One notable loss from this weekend’s UFC Vegas 23 fight card: Darren Till and Mike Perry will not be in close proximity to one another. “I was looking forward to maybe slapping him in the face and making headlines this week,” Perry joked during the event’s media day Thursday.
“It’s interesting, because we all come here with a mission, and whose name is on the other side of that paper, that’s the most important thing,” explained Perry, who fights Daniel Rodriguez at the event. “So it’s better that I don’t have to deal with any type of drama, and I’m here and I’m ready to fight anybody, any day this week.”
It was a noticeably different Perry that spoke to reporters this week. Softer, calmer, more reflective. “Platinum Poppa,” like “Dad Cerrone” before him, seems a changed man. Being a dad “just lit this fire that I didn’t know was going to happen. I’m happy for it and I’m grateful for it, and I’m going to stay humble,” he stated.
He’s also looking to lead by example, at least for his son. “Now I have a reason to be a role model,” he explained. “I never really cared to be some type of role model before, but now I have someone that I’m going to teach everything to. As a dad, you can’t push too hard, but then you don’t want to miss anything. Like ‘man, I could have told you about that, I missed it!’ But who knows, he’s only three months old. Sky’s the limit.”
Will fans find that less entertaining? The fanbase has always been captured by Perry’s volatile personality. Perry seems aware of the change, but doesn’t seem to be too concerned with it. His power hasn’t up and vanished, after all, which is another entertainment factor.
“Being a dad is, like, I hold myself with composure that’s not the most entertaining now. I might have a little moment here or there, try to be funny, I try to be relaxed and have a good time,” he stated. “But mainly, it’s about what I do Saturday night — or Saturday morning now, we’re fighting in the daytime.”
Ahead of the fight with Rodriguez, Perry also switched gyms. The switch to Florida’s MMA Masters “comes with its own territory of being a role model. Because if anybody’s going to watch and look up to somebody and want to get into this game, I want to give honest opinions on this game, and be realistic and tell you how it really is.”
Role model Perry is an interesting, and frankly welcome, sight. But Perry still has a bit of that old, off the cuff Perry in him. Whether it be talking about Till, or the drag that is weight cuts.
“I’m like a girl on my period on Twitter when I’m on weight cut, because it’s just awful,” he joked. “It makes me want to go up a weight class. So when I knock this fool out on Saturday and Darren Till’s collarbone heals, let’s make that fight happen at 185. I’ll eat a chicken sandwich in one hand and hit him in the face with the other.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 23 media day scrum with Mike Perry above. The event takes place Saturday, April 10 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.