This Friday night's (May 8, 2015) four-man, one-night heavyweight tournament at GLORY 21 was originally billed as an "All-American" affair, but after Chi Lewis-Parry dismantled Yong-Soo Park in 25 seconds at GLORY 20, management decided to switch things up and place the 6' 9" imposing Brit into the tournament.
"What can I say, really?" Parry recently told MMAmania.com. "I wanted to be involved as soon as possible. I understand they wanted to do an all American, but having me in there creates a more interesting dynamic. I'll probably get booed, which is good, that's what I want. 'We don't want the Brit to win.' That doesn't change the fact that I'm going to win. It could create an exciting new angle to the whole thing."
Parry, a former European basketball player who once had a brief tryout with the Los Angeles Lakers, won't be tip toeing into the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego at GLORY 21, he will be kicking the door down and screaming like a banshee. The charismatic fighter's words hit as hard as his punches do. He understands how the game is played and is looking to maximize his time in the spotlight. He's not just hoping for a good performance or happy to be a part of it. He fully expects to win the tournament on Spike TV.
And swing the crowd in his favor should they be against him.
"I like the whole booing thing," said Parry, who is matched up against Demereo Dennis in the semifinals. "It's good because you will watch how quickly people change. And they will. As soon as I finish my first fight, they are going to say 'oh this guy is pretty cool.' All I need is to beat Tyrone Spong's record of 16 seconds against Danyo Illunga and then I think I would've won the nation over with that. So, that's my goal: 15 seconds."
In the opposing semifinal bracket, Xavier Vigney will be facing Maurice Jackson. Many experts have predicted it will be Vigney and Parry matched against one another in the tournament final. Of course, "Chopper" had some words for his potential opponent, should they both advance to the final.
"I don't know much about the other guy (Jackson)," said Parry, who also competes in the One Championship MMA promotion. "One, I really want to punch Vigney in the face. And two, I almost feel like Vigney should lose in the first round so he doesn't have to get punched in the face. I hope he is able to finish his fight quick so he can go back and get rest because he is going to need it. People are drawn to rivalries and I'm giving them a rivalry. I don't know the guy. I don't personally dislike him, but he's in my way. It's as simple as that.
"People are going to be more interested in me and him fighting than they are going to be interested in Adegbuyi and Silva fighting because there is going to be a rivalry there. It's going to be building from the first fight to the second fight. For the people, for the combat sports fans, watching me and him in the final would be ideal. Two big guys. Two athletic guys. Both guys are hungry. Looking at the opportunity and you will see some serious action. Most of the action will be Vigney wobbling and going to sleep."
Parry is full of life and embracing the lead up to the tournament at GLORY 21. Saying he his brimming with confidence is about as obvious as saying the Hitchin, London native owns an English accent. When he speaks, his delivery only adds to his personality, which can straddle the fence of being brash, but is, for the most part, layered in the belief of his own abilities and wicked sense of humor. He can talk trash and push buttons, but a lot of it is tongue-in-cheek. He knows what he's doing and he's having a good time with it. He likes to shake things up. Maybe tap the bee's nest and see what happens as opposed to just minding his own business.
That stems from his style of play on the hardwood, which wasn't so much Bill Laimbeer of the Detroit Pistons, as much as it was another famous Piston and Chicago Bull, who was a master at instigating, causing trouble and going all out every time he played.
"I was more like Dennis Rodman where I would just try to stir shit up and dive on the floor and definitely get into scraps with the big guys," Parry said. "Sometimes teams are overmatched and my team was always overmatched and you would see a lot of guys would come in from overseas and would be expected to perform right away. It's difficult for people coming in from a different country playing in front of a different set of fans and playing the way we play in Europe. Sometimes shit needed to be stirred up a little bit. If they felt intimidated by someone I would just go start a fight.
"Not like a scrap, scrap. I would just maybe give an elbow in the ribs and they would turn around and we'd start scuffling. It made the team bond. One guy is fighting and another guy is pushing another and than it felt like we wanted each other's back. Sometimes you need to do that to get everybody involved because if a guy is not playing too well and the coach is screaming at him and there is another playing saying 'why don't you pass me the ball,' and every thing breaks apart. You don't see it anymore. Instincts are to fight, defend, survive and I was that guy. I was the survivalist. I used to instigate shit to bring everybody together."
If not for basketball, Parry says he would not be the fighter he is today. There has "always been a fighter " in him, whether in school or on the court, he said. After his basketball career was over, he was working security with his current trainer, Danny Brennan and they began to train with one another before they went to work. Then a novice, he started to really like it and began to really pick it up and Brennan saw his potential and urged him to pursue it. That is how his fighting career blossomed.
"I've always been a confident person," Parry said. "I made it easier for him, put it that way. The way he teaches complements my attributes and mentality. If he had someone else not as strong willed as me it might have been difficult. We just happen to work really well together. We complement each other so that is why the progression is so good."
Parry, 31, doesn't think he's invincible by any means, but he never doubts himself.
"My strongest asset is my mind. You can quite literally put me in there in front of absolutely anybody and I will still go in there with the confidence I will beat that person. You have to. If you don't, than what are you doing? You aren't going to win if you thinking 'oh I might lose.' If you think that, you are going to lose because you are already giving in. That is just never in my style, never. Not in a street fight, not in Mario Kart. I've just never been that guy."
The nostalgia of old-school games is brought up after his Nintendo 64 reference.
"Mario Kart and Golden Eye, that was my shit," he says with a burst of excitement. "The kids nowadays they don't understand what paved the way. They think it's all about Call of Duty and Halo and all of that shit. They don't realize it. Golden Eye, the license to kill mode, one shot one kill, that was the shit."
"Chopper," who received his nickname from a saying he used in basketball to "chop away at the lead" when his team was trailing in a game, said "big guys need big goals." And that is why he has already began talking about one day winning the GLORY heavyweight title, which is currently around the waist of Rico Verhoeven. Parry sent a tweet out prior to GLORY 20 saying he was going to win it one day. The current champion appreciated it and gave Parry respect for putting it out there and pushing toward his goal.
"It was really cool," Parry recalled. "I'll say this for myself: I understand that you don't just walk in and say 'yeah I want a title shot," and get the fight. All that was, was me setting things up to let you know I'm not coming in and going 'yeah, I'm happy to be here and I just want to fight and I'll see where I go.' What better way to test where you're at and your level than to fight a top guy? Say whoever gets the next shot gets injured and no one seems to take it, I'll take it. I'll take it and I think I'll beat him as well. I'm just confident man. I'm confident. I'm a man of opportunity and I'll grab hold of that shit like a monkey and hang on."
As of now, Parry's wife Michelle and son Ronin live in the U.S., while he stays in the UK. He is waiting to get a visa, which he explained has been a "long process," and he hasn't seen his son since his birthday in January. Despite that, he keeps an upbeat look on things.
"You do what you have to do and stay positive," said Parry, who mentioned his wife is a "good girl," before joking that she could still make it difficult for him if she wanted to. "I don't have time for negative energy. I'm away from my family, it's hard, but I'm going to see them in San Diego for sure."
England is home to him, but he is bothered by a "mentality" that he sees there often, which is people that "get used to what they have and it becomes repetition."
"So everyday it's a repetition of 'this is how I'm going to be. This is me This is the routine. I get up. I go to work. I come back. I can't wait to leave work and come back to this little shitty house where I've got my own six inches of grass and I've got my cats or my dogs and I can watch my junk TV.' That's it," he explained, with his annoyance being transparent. "That tends to be the mentality of almost everybody. And then you get those couple of people that don't live like that. That don't think like that."
Parry is of the latter, as he is striving for more and he knows that one day soon he will move away from London, a necessary sacrifice to be with his family in the U.S.
"For me, leaving England to be with my family is like cutting off a piece of my soul because I'd leave it behind," he explained. "Sometimes you have to lose a bit of yourself to go forward. If your arm was trapped in a rock and you can't get it out, you would have to cut that shit off to be free, right? You would lose a bit of you. There are millions of people who wouldn't cut their arm off."
Parry, who is now 5-0 as a kickboxer, calls himself a "man of opportunity," and is planning on standing out at GLORY 21, whether the fans love him or hate him, he is supremely confident he will make a lasting impression on everyone watching him.
"You have to perform but give people something exciting to watch," he said. "Give them a reason to watch you. Whether that reason is they cant wait to see you get knocked out or they cant wait to see me get to the top, either way they are watching. That is all I want. I want them to watch. That for me is my outlook on constantly trying to make it. It translates to all walks of life."
With a win in the GLORY 21 "qualifier" tournament, Parry will earn a spot in a "contender" tournament, which will take place later on this year. The winner of that tournament will then get a crack at the GLORY heavyweight title.
If you were guessing that "Chopper" already has conjured up a detailed scenario of how he conquers all three and takes the title, well, you've grasped his mentality and guessed correctly. Parry envisions a dominant performance in both tournaments and a title fight against Verhoeven.
"I'm walking out of that tournament and going into the other tournament," Parry predicted. "I'm going to walk through that tournament and I'm going to get Rico. Than I'm going to walk through him, I'm going to take that gold and I'm going to laugh. I"m going to giggle on TV, quite literally. That will be my speech at the end 'hahahahah,'" his laugh bellowing like a villain in a James Bond film.
Sure, Parry has personal goals he wants to accomplish and is looking to make a huge splash at GLORY 21, but it isn't all about him. He wants to set an example for his son Ronin and prove to him that he can be the best he can be because that is what his father did.
"We are here for a good time not a long time, so why waste your life thinking about what you could've done or what you could've did?" Parry asked. "I have a beautiful little son and I have to lead by example. I want him to be the exact... No I don't want him to be the exact, I want him to be better than me. How can I sit there and tell him to be something if I'm not it?
"I can't teach him to be better than me when I"m not even the best I can be. I'm going to show him. I will show him. I will lead by example and I will show him and no one will stop me. You can quote this: I will get that belt. And I'm not saying this as a deluded wannabe fighter who is trying to be something. I'm saying it because I believe it."