Sometimes the product of longstanding tension and other times the result of a brief exchange of words, there are few things in sports as consistently tantalizing as a good grudge match. In combat sports, where the stakes are already high enough to make most competitors in other forms of competition queasy, it elevates the stakes even more so. After all, the feuding pair will eventually have to exchange punches to settle their differences. Further acrimony just sweetens the pot.
For Florida MMA prospects Preston Parsons (2-0) and “Platinum” Mike Perry (2-0), there is no tenured rivalry to fuel their animosity. In truth, it merely took a few barbs from Perry on social media to gain the attention of his opponent, who he faces in the main event of House of Fame 3: Riverside Beatdown taking place this Friday, July 10, at The Landing in Jacksonville, FL.
According to Parsons’ coach, Ludus Martial Arts & Personal Training owner Billy Mitchell, their interaction was brief.
“Preston pretty much said, ‘If you’re so confident, put your money where your mouth is: my purse versus your purse, winner-take-all,’” said Mitchell.
To his credit, Perry agreed and the stipulation was written into their fight contract. Whoever loses the fight won’t take home a cent.
Parsons, 19, rode an 86-5 jiu-jitsu record and a 6-0 undefeated amateur career—in which he won four fights by stoppage (three submissions, one TKO) and captured two amateur lightweight belts (Rival Fight League and Combat Night)—directly into House of Fame (HOF). His debut bout at HOF: A New Dawn (a 54-second stoppage of Marc Graham) earned him “Submission of the Year” at the 2014 Florida MMA Awards. He followed that performance up this last March in Miami by choking out Jose Cortes at HOF: Nations Collide – USA vs. Cuba.
Perry spent more than four years on the amateur circuit, going 15-4 while securing two amateur titles (Breakthrough MMA and Cage Domination). Like Parsons, he hasn’t allowed either of his opponents to escape the first round since turning pro in September 2014. However, he is a new acquisition by the Florida-based promotion, who have extended Parsons’ contract to one more fight after this Friday’s to grant him a shot at their inaugural lightweight title in a follow-up show at The Landing in October.
“My coach always tries to find me tough opponents and Perry is definitely a tough guy,” Parsons said. “We got what we asked for. [My team and I are preparing] like it’s an MMA fight. We’re working to beat him on the feet, on the ground and in between. We have little game plans—we don’t have a set strategy going into this fight—and I feel comfortable with him wherever the fight goes.”
Provided he defeats Perry and secures the HOF strap in October, Parsons may find himself at a career crossroads. Other organizations that currently have greater reach in terms of audience (and, consequently, exposure) may come knocking. Although he was quick to profess his gratitude and loyalty to Tsitos’ breakout organization, he acknowledged that there may come a day where he must part ways with them if he’s to fully achieve all he wants to in the sport.
“I definitely see myself helping HOF out as much as I can,” he said. “I love the organization. But I’m still young. I’m only 19. Just two years ago, I had no fights. I’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. [Coach Mitchell] has done a lot for me and I’m going to see where he takes me, what he says is next for me. Obviously, I’m shooting big. My goal—my dream—is to be the best, the UFC champ. Maybe that happens in a few years, maybe it takes a little longer than that, but that’s eventually where I see myself.”
Preston Parsons faces “Platinum” Mike Perry in the main event of House of Fame 3: Riverside Beatdown a The Landing in Jacksonville, FL on July 10, 2015 at a 160 lb. catchweight. Doors open at 7 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit HOFMMA.com.
(Slider image property of House of Fame MMA and Emmitt Wakefield photography.)
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