Mike Perry’s thought was that he didn’t want to end up like fighters who get a violent surprise during a staredown. So he brought a little something to make his potential assailants — including rival opponent Julian Lane — behave at the BKFC Knucklemania 2 press conference.
“I don’t know how security is going to be,” Perry said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Sometimes, you see these organizations, some fighters expect the guy standing in the middle of them to break them up, and then one gets kicked in the face and they’re like, ‘Why didn’t you step in?’ No, I’m protecting myself. I’ve got to take care of me and also who’s around me, as well as we’ve got to watch each other’s backs.”
A Louisville Slugger, his protection was not. The wiffle ball bat Perry smuggled in his pants this past Thursday was probably more suitable for a pickup game than bludgeoning a human. But it was something, especially in a volatile situation with a wild man like Lane.
“Outside of the ring, it’s not fair,” Perry said. “We ain’t fighting fair. I had a plastic whiffle ball bat. If that’s really a handicap, you’ll be alright. You’re going to get a little smack to the face with it, no problem.”
Lane previously had surprised Perry at the BKFC commentary table in December, sparking a brief melee that set up the bare-knuckle brawl this past Saturday in Florida.
“Nobody knew I had it on me,” Perry said. “It was funny to me, thinking about it like, ‘I’ve got this bat, boy. I’ll pull it out and get three feet of reach on your ass real quick.’”
Cooler heads prevailed after a brief skirmish at the presser, and Perry and Lane went on to do the real work of the moment, a five-round fight that left both a bloody mess. In his bare-knuckle boxing debut, Perry squeaked out the split decision to beat one-time BKFC title challenger Lane, and, in his mind, set up a shot at the middleweight champ Thiago Alves.
All the animosity leading up to the fight didn’t completely squash the beef for Perry. But he’s got other things to think about.
“We can fight again,” Perry said of Lane. “But I want my opportunities first. It was a learning experience. I’ve got some ideas of what I can work on to be better. But that was the ex-title challenger, the last one to fight for the title. I came out on top.
“I called out the champ. Sounds like he wants to do it. There’s a couple people who might feel otherwise, but who have they fought? I fought the last title challenger, and it makes sense to me. And stylistically, I have a good game plan for how I would go get the belt.”
Perry said he’s “on paperwork” with BKFC and ready to move forward with his bare-knuckle career, or take any offer that pays handsomely; he said he’s making double with the promotion what he was making in the UFC. All he has to do is heal a left hand that certainly looks broken.
“I was hitting [Lane] right with the center of the knuckle, like I practiced,” he said. “I was even trying to break through the hardest part of the head. I think about the [Michael ‘Venom’ Page] knee, when he hit that guy, and all [his facial bones] broke right here [on the forehead]. I was trying to break that, and maybe my knuckles crumbled underneath it.”
An X-ray will determine the extent of the damage, but after experiencing the shock of hitting an opponent in the ring with bare fists, he said he’ll return with a better performance.
“I know they saw me in the ring and other opponents might think that they have an idea of what it might be like, but I’m going to be 100 times better next time I step in there,” Perry said.