Karo Parisyan will be looking for a second straight win when he meets John Gunderson on Saturday at ShoFight.
Ahead of the matchup, Parisyan joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show to reflect on his career, his struggles and his hopes for the future.
On his March 31 win over Thomas Denny: “There’s a reason why I won my last fight and I showed a way better, improved Karo than the last three years. That’s because my act’s right. I’m training. I’m putting time into the gym. I’m trying to stay focused mentally and physically. If you do that, God helps them who help themselves. If you put the time and the effort into it, you will get what you want. You will get what you deserve. I’ve done it.”
On his innovative use of judo in MMA: “I’m telling you, you guys have seen the tip of the iceberg. I have a whole other arsenal of judo techniques that I can throw at people. … I’ve dug myself a really deep hole and I’m trying to crawl out of it right now. Once I do, you’ll see that crazy stuff coming up again. … I’m working actually on new ways to get those hips under guys and dump them. I’m working on new maneuvers, new angles, new techniques. People haven’t seen anything yet.”
On the hamstring injury that cost him a shot against Matt Hughes: “I lost the biggest chance of my life. I was on billboards. This was my chance. I had guys like Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson and everybody was saying, ‘I put my money on Karo Parisyan,’ because I don’t mentally break. I was in very good shape. Physically I was very strong. People thought I wasn’t strong and Matt was going to overpower me, but I guarantee you it wasn’t going to happen.
“I told myself and everybody else that I’ll throw Matt Hughes and I will be on top of Matt Hughes . I will beat Matt Hughes . Matt can’t stand my submissions. I’m too strong for him. … It was my one great opportunity to take the title, and I know I could have. I guess I got lucky or Matt got lucky, I don’t know. It wasn’t meant to be, I guess. I don’t know why. It just wasn’t meant to be. It was very depressing. It was my shot. It was my one frickin shot to become a world champion.”
On whether the injury still affects him years later: “My leg is very weak. It’s not the same leg. It drops my grappling and my throws a lot. It kept me back. I can’t run. If you see my shoes, the last three shoes I’ve owned, pairs of sneakers for running, the left side under the shoe, it’s like cut off basically because I drag my leg so much. I can’t pick my leg up because I have no strength in my hamstring. It’s definitely done a lot to affect my career, and I hate it. I wish I had broken an arm or something else, but not torn the hamstring. It hurts, man. I feel like I’m getting stabbed. … It still bothers me. I have a knot the size of a cue ball, a tennis ball behind my thigh. … I have no muscle. I have no strength.”
On his abuse of painkillers: “When I felt, ‘Hey, I’m feeling the need for this,’ it was already too late. That’s when I stopped taking it and I starting having panic attacks and anxiety and all this stuff. It was the beginning of the end. … Because of that stupid poison, I got suspended and the suspension was -- I only begged God and I begged that commission, those people that sat up on that podium, those evil leeches that sucked my money for what reason? To feed your grandkids? Whatever. I don’t even want to get into that because if I do, I swear to God I will cuss every living thing on this freaking planet. I’m going to be honest with you. That’s why I said, ‘Don’t suspend me for nine months, please. I’ll give you a $50,000 fine, but let me fight.’ … That’s when I started abusing the pain medications. That’s when I came back nine months later, and everything was already too late. I had already done enough damage to my brain and my body.”
On his belief he’ll make a comeback: “That’s what I’m trying to do right now. I’m trying to make it a lifestyle again like I used to. Start training again, start getting in the gym, putting in time and getting out there and fighting. … I’m picking up my pieces now and trying to make my comeback. I know I will. I know I will and I know I can.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 35:56).