UFC veteran Karo Parisyan made a successful return to the cage after over a year on the sidelines at Impact FC 1 – The Uprising in Australia today.
The Armenian born fighter has had well documented struggles with pain-killer addiction, panic attacks, and prolonged injuries which has seen his career enter into a downward spiral in recent years, and this event was seen as the first step in getting his life back on track.
Parisyan had been expected to face a challenging bout with Brazilian fighter Luis Dutra Jr, but a late change handed him an easier challenge in the shape of local fighter Ben Mortimer.
‘The Heat’ claimed victory by rear-naked choke in the second round, but though it’s good to hear that the fighter has a win under his belt, it appears that he still has a ways to go before he’s back to the days when he was seen as one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC’s welterweight division.
Sherdog.com’s Jordan Breen had traveled to Australia to witness Impact FC’s event and brought back some telling insights into Parisyan’s state of mind leading into this fight.
At the pre-fight press conference for the event Breen noted that, “an anxious Parisyan drummed loudly on his thighs before standing up and saying quietly, “I can’t sit down, man.”
Breen then documented how the fighter then roamed restlessly around the room and somewhat rudely discredited one of fellow competitor Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou’s answers to the media.
Bearing in mind that the last time the 27 year-old had been scheduled to fight was at UFC 106 last November, and on that occasion he ended up pulling out of the fight a day before the weigh-ins resulting in him being fired from the promotion, this wasn’t a particularly encouraging sign that his anxiety issues are now under control.
Luckily on this occasion Parisyan did make it to the scale were Breen noted that he, “winced anxiously as he clocked in at 77.3 kilograms, and then breathed a sigh of relief when he was informed from the row of media that it converted to under 171 pounds.”
So far, so-so. Would he actually make it into the cage for his fight though?
Thankfully yes, but things didn’t go exactly according to plan. Parisyan had been expected to fight in the co-main event of the evening, but at the last moment he approached promoter Tom Huggins and asked for the bout to be switched to the first fight of the evening.
“This was my first fight that I was away from my family, and I knew they were freaking out at home,” Parisyan later explained to Breen. “My sister was at home throwing up. I felt like it would be better for them, and for me, if I fought first, and I could get it over with so they could stop worrying.”
As for the fight, Breen later described on twitter the Armenian’s performance as follows.
“Karo looked out-of-shape and weak against Mortimer, but vastly technically superior. He looked like a weight was lifted off him after he won.”
Parisyan himself acknowledged that he was not yet back to 100%.
“I need more time. My body looks like a third-grader body. But I’m trying to get back.”
On this evidence it’s clear that Parisyan is still battling with his own demons as much as he is any opponent he faces in the cage. Hopefully getting this victory under his belt will have helped to ease his burden, but realistically this is just the first step on the road to recovery.