In the last interview I met Karo Parisyan at the Hayastan Grappling Academy in Hollywood California and talked to Karo about his upcoming fight with Matt Hughes and his experience with Randy Couture. In the second part of the interview we talk about his past fights with Sean Sherk, Jason Miller, Nick Diaz, George St Pierre, and his first UFC fight against Dave Strasser.
Brad Doerges – So how was fighting Sean Sherk?
Karo Parisyan – He was strong when I fought him. I was 18 and he was 26. Sean Sherk went to the hospital after the fight. I mean Sean can’t deny it. He got his ass whooped the first time we fought. I’ll give you numbers of the promoter, Chris Brennan, Steve Berger… I’ll give you numbers call these mother fuckers’s. It was an 8 man tournament. He could not continue the tournament. He was supposed to fight Chris in the next round and he said “I’m done”. He was in the locker room with ice all over his body. He had a concussion. He didn’t even pick up his money. The promoter told me he called like two weeks later and was like “can I get my money?” He left bro… he couldn’t continue… and I was there with two strippers on my lap drinking beers. When I fought him there was no way he was 170. I bet my life on that. He was sitting next to me… there was Shonie Carter, Steve Berger, Chris Brennan, and me… a bunch of good welter weights around. Then they announced… Karo Paryisan and Sean Sherk… so looking around I’m thinking “Who’s Sean Sherk?” He’s right next to me. I’m like it can’t be this guy he’s like a heavy weight. I walk out and this guy’s in the cage… I’m like “are you kidding me?” I wasn’t worried I had fought many guys like that before… but Sean is quality…. he is strong and a good wrestler. He just shot in on me with doubles. He’s real nice guy but he is a boring fighter. Sean take’s Hughes 5 rounds and wins 2 of them but they don’t ask for him back. I mean it’s the closest anyone had gotten to beating him, usually Hughes just dominates. Trigg goes in there against Hughes and get’s handled… they want him back.
Dave Mandel – Do you ever feel there is extra pressure to not only beat a guy but make it exciting?
Karo – They are like dude you gotta make a good impression or they won’t bring you back. I was at 170 a month before the (Dave) Strasser fight I was so excited about it. I popped a rib a week before the fight and I had to have a cortisone shot… I was dead in my brain… people were calling me like Karo I have so much money on you… I was like shut the fuck up… Chris Brennan calls me is like “I put 2000 dollars on you… but no pressure.” I’m like get the fuck outta my site bro. I’ll kill these mother fuckers… Leave me the fuck alone… The surprising thing was that once I got to the fight I felt fine… Once I got in on him I was like I can throw this guy… I thought he was gonna be way better. He beat Romi Aram who had beat Jerry Bohlander who had fought Tito Ortiz. Strasser goes all three rounds with him gasses him out. Mounts him… I’m thinking this guy is good grappler… He can strike too… I saw him fight Chris Lytle… Chris Lytle is a class act a great guy and good fighter too… He just couldn’t get his game going with me. I just didn’t want him to hit me… He rocked Robbie (Lawler) in that stand up war. I don’t want any of that shit I’m just gonna take him down.
Brad – So who do you think is the best Judoka in MMA right now?
Karo – Me.
Brad – Well besides you.
Karo – Honestly, when I say me I don’t mean like of course me no… I know 3 Olympic champions that just fought in the last Pride. These guys I used to watch when I was a little child. Pawel Nastula, Yoshida who beat my friend in the Olympics 92’ Jason Morris and Takimoto my weight champion 81kg 2000 Olympic champion. That guy is amazing in Judo. He’ll grip you… you just lost. Did you see what happened to all 3 of them though? Yoshida is doing the best out of all the Judo guys. Yoshida is very capable of beating Vanderlei. They just can’t get that whole Judo thing going. Fedor says he’s Judo but he is also Sambo. But Fedor is an insane mother fucker. I mean Fedor would get schooled by them in Judo but Fedor is more of an all around guy. Chris Leninger an American Judo guy fought in the UFC got handled. I thank God that I’m one of the fortunate guys that I can actually display Judo in an MMA fight. I mean like specific Judo throws not just a takedown.
Brad – What about Nakamura?
Karo – Naw he’s not a Judo guy. Well he’s a Judo guy but not like Yoshida. He hasn’t won anything you can’t compare him to Yoshida he’s not even close. I’m not even a real Judoka next to those guys. Those guys are Olympic world champions. I’ve beaten Olympians before. I have won internationals before but no where close to winning an Olympics or a Worlds. That shit is just beyond… you got 80 guys in your division… 120 nations competing in the tournament all the best and the US sucks… we are all the way down at the bottom with Somolia … we have only had two world champions in the history of judo… Iran has more championships than we do…
Brad – What do you feel about BJ Penn’s Claim to the UFC 170 belt?
Karo – Well he left for a good reason. 175 thousand I heard he was gonna get paid… I would have left too… I mean he fought Duane Ludwig… He damn well knew he could take him down and submit him… that’s like easy money… go get your money and fly back to Hawaii… He said if you book me 4 fights with Hughes I’ll fight Hughes all 4 times… The guy isn’t trying to dodge anybody… Chuck Liddell or Randy or Matt… I mean these are guys that should be getting paid but it shouldn’t be that big of a difference… give us something more, we put on a good show… Mother Fuckers have never seen throws like that… To be honest I just gotta beat Matt Hughes…
Brad – Then you could open up your own school?
Karo – Well even if I lose I still want to open up my own school.
Brad – Where do you want to open it up at?
Karo – I dunno man somewhere there are a lot of rich people are.
Brad – Orange County.
Karo – You live in Orange County?
Brad – Yup
Karo – Would you go to my school?
Brad – Sure.
Karo – Well you damn well should. It’s too far away though. Maybe Studio City. Maybe Calabassis. When I stand up and open up a school it can’t be too expensive. I need to advertise pretty good because a lot of people don’t know who Karo Parisyan is.
Dave Mandel – Do you still want to fight after you open up a school? Do you think that running a school will interfere with your fighting career?
Karo – Yes I’m still young. Once you open up a school you start a business. You always have to be thinking what’s best for the school. When you don’t have a school you can train when ever you want. I think the best situation is to open a school after you retire but, I’m too young to retire. I hate training so much. I’m a lazy guy. I’m telling you I have fought fights that I didn’t even train for. I only trained a week and a half when I fought Jason Miller.. Did you see that fight?
Brad – No I haven’t. Did you submit him?
Karo – No I beat Miller worse than George St Pierre did probably. I mounted him I did what ever I wanted to him. I threw him, I had him armbarred and his arm was completely stretched out. Then the doctor threw a towel in but he got out so we were like what’s going on? The doctor was basically trying to let the referee know that Miller wasn’t responding to anything and that maybe he should stop the fight. I beat him up bad. He was talking shit before and during the fight. I cussed his corner out Tiki (Ghosn), Quinton Jackson, and (Colin) Oyama. I was smiling at them and hitting him when I had him mounted. They were in Little Armenia so they couldn’t do shit.
Brad – Your last fight in the UFC was with Matt Serra. Did you think Matt Serra would present that much of a challenge for you?
Karo – He still wasn’t a problem. Delete the first 10 seconds of that fight and it was one of my easiest fights. He’s very hard to throw. He’s like a cat. Even John McCarthy said Karo he’s hard to throw. He was just too small for me. I’m a natural 170 he’s putting on weight to be 170. I cut a lot of weight for that fight. If you saw me during the weigh ins and if you saw me the next day, huge change. Huge change in my body. I weighed in at 169 and the next day I was 184. Pedolyte. I drink a whole big pedolyte. Then I ate. I had a huge chicken sandwich with fries and chicken wings. That night I had ice cream and chocolate cake.
Brad – You just eat anything you want before a fight… after you make weight?
Karo – Yeah… It’s just not right. Armenian food is very rich. I love cheese. Cheese and bread. That’s why I’m a dough boy.
Brad – You ever gonna look like Sean Sherk?
Karo – No maybe Fedor. When he fought Goodridge, it looked like he got jumped by ten men. I love that guy.
Brad – Nick Diaz is a respected grappler but it seemed like you were able to stay one step ahead of him. How did Diaz feel on the ground?
Karo – I don’t know who said that Nick Diaz is a good grappler. Because he submitted Jeremy Jackson? But he’s very good at getting in peoples head. He just gets in your head. He was calling Robbie a bitch he slapped Robbie.
Brad – That slap was loud.
Karo – He got in Robbies head. Did you see him when he fought me? He was scared. “I think it’s a bad match up for me…” He said that during the preflight interview. Who says that? Diaz is a tough kid. He will keep on coming, he doesn’t give up. He hit me in the first round I was like “this guy knocked out Robbie?” With Robbie he just caught him clean on his jaw *bink* just dropped him. I think Chris Lylte is better on the ground than Nick Diaz. He has a better inside guard. Good sweeps. Not like a better grappler but for MMA he is better. I’ve never seen him (Diaz) go for a submission on anyone and he tried to go for a kimura on me. It’s like trying to power punch with Tyson. It was actually very tight but he didn’t have it right. It was a very close fight. Thank God I was able to edge out the decision.
Brad – What do you think about the UFC’s newest member Diego Sanchez?
Karo – Did you know he challenged me? At the UFC fight he was doing an interview and he said the first guy I want to fight is Karo Parisyan. What I think of him? He’s strong… a tough kid.
Brad – He’s fast too…
Karo – Really?
Brad – Yeah we saw him at Abu Dhabi… He looked very fast.
Karo – How did he do?
Dave Mandel – He lost his first match to Jake Shields.
Karo – Oh yeah? I heard he lost to Marcello Garcia.
Dave – Yeah he did. Marcelo had him in an armbar for a while.
Brad – Your school is known for leg locks what is your favorite submission?
Karo – Armbar. Armbar…kimura… Anything with the arms, Triangles, then chokes…. Leg locks are good submission but they are too easy to do… I’ll do leg locks if I know im gonna catch a guy for sure. I’ve broken ankles at Kage Kombat before.
Brad – Did you get invited to Abu Dhabi?
Karo – Yeah I got invited twice before but, I hate the weight categories. 76 Kilos.
Brad – Trigg and Hallman were in the weight class above that… and Jacare.
Karo – Jacare… Is he good?
Brad – He handled Hallman.
Karo – really? How.
Brad – Take Down to sidemount then worked an Armbar.
Dave Mandel – Textbook.
Karo – He’s too strong for him. Too big. Hallmans a good submission guy right?
Brad – Yeah he tapped Trigg pretty fast.
Karo – I should have gone. But I don’t want to fight 186… If it was 175 I would be there… But that’s my shit. Standup to ground with grappling.
Brad – Roger Gracie just won the ADCC absolute division do you feel he is the best grappler in the world right now?
Karo – I’ve never seen any of his matches. I have to see them to make my decision. All I know is that everyone is taking about this Marcello Garcia guy. Everyone is talking about this kid along with Jacare. I don’t know who the best is. What is the best? I’ve been against Brazilian black belt guys that will supposedly choke me out… before the Serra fight like I wanna go and test my self. I schooled these guys because they are straight Jiu Jitsu. They are not strong. I come from a Judo background where you have to be real strong and we are rough too. I love rolling with Jiu Jitsu guys… not like it… LOVE it. I went up against this dude up in Big Bear when I was helping Vitor train for his fight. His friend a 6’5 Brazilian, imagine how crazy this guy would be, but I handled him. He was like “maybe it’s something I eat?” Then Vitor was like “Karo come here… hit me as hard as you can.” I was like “are you crazy?” Vitor is a great guy too. People underestimate his grappling… he’s got some pretty good skills. He’s strong too but not as strong as he should be to fight Randy at 205… Randy is a Tank… He pushes like a truck too…
Brad – So a big fight is coming up between Chuck Liddell and Jeremy Horn. Who do you think will win?
Karo – Probably Chuck. I don’t know… Horn’s a smart fighter. Don’t look past him. Chuck might win because he is stronger and the better striker but, Horn is still good. Don’t underestimate him.
Brad – You think Chuck is gonna try to play that ground game with him?
Karo – Pat (Miletich) told me last time their plan was for Horn to go in and punch him. Chuck took him down and it was over.
Dave Mandel – If you could pick your opponent for after this Hughes fight who would you pick?
Karo – Georges St-Pierre. Him vs Trigg is gonna be a sick ass fight. Anything can happen but I’m leaning towards Trigg in that fight since I trained with Trigg and fought St-Pierre. Georges is good thought he has good strikes and he is a good wrestler.
Brad – Is he stronger than Trigg?
Karo – He’s not strong he’s agile. Positioning wise Trigg is stronger. I’ve dumped Trigg before too but he is fast… great singles and doubles. It can go either way.
Brad – What would you do different if you were to fight St. Pierre again?
Karo – I wouldn’t cut so much weight the day before the fight. (Josh) Thompson’s camp had to drag me out of the sauna. It was bad. Me and Hughes both had trouble making weight that UFC and we both lost. But i make no excuses… St Pierre was the better fighter that day.
Dave Mandel – If Trigg beats St-Pierre and you beat Hughes would it be weird for you to have to fight Trigg since you’ve trained with him?
Karo – No. I know eventually I’m gonna have to face St Pierre, Trigg… eventually I’m going to have face all these guys. Is that all the questions?
Brad – Yeah that’s all I got…
Karo – Damn man you got a lot of questions.
Brad – Well you talk too much.
Karo – Yeah I know. But you have never had this much fun at an interview before…
Brad – No I haven’t. Thanks Man
Karo – No Problem.
Special Thanks to Sam “Soldia” Yang, to Dave Mandel, and to Karo “the Heat” Parisyan.