Norman Parke has experienced pretty much everything in the world of MMA.
BAMMA, Brave, KSW and UFC… In 2012, the Irishman even won the lightweight tournament on The Ultimate Fighter, a popular TV show created by the most prestigious mixed martial arts organization.
“I don’t make plans for the future. I like to fight in different countries, to travel and to stay active”, he explains at 36 years old, as he prepares to fight for the very first time in France, on the HEXAGONE MMA 7 card.
An adventurer, but above all a seasoned athlete, Norman Parke now has close to 40 professional fights, not counting his numerous appearances in boxing or in exhibition fights. Over the years, he has had ample time to refine his style, which is based on pressure and grip.
“I’m a relentless go-getter, a guy who grabs you and slams you to the ground. I have strong control positions and big ground-and-pound. I’m also very good at wrestling defense, and that comes from judo.”
“Everyone tells me I deserve a black belt.”
Since his childhood, the Irishman has trod the tatami, where he has developed high-level skills, but without ever validating his rank:
“I don’t know why, but when I was young, I didn’t show up for any belt grading. I was always nervous, and when my coach called me in a panic, I would make an excuse, or pretend to be sick. Everyone tells me I deserve a black belt, but in reality, I’m a blue belt!”
From the spirited but at times anxious teenager, a “wiser” athlete has emerged, one who has managed to capitalise on each of his experiences.
“During my early fights, I always wanted to finish quickly. But when I was with the UFC, I realised that you can’t think like that. So I evolved, but I kept my foundations: The very first thing I learned was to catch and throw my opponent!”