The Other Side of Mike Perry

Photo: Sporting News


The vast majority of the MMA fan base views Mike Perry as an unhinged lunatic, the erratic behavior outside the cage, and on social media and his overall aggressive nature is a big part of why he is viewed this way. He is a character, to put it mildly.

It’s not just the behavior, but the stories of him that has created the overall perception. The wild man persona perfectly aligns with his fighting style, and it’s a big reason why he resonates with the fan base so much. But in MMA, from time to time, fighters find themselves in situations and as a result, another side of them is revealed to the world unintentionally, for good or for ill. Such was the case with Perry after scoring a dominant win over Mickey Gall on Saturday at UFC Vegas 4. What was revealed was something that nobody saw coming, as it turns out, Perry is a lot more sensible than he would have us believe.

Crazy stories of smashing his face off a gym wall in anger, getting in a dust-up with a couple of bouncers in a night club, street fights, having just his girlfriend and no coaches in his corner, and saying outrageous things during interviews and press conferences are par for the course for Perry. But after turning out a stellar performance against Mickey Gall that saw him look as strong and as composed as he has ever been, a different Platinum Mike Perry showed up to the post-fight presser.

The Perry that showed up to the press conference was calm, introspective, thoughtful, and honest. He voiced his frustrations with coaches of his in the past who he felt like were not doing a good job. He explained how he believes a lot of coaches out there are acting purely out of their self-interests of wanting to be the person to tell the fighter to do something that will bring them success. He was critical of the coaches taking credit that wasn’t theirs, and giving bad advice in the meantime.

He even shared his inner dialog of what runs through his head when he is on the stool in between rounds and has a coach in his face giving him instructions. He talked about found himself sitting there not even being able to think straight, and questioning whether or not if he should even be listing to what the coach his telling him. He was forthcoming about his distrust of coaches, he not only provided a sobering experience for the fanbase and media but quite possibly started a whole new topic that’s never really been discussed in MMA that often.

He also opened my eyes in a major way when it comes to different ways to the approach a fight. Perry’s last outing and subsequent commentary on the subject blew my mind If I’m being perfectly honest. It seems like an absurd concept on the surface, but we’ve been doing the same thing for such a long time right now, it never once occurred to me that perhaps the time in between rounds could be used differently. Is having a coach three inches from your face shouting instructions the most beneficial approach in that moment? Or does a minute of quiet time produce better results? Is it possible that sitting in silence in an attempt to calm yourself down but be in the moment a more beneficial tactic in that situation ? Does the barrage of orders hinder one’s performance as opposed to helping it? It’s certainly something to consider.

No matter what the case is, you get the feeling that Perry was not only looking to get his thoughts and opinions on coaches off of his chest, but to also send a message to potential suitors. He did announce that he was looking for a team and new coaches, and it’s clear making a choice is not something he is taking lightly. The Mike Perry at the post-fight press conference showed us he is a lot more calculated, thoughtful, and analytical than he lets on. His honestly about his experience with his distrust with coaching, and having the guts to essentially go into a fight without a team and prove he can be successful purely on his own terms speaks volumes about Perry’s character.

He may partly be the unhinged lunatic that many would consider him, but he is equal parts a cerebral fighter who takes his career very seriously  and an individual that has learned a hell of a lot over the years as he continues to grow inside and outside the cage. All of these attributes his possess’s has great value,  Mike Perry will make a great coach someday.

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