Mike Perry started his fighting career roughly 10 years ago. Days away from his Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debut against Julian Lane at Knucklemania 2, Perry says he feels like it’s been closer to 20. Not due to the mileage, but he’s trying to introduce a little philosophy to his life.
Perry, who laughs as he says he learned how to fight watching internet videos as a teenager, pivots deftly to what he refers to as his “journey.” He balances calmly watching his young son scamper about the house and passionately waxing about fighting surprisingly well. He’s still “Platinum” Perry, just more refined.
“I’m trying to watch what I do and watch what I say, partially because of this little guy,” Perry says, bouncing his son on his knee, insisting it’s more than fatherhood.
“It’s growing up, being a good boyfriend. I feel like a lot of the time, the best response [to negativity] was no response. You see that with celebrities. ‘No comment.’ Especially if it’s negative. I don’t have to have an opinion about every negative thing. It’s part of me growing up.”
Like nearly every fighter, Perry talks of controlling his own fate, watching after his family, securing his future, things like that. Bring up fighting, though, and Perry’s eyes light up.
“I’m excited to debut [in BKFC]. I’m the headliner, the main event, and I’m definitely gonna give everyone a show. I have to live up to the [‘Platinum Perry’] name. I try to walk with pride and carry some swagger, and I’m gonna do that when I fight.”
When Perry answered his phone for an interview, he said he had just been talking to someone about purchasing nice jewelry for his girlfriend and was looking at snagging a Rolex for himself. He was just sent a 25-karat diamond rose gold chain. “I’m already spending that Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship money,” he jokes.
Perry manages to not only control himself when talking about Lane, but actually empathize with his opponent despite open animosity toward him on social media and scuffling at BKFC Tampa.
“I hate to say it, but [Julian Lane] and I are similar,” Perry says, the words only leaving his mouth with considerable effort. “We’re obviously different people, but we’re similar in that we fight, we win, we have some losses. But I’ve said it before, I’m proud of him for getting through some tough losses in his life and making it back to a main event spot against me.”
It’s almost paradoxical. Especially when considering the things Perry and Lane have said about one another. Perry, for instance, has consistently referred to Lane as “a bum.” It begs the question that, if Lane is truly a bum, what would defeating him even prove?
Then again, Perry isn’t in the business of motivational talks. An opponent’s self-esteem needn’t concern him going into a big, meaningful fight, and maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it’s just a little sleight of hand.
“When I downgrade [Julian Lane] and [call him a bum], it gives him strength,” Perry explains. “Now he’ll try to come at me and give an effort. But I want my opponent to put himself in dangerous situations and go for it so I can land my own shots. I can step to the outside and land. I say he’s a bum because, on that night, I need him to be.”
The philosophical veneer chips away a bit every time Perry answers a question about fighting. Attempts at business-like stoicism give way to enthusiastic rants as he smacks his bare fist into his other hand.
“These guys wanna make a name off me,” Perry says, a hint of warning in his tone. “The way I see it is, if I do it right, there’s no way I can lose. I can’t be beaten. I’m Platinum Mike! I got the iron chin, I’m not going in there to lie down. But I am going in there to dance around, have fun and… enjoy my life! What a wild ride, bro! This is my life! I fight people for life-changing amounts of money, and all I gotta do is go in there and punch this guy in the face and not get punched by him!”
Some things change, and some don’t. Anger, passion and emotion have always driven Perry to some degree, and that’s a significant portion of his appeal. Even more grown up, more balanced, those things are still there for him to tap into.
“I always have [anger] in my back pocket,” Perry says. “I can always open it up and be angry. But the challenge is, can I keep my cool?”
It’s a skirmish between what Perry wants and what he needs. He says that, by the end of 2022, he’d like to be a BKFC champion. That’s probably what his career needs to become a great fighter. But he may want to punish Julian Lane when the fight begins and war breaks out.
“Worst case scenario, I’m gonna figure it out,” Perry reassures. “I’m always gonna figure it out.”
Follow Patrick Connor on Twitter: @PatrickMConnor
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