly housed the Lincoln Heights city jail, with Schilling being announced at fights as fighting out of "The Jail." In keeping with that theme, when Schilling and Komuro decided to open their own gym, they were inspired to name it after the exercise area in prison, and in 2007 they opened The Yard, a Muay Thai gym located in Lincoln Heights.


Early career (2006–2009)

After a short and unremarkable amateur career, Schilling turned professional on September 30, 2006, taking on Lawson Baker in an 84 kg/185 lb bout on ten days' notice in Inglewood, California. He recalls striking his opponent with all his might, only to watch him continue to advance unfazed. After being dropped multiple times and nearly throwing in the towel, Schilling finally found the one weapon that worked, elbows. 47 landed elbows later, he won his first professional Muay Thai fight by way of split decision. Having amassed an undefeated record over the course of the next year, Schilling was given the opportunity to fight for the vacant International Karate Kickboxing Council (IKKC) United States Super Middleweight (-75 kg/165 lb) Muay Thai Championship against Russian import Denis Grachev in Highland, California on November 29, 2007. Grachev defeated Schilling with a 47-second knockout in the first round after Grachev delivered a spinning heel kick to the body, as Schilling was unable to beat the referee's ten count. Throughout 2008, he turned his focus towards mixed martial arts and amassed a 1-3 record in the sport with all of his bouts ending in a submission. Schilling also debuted as a professional boxer on December 20, 2008 and knocked out his opponent Orlando Brizzio in just five seconds, the fastest KO in American combat sports history. He made his return to Muay Thai in early 2009 and took wins over Chidi Njokuani and Chris Spång before experiencing a devastating loss to Wang Hong Xiang on August 30, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fighting under Sanshou rules for the first time, Schilling was repeatedly thrown and taken down throughout the bout and injured both of his knees. He was counted out by the referee in round two when he could not continue after a leg sweep. He required surgery on his knees after the fight which resulted in a year-long layoff.

United States Champion (2010–2011)

Schilling made his return to the ring on September 26, 2010 in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles where he faced Ryan Roy in a bout for the Muay Thai Association of America (MTAA) United States Super Middleweight (-75 kg/165 lb) Championship. After dominating Roy in the first round utilizing his height advantage with knees from the Thai clinch, Schilling forced the referee to stop the contest in the second when he barraged his opponent with a series of unanswered elbows. Less than a month later, he made his international debut as he defeated Argentine opponent Luciano Vazquez via fourth round technical knockout at the historic Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand on October 24, 2010. On December 5, 2010 in Los Angeles, he beat Chaz Mulkey by third-round TKO in a WBC Muay Thai United States Super Middleweight (-76.204 kg/168 lb) title eliminator. He knocked Mulkey down four times throughout the bout, causing a referee stoppage. Schilling was then scheduled to face Ky Hollenbeck for the WBC National Super Middleweight Championship on March 5, 2011 in Los Angeles but Hollenbeck withdrew from the bout to fight for a world title and was replaced by Chase Green, and so the interim belt was then put on the line instead. After forcing a standing eight count on Green with a combination of a ''thip'' to the face and punches early in round one, he pounced on his hurt opponent and finished the fight with a flurry of strikes at the 2:13 mark of the opening stanza. Schilling was expected to fight at the Stand Up Promotions' ''World Class Championship Muay Thai'' event in Anaheim, California on August 13, 2011 but he dropped out to fight Brandon Banda for the vacant WBC United States Light Heavyweight (-79.379 kg/175 lb) Championship at ''Lion Fight: Battle in the Desert 3'' in Primm, Nevada a week later. The bout was the pair's rubber match as they had gone 1-1 as amateurs, and Schilling took the lead in their rivalry as he knocked his foe unconscious with a knee strike inside the opening round to claim his second national title.

Entry onto the world stage (2011–2012)

Having established himself as an elite fighter domestically, Joe Schilling was matched up with two-time Rajadamnern Stadium Champion and K-1 star Kaoklai Kaennorsing in a WBC Interim World Light Heavyweight Championship bout at the ''M-One: Thailand vs. America'' event held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on October 21, 2011. The fight was one-sided in favour of Schilling, as he floored the Thai in the opening seconds and again immediately after he beat the referee's eight count. After a period of clinching, he knocked Kaoklai down for the third time with a right hook towards the end of the round, ending the fight. In January 2012, Schilling and former foe Chaz Mulkey were brought in as sparring partners for MMA star Nick Diaz ahead of his Interim UFC Welterweight Championship match with Carlos Condit at ''UFC 143''. Joe Schilling and Canada's Simon Marcus went head to head in a bout to determine North America's top Light Heavyweight at ''Lion Fight: Battle in the Desert 5'' in Las Vegas on February 25, 2012. Both men agreed to a "winner takes all" scenario, meaning that whoever came out victorious would take 100% of the fight purse, and the fight ended as controversially as it began. In round one, Marcus tripped Schilling, sending his head slamming into the canvas. As Schilling returned to his feet, clearly hurt from the throw, Marcus stormed in and knocked him down with a left hook. He was able to beat the count but Marcus went on the attack again and knocked Schilling out with a right elbow soon after. After the fight, Schilling's camp made the accusation that the sweep that Marcus used to daze him initially was illegal and appealed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission to have the bout result overturned to a no contest, which was rejected. Due to the controversy surrounding the ending of their first fight, Schilling and Simon Marcus rematched at ''Lion Fight 6'' in Las Vegas on May 12, 2012 in a bout to determine the number one contender for Artem Levin's WBC World Light Heavyweight Championship. It was close this time, with both men exchanging menacing shots. Marcus' knees and throws from the clinch would be the deciding factor, however, as he was awarded the majority decision (47-47, 48-47, 49-46). Despite losing in the number one contender's match, Schilling was to be given a shot at Artem Levin and his WBC World Light Heavyweight Championship at the ''Battle for the Belts'' event in Bangkok, Thailand on June 9, 2012 after Simon Marcus pulled out. However, Levin himself then withdrew due to knee surgery and, while Artem Vakhitov was originally tabbed as his replacement, Karapet Karapetyan eventually stepped in as the final opponent and Schilling's interim title was put on the line. Having dominated every round but the third, Schilling won on the judges' scorecards to make the first defence of his interim belt. In the main event of ''Lion Fight 7'' in Las Vegas on October 13, 2012, he met Eddie Walker in an 82 kg/180 lb bout. Schilling attacked Walker's lead leg from the start and scored knockdowns with elbows in rounds one and two. As Schilling got more aggressive towards the end of round two and began to look for the finish, Walker let his hands go and connected with a short right cross which sent Schilling crashing to the canvas in a state of unconsciousness. He was slated to fight Edwin Aguilar at ''Lion Fight 9'' in Las Vegas on March 15, 2013 but was denied a license due to medical concerns by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. It was also reported that he would face Steven Wakeling under Oriental kickboxing rules at ''GLORY 5: London'' in London, England on March 23, 2013 but he was replaced by his old foe Simon Marcus in that bout after rejecting the contract from GLORY. He was set to make his return against Charles Byrd at ''Lion Fight 10'' in Las Vegas on July 26, 2013. However, he was removed from the card and the Lion Fight roster when he refused to sign an exclusive contract with the promotion.

GLORY (2013–2016)

Schilling finally made his GLORY debut when he competed in and won the four-man 85 kg/187 lb tournament at ''GLORY 10: Los Angeles - Middleweight World Championship Tournament'' in Ontario, California on September 28, 2013. He was scheduled to fight Steve Wakeling in the semi-finals but the Englishman was unable to compete due to visa issues and was replaced by Kengo Shimizu. Schilling took a dominant unanimous decision over Shimizu before meeting Artem Levin in the final. Levin had a strong first round but Schilling bounced back to floor the Russian with a right overhand followed by a knee in the second. The bout was ruled a draw after the regulation three rounds and so it went to an extension round to decide the winner in which Schilling scored a controversial knockdown and secured himself the unanimous decision. He fought up-and-comer Wayne Barrett in the main event of ''GLORY 12: New York - Lightweight World Championship Tournament'' in New York City, New York on November 23, 2013, losing a unanimous decision. Barrett dropped Schilling twice in round two but Schilling rallied back to score a knockdown of his own with a knee in the third. It was too little, too late, however, as he lost the fight on points. It was announced during the ''GLORY 15: Istanbul'' broadcast that Schilling would be one of eight fighters competing in the ''GLORY 17: Los Angeles - Last Man Standing'' Middleweight Tournament in Inglewood on June 21, 2014. It was later revealed that Schilling would face Simon Marcus for the third time in the quarter-finals. He drew Simon Marcus for the third time in the quarter-finals and was floored with a flurry of punches by his Canadian rival in round two. He outworked Marcus in rounds one and three, however, and the judges scored the match a unanimous draw to send it into an extension round to decide the winner. Marcus was docked a point by referee "Big" John McCarthy for dropping his gumshield numerous times and, now forced to go for the knockout, was caught by a counter right cross from Schilling in the last twenty seconds of the fight which left him unconscious on the mat. Rematching Wayne Barrett in the semis, Schilling got revenge on another of his rivals as he took a split decision victory to book his place in the final against the man he faced in the tournament final a year earlier, Artem Levin. Levin scored a first-round knockdown over Schilling with a spinning backfist and was later docked a point by referee Al Wichgers for extensive clinching in round three. It was not enough for Schilling, however, as he lost a clear-cut unanimous decision. Schilling returned to the GLORY ring to face Robert Thomas on February 6, 2015 at GLORY 19: Virginia. He won the fight by unanimous decision.

Bellator MMA

On October 3, 2014 it was announced that Schilling had signed with Bellator MMA. He made his debut against fellow kickboxer Melvin Manhoef on November 15, 2014 at Bellator 131. Schilling won the back-and-forth fight via knockout in the second round. In his second fight for the promotion, Schilling faced Rafael Carvalho on April 10, 2015 at Bellator 136. He lost the back and forth fight via split decision. In his third fight for the promotion, Schilling faced promotional newcomer Hisaki Kato at Bellator 139 on June 26, 2015. Schilling lost the fight via knockout in the second round. This marked the first time Schilling has been knocked out in a mixed martial arts match. Schilling made his return to Bellator on November 30, 2018 at Bellator 210 facing Will Morris He won the fight via technical knockout due to corner stoppage. Schilling faced Keith Berry at Bellator 219 on March 29, 2019. He won the fight via unanimous decision. Schilling faced Tony Johnson at Bellator 229 on October 4, 2019. He lost the fight via knockout in the third round. Schilling was scheduled to face Curtis Millender at Bellator 249 on October 15, 2020. However, the bout was scrapped as Schilling's license was denied by the athletic commission. Bellator MMA announced on October 27, 2020, that Schilling had been released from the promotion.

Bellator Kickboxing

On June 24, 2016, Schilling made his debut for Bellator Kickboxing facing Hisaki Kato in a rematch at Bellator Kicking 2. He lost the fight via knockout due to a spinning back fist in the second round.

Championships and awards


*GLORY **2013 GLORY Middleweight (-85 kg/187.4 lb) World Championship Tournament Champion **2014 GLORY Middleweight (-85 kg/187.4 lb) Last Man Standing Tournament Runner-up *Muay Thai Association of America **MTAA United States Super Middleweight (-75 kg/165 lb) Championship *World Boxing Council Muaythai **WBC Muaythai World Super Middleweight (-76.204 kg/168 lb) Championship **WBC Muaythai United States Light Heavyweight (-79.379 kg/175 lb) Championship **WBC Muaythai Interim World Light Heavyweight (-79.379 kg/175 lb) Championship

Mixed Martial Arts

Combat Press
'' **2014 Knockout of the Year

Boxing record

Kickboxing record

Mixed martial arts record

|- | Loss | align=center| 4–6 | Tony Johnson | KO (punch) | Bellator 229 | | align=center| 3 | align=center| 2:07 | Temecula, California, United States | |- | Win | align=center| 4–5 | Keith Berry | Decision (unanimous) | Bellator 219 | | align=center| 3 | align=center| 5:00 | Temecula, California, United States | |- | Win | align=center| 3–5 | Will Morris | TKO (corner stoppage) | Bellator 210 | | align=center| 1 | align=center| 5:00 | Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States | |- | Loss | align=center| 2–5 | Hisaki Kato | KO (Superman punch) | Bellator 139 | | align=center| 2 | align=center| 0:34 | Mulvane, Kansas, United States | |- | Loss | align=center| 2–4 | Rafael Carvalho | Decision (split) | Bellator 136 | | align=center| 3 | align=center| 5:00 | Irvine, California, United States | |- | Win | align=center| 2–3 | Melvin Manhoef | KO (punch) | Bellator 131 | | align=center| 2 | align=center| 0:32 | San Diego, California, United States | |- | Loss | align=center| 1–3 | Damion Douglas | Submission (rear-naked choke) | ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series | | align=center| 1 | align=center| 0:46 | Santa Ynez, California, United States | |- | Loss | align=center| 1–2 | Tony Ferguson | Submission (Von Flue choke) | TFA 12 | | align=center| 2 | align=center| 2:12 | Long Beach, California, United States | |- | Win | align=center| 1–1 | Maurice Doucette | Submission (triangle choke) | CXF: Uprising in Upland | | align=center| 1 | align=center| 1:38 | Upland, California, United States | |- | Loss | align=center| 0–1 | Matt Makowski | Submission (rear-naked choke) | ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series | | align=center| 1 | align=center| 4:01 | Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States |

See also

* List of male kickboxers


External links

Official Lion Fight profile

Can't Stop Crazy profile
* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Schilling, Joe Category:1984 births Category:Living people Category:Boxers from Ohio Category:Boxers from Los Angeles Category:Super-middleweight boxers Category:American male kickboxers Category:Kickboxers from Ohio Category:Kickboxers from California Category:Middleweight kickboxers Category:Light heavyweight kickboxers Category:American male mixed martial artists Category:Mixed martial artists from Ohio Category:Mixed martial artists from California Category:Welterweight mixed martial artists Category:American Muay Thai practitioners Category:American practitioners of Brazilian jiu-jitsu Category:Sportspeople from Dayton, Ohio Category:Sportspeople from Los Angeles Category:American male boxers Category:Glory kickboxers