Norman Parke Profile Jan11

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					Fighter Profile
Name: Norman Parke
Club: Institute of Mixed Martial Arts (IMMA), Ballymena, Co. Antrim
Fighting Weight: Lightweight
There’s a fine line between overconfidence and genuine confidence in your abilities. The former can get you in trouble while the
latter can get you out of trouble if you can back it up. Anyone who has seen Norman Parke fight knows he is a supremely
confident young fighter with an impressive record of 14 wins and 2 losses. However, Parke’s MMA career could have been over
before it started after a loss in his first fight.

A native of Bushmills in Antrim, Parke began his combat sports career at 16, touring the country competing in judo competitions.
With numerous trophies and a black belt in his locker, he began mixing his judo training with boxing and amateur wrestling until
the opportunity of an MMA fight came his way in 2006 just shy of his 19 birthday. With no formal MMA training behind him
Parke stepped into the ring with Greg Loughran at Ultimate Fighting Revolution 5 in December 2006. Fighting Greg Loughran in
your debut is like Blackpool playing Manchester United in their opening Premiership match. No disrespect to Blackpool (or
Parke), but the odds would have been stacked massively against. A seasoned vet even back then, having beaten Parke, Loughran
would go on to defeat MMA stars like TUF 12 winner Jonathan Brookins and Andre Winner and take on Bellator lightweight
champ Eddie Alvarez.

Despite the loss Parke remembers doing well in his debut. “Aye, it was a baptism of fire but the fight was pretty even coming to
the end of the first round. I took him down but just a bit of inexperience getting caught in a choke”. Without his self-confidence
Parke might have packed it in. But he wasn’t the only person who thought he could make the grade. David Patterson, the head
coach at Elite Fighting Revolution, home of Loughran, asked Parke to join his gym to train in MMA proper. Parke showed
incredible determination and patience as he took an 18 month layoff from fighting to work on his MMA game.

Parke 2.0 re-emerged in May 2008 to go on a tear, stopping all his opponents in 10 consecutive victories. Two wins in 2008 was
followed with another six in 2009. 2010 opened with another two victories by February. Notable scalps during this period
include recently crowned Cage Wars Lightweight Champion Ali Maclean twice and Cage Contender Lightweight Champion and
Joe’s featured fighter Myles Price. On a weeks’ notice, Parke was asked would he like to take a fight against TUF trialist and
Sherdog tipped prospect Joe Duffy the week before his scheduled fight with Ian Jones in March 2010. “Maybe I shouldn’t have
taken it but I’m glad I did. I couldn’t resist the challenge and I always want to fight the best fighters out there.” The loss to Duffy
was chalked down and Parke went on to win four more fights in 2010 taking his record to 14-2.

Parke is not deterred by his lack of silverware as his focus has moved to MMA beyond these shores. “My plan now is to gather
up some money and I’ve told my manager ‘Get me all the fights you can’. Once I’ve enough cash I’ll be off to North America as
my management have a few things in the works for me over there. A title shot would be great but I’ve plans for 2011 regardless”
said Parke. His management, KO Dynasty, look after the likes Jonathan Brookins, Josh Neer and Spencer Fisher. Once stateside
the Canadian promotion Maximum Fighting Championships have been touted as a potential proving ground for Parke. He also
has the chance to join Greg Jacksons MMA and potentially train with lightweights of the calibre of TUF finalist Michael Johnson,
human lightning ball Clay Guida, perennial UFC title contenders Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson, WEC standout Donald Cerrone
and Bellator title challenger Roger Huerta.
Next up is a tough challenge against top ranked Finnish fighter Anton Kuivanen at “Fight Festival 29″ on the 31 January 2011 in
Finland. Parke was sought out by the Finnish promotion as a stern test for one of their premier fighters. “I’m taking my career
one fight at a time but I want to push on this year. I’d like to try an’ repay everybody who’s helped me by going as far as I can -
Davie Patterson at EFR, Rod Moore my head coach at I.M.M.A., “the Big C” Colin Robinson who’s also been an inspiration at
I.M.M.A. and especially my fiancé Amanda for having to listen to me and put up with me down through the years” said Parke.

Whether it’s Ireland, Finland or Canada, Norman Parke will be confident he’ll make a positive impression. If he achieves even
some of what he’s planned for his career he’ll have repaid those who’ve supported him in spades.

Fergus Ryan, January 2011

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