As the gloves are put on his hands, the feeling of déjà vu sets in. The excitement that was once there as the gloves were being fitted had long since faded. The chatter from the corner men, the sounds in the distance of a crowd screaming for the fight that is currently taking place inside the ring—it all gets too familiar. He is but a vessel of the fight game.

John Wayne Parr has fought many a time. At the drop of a hat, he can recite how he felt during a particular moment leading up to a fight. However, it has been a long while since he has felt his heart racing the way that it does in the lead-up to his Caged Muay Thai events.

It’s something different. Something for which almost two decades’ worth of fight experience can’t even prepare you.

“After 117 fights, this has just reignited my flame,” Parr exclaimed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “It’s like nothing else I’ve ever experienced before, and it’s a whole new challenge. After having so many fights and fighting for so long, it sometimes feels like the fights are all the same. Getting in there with the four-ounce gloves on, it makes you think about things differently. There is so much more to think about when the fight is inside a cage. The movement is different, how you set up combos. It’s kind of like learning to fight all over again [laughs].”

In his next bout, Parr faces Yohan Lidon, a 123-fight veteran from France. Parr enters the bout with a seven-fight winning streak. He posted his last loss in December 2010. It may seem like business as usual for the Muay Thai legend, but fighting on a show that he promotes does add an extra sense of pressure.

“I’m looking forward to competing again,” Parr revealed. “It’s on my own show, and I need to make sure that it’s an exciting fight. I’ve gotta make sure that I am on my game, otherwise that’d be a bit embarrassing for me to lose in front of the thousands of people who are coming out to see me fight. The fight is for the CMT belt that I won last show, and I don’t wanna be giving the belt up just yet, so you can be sure I’ll be putting up a fight to remember.”

Parr’s ventures into the world of promoting for the fourth time on March 1 with Caged Muay Thai 4. With each event he has put on, there has been interest from his fans across the globe to take his show internationally. However, Parr is a little bit more reserved about where things are heading at this stage.

“We are just taking baby steps at the moment,” Parr admitted. “Each time we’ve put on a show, we have showcased international talent and given the fans an exciting show. For the first time, we are going to be live-streaming the event so that more people can be introduced to what Caged Muay Thai is all about, and I think that eventually I’d like to expand it overseas. It’s just one step at a time at the moment, though. For this card, we are streaming the card for fans outside of the state of Queensland on our website, which has been requested quite a lot. So, providing that goes well, we may look to take the show on the road.

“We’ve got 10 fights on the card, and most of them feature either international or interstate fighters. We are really looking to bring out the best fighters that we can. At the last show, I fought Marco Pique, who is Dutch. This time around I’m fighting Yohan Lidon, who is from France. Eventually, we’d like to have even more international fighters on the card to get more people involved in what I think is one of the most exciting forms of fighting I have ever seen or competed in.”

Parr has had to tackle the difficult task of balancing life as a fighter with life as a promoter. If he were going at it alone, he may have put all of his energy and focus on one or the other. However, there is someone who is very close to him that he can trust with putting on a show that the fans and fighters will enjoy.

“I’m very lucky that my wife is into the sport as well,” Parr said. “She has had fights in the past herself and is very good at the promoting side of things, so I can just focus on my own fight and she can focus on bringing the show together. Just like my life, her whole life is dedicated to Muay Thai, so I am very lucky. We make a very good team.”

When the cage door closes for the main event on March 1, it becomes less about the show as a whole and more about the storied success of Parr. With each new win, Parr, who has been included in the camp of elite fighters such as Georges St-Pierre, continues to cement his legacy in the realm of combat sports.

When the day finally does come for Parr to hang up his gloves, when his fighting spirit does finally start to die down, the brand that he has started to build in Caged Muay Thai will certainly allow him to continue his involvement in the sport that has shaped his life for so long.

John would like to thank the sponsors for his event, along with all the fighters that are taking part in Caged Muay Thai 4 on March 1. He would also like to thank his wife, Angie, for her continued support. Follow Parr on Twitter: @johnwayneparr

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.