SAN JOSE, Calif. – If there’s one lesson Norman Parke (17-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) learned heading into this weekend’s UFC on FOX 7 event, it’s to read an entire email before electing to eat two pizzas.
“I had just finished my last sprinting session Saturday morning, and I came back into the dressing room and checked my iPad,” Parke told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I got an email from my manager, and I just clicked into it. There was a space first, and I moved it down, and it was like, ‘Tuck is injured. He’s out.’ That’s all I saw, but there was actually more to the message.”
Unfortunately for Parke, he didn’t realize that at the time. So with his UFC on FOX 7 fight with Jon Tuck canceled, the Northern Irishman did what any hungry fighter would do when no longer needing to make weight: He ate.
“Whenever I heard that Tuck was out, I kind of went and gorged a little bit,” Parke admitted.
Said pizzas saw Parke balloon from 168 pounds up to 176. That’s when he received another email that outlined the terms he missed in the previous message.
“I got an email from Joe Silva that said, ‘Just stay on weight,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, hell,’” Parke said. “They said they were just going to scrap the fight but just to come to San Jose and be on weight in case anybody pulled out.”
Fortunately for Parke, it wasn’t a long journey, as he had been training at San Diego’s Alliance MMA. So without an opponent in place, Parke had to resume the weight cut and get himself down to 156 pounds for Friday’s official weigh-ins. There’s still a slim chance something crazy could happen to one of the event’s other lightweights, and if it does, Parke says he’ll be ready. Still, he’s not trying to approach things from a selfish point-of-view.
“I wouldn’t really wish bad things on anybody,” Parke said. “But as Burt Watson says, ‘F—ed up things happen.’ Somebody could get sick. I don’t wish it on anyone, but that’s what I’m here for. It’s highly unlikely it’s going to happen. I’m sure everybody is going to be safe. But there are a lot of 155-pounders on the card, and I’ll fight any of them.”
Despite the loss of a fight on this weekend’s card, Parke will get paid his show money for making weight, and he said he’s still trying to use the event as a learning experience. After winning “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes,” UFC on FOX 7 was going to be his big-show debut. With that possibility now slim, Parke said he’s still planning on warming up like normal on fight night and getting a few hard rounds of mitt work in to simulate an actual fight.
After that, he hopes to get a quick rebooking from the powers that be.
“I’m going to take a week off to let my body go back a bit because my body peaked perfectly,” Parke said. “I’ll take a week off and just have a bit of fun and hope to get a fight just whenever Joe Silva can get me a matchup, really.
“It could be a blessing in disguise. I’ve had good training. I’ll make weight and not fight and get paid and then maybe I can fight in a few weeks’ time and win and get paid, as well.”
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