“#Embracethegrind” has been a hashtag flying around Twitter for a while now but very few can attest to grinding as hard as our featured MMA personality today. I use the word “personality” because he is not only a fighter or a coach but he also the founder of Team Unleashed in Bryan Texas! He is none other than Carl Perry. While his fighting days may be coming to a close with him turning 40 soon I don’t think his name or career in the world of MMA are anywhere close to leaving, in fact they may be coming into their prime, so take a minute and get to know the man and shoot him a follow on Twitter @Carlperrymma.
Thanks for taking the time out of your day to talk to us Carl. I know you lead a crazy busy schedule so it means a lot to us. So first off what got you into the world of MMA?
Perry: Well I actually started out in boxing back in 1989 with Coach Joe Martinez. From there I begin Wado-Ryu Karate under Sensei Vincent Holmes, and quickly transitioned into MMA. Along the way, I would take part in a few local toughman contests that were held on Tuesday night’s at a sports bar. I competed twice, and won each time. I then started taking fights with small unsanctioned promotions that paid chump change, but it was still an avenue for me to compete.
Oh wow so you started at the roots of the fighting ways with the strong man competitions, I haven’t seen or heard about them in years. Now you are a guy that seems not to like to have an idol moment and by that you are always tweeting about morning workouts, we go to your site and see you have your hands in a little bit of everything. What drives you to do all this?
Perry: I hate not being active. I always have to be doing something. In my down time, I’m brainstorming of ways I can better myself, teammates, or the gym. Many say I’m a Perfectionist, I like to think I just want things done right. Yet honestly, my family and teammates fuel me to want to be the best.
Now that is a solid answer and glad to see people putting family first! Now speaking about “a little of everything” you wear a bunch of different hats in the world of MMA, you are a fighter, the owner and founder of Team Unleashed MMA in Bryan, Texas as well the head coach there. How do you keep this up, what are some of the strains of doing this much and what is your biggest accomplishment to date?
Perry: I could go on forever with this question. Being the Head Coach and active fighter of a gym is not an easy task, and there are days were I just want to throw in the towel. Especially days were I’m dealing with egotistical people. Seems everyone has something to prove whether it’s a promoter, match-maker, or fighter. Yet, knowing I’m helping a young fighter shoot for his or her dream is what keeps me going. I could not look myself in the mirror if I ever broke a promise to any of them. There are several accomplishments that I am proud of. Getting my good friend Matt into Bellator MMA was huge. Personally fighting under the King of the Cage banner was amazing. I watched KOTC in the early days when guys like Rampage Jackson were still trying to make a name for themselves. So stepping into that cage and winning was a huge building block for me, and the list can go on for a while.
Now that may be our first Rampage reference in regards to KOTC. I don’t know how many people are old enough to remember those days…god knows I am haha. Now with all these different titles I am sure you have seen some crazy things, what is the craziest thing you have seen?
Perry: Craziest thing I’ve seen was a fighter asking for timeout during a fight, so he could throw up. Never seen that before! Also, I was cornering a former teammate in Oklahoma, between rounds, I pulled his mouth-guard to give him water, and two teeth were stuck in it. He nearly panicked when he spit all the blood in the bucket, he asked how bad the damage was. He had no clue two teeth were gone, so I said, “It’s just a big cut, so get out there and knock his ass out!” He hated me until he got his new teeth, lol.
YES!!!!! That is awesome! So speaking about Team Unleashed, What makes it so special and are there any guys we should keep our eyes on (besides you) in the future?
Perry: What separates Team Unleashed from the others is the fact that we are normal everyday working citizens. We stay humble, and recognize that our careers are products of hard work and sacrifice. None of us want the easy road, we “Earn Our Fight…” As far as fighters to watch for, that would be Miguel “The Aztec” Martinez. This kid is the real deal, he works hard, and is open to ideas that will further his career. He is currently an undefeated amateur, so once he goes pro, watch for him.
Nice maybe we will have to get him on here before we have to go through publicists and media reps when he is running with the big guys! Now you are not just a fighter, you played football for the B/CS Outlaws in the NAFL as well as played semi pro baseball. We just talked to Pete Spratt who had a similar situation with playing other sports at such a high level I will ask you the same question, looking back at your life do you feel that you made the right choice going into the world of MMA and why?
Perry: Yes, without a doubt. Boxing and MMA helped me channel myself in a positive manner. When I was growing up, I was the black sheep of the family, and the friend that others turned to when things got nasty. I had no fear of anything, and it kept me in a dark place for a long time. I was so angry at life in general. If I would of pursued a career in other sports, I definitely would not be the man I am today, and that is why I give my best to MMA and my teammates. MMA humbled me!
Awesome and I am glad you spoke of MMA like that because kids these days need to realize that MMA is a place to get your life on track not just a place to get in a fight. Ok I know our football writers would kill me if I didn’t ask about your thoughts about Manziel and all the news that is going on with him with you being a fellow Aggie.
Perry: First off, I haven’t had the honor to meet Johnny Football in person, and I think he is truly a gifted athlete! No doubt about it. As far as the bad news surrounding him, I think it’s a product of the hype built around him during this past season, and upcoming one. Just imagine if he put up the numbers he did last year, but Texas A&M finished sub 500 (5-7 or 4-8) in the SEC, we most likely would not be having this conversation. He’s a young man still discovering what life has in store for him, so yeah, mistakes will be made. Hell, when I was 19 or 20 years old, I was out doing far worse things than what he has done. The media needs to step back, and let him be a young man, and let him have fun in his college career.
Ok fair enough, now back to the world of MMA, you a based in Texas which is known as a hot spot for sports, can you talk to us about the MMA scene and what makes it so special?
Perry: Texas has tons of talent in the MMA scene, and much more still undiscovered. The Texas MMA scene is still, in my opinion, overlooked. We have so many pro fighters here that can compete at the highest level, but are unheard because how the promoters handle them. It’s basically the good ol’ boy system. For instance, we have Houston based promotion Legacy FC that is full of talent, but keeps many talented fighters out because they didn’t come up through the Legacy Amateur ranks, or because the fighter isn’t from Houston. Lately they have expanded the talent field, and that has led to a few of the fighters getting contracts with the UFC. So I am hopeful the Texas scene will continue to grow. May take some time, but it will.
Yeah I would agree on all of that. We had the privilege of talking to Cody Williams who is out of Texas (click the interview pages to check him out) and he said many of the same things. If you had to describe yourself as a fighter how would you do it? What is your favorite aspect of being a pro fighter and how has your life changed since going pro?
Perry: Stand-up! I love to stand and bang. Honestly, I don’t view myself as a pro fighter outside the cage. I like to stay below the radar, if you would. My life changed drastically after turning pro because I opened Team Unleashed in March 2010, and life got hectic. As for my favorite aspect, I love talking and working with kids. The kids will act up and misbehave, but once they hear there’s a pro fighter in the room, they are eager to ask questions, and show a true interest.
Glad to see you giving back to the MMA world and working with these young kids, they need good guidance not just a coach who will let them do what they want. What are your goals in the world of MMA? If there was one thing you could change (if anything) in your career what would it be and why?
Perry: Unfortunately, my career is nearing the end. I’ll be flipping the calendar for the 40th time next Monday. I plan to take 3 or 4 more fights, than call it a career and focus on coaching. The one thing I would change if I could, would be my last two fights. Due to my busy nature, I didn’t train nearly enough for the fights and as a result I lost. This eats at my soul more than anything I’ve ever done. With those losses, I lost an opportunity at Bellator MMA. So that hurt, and still haunts me.
I could see that and just how many things you have your hands in. Happy Birthday on Monday! My present to you will be the age old Fight Club question, if you could stand across the cage from anyone who would it be and why?
Perry: Chuck Liddell!!! In his prime. Chuck is my idol. I’ve had this question asked of me before, and I always get, “If he’s your Idol? Why would you fight him?” Simply out of respect is the reason. I would love to see how my hard head and right hand matched up with one of the Greatest! I always joke that if Chuck were to follow me on Twitter, I’d most likely act like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert, lol. Sorry if I ruined the interview by mentioning JB. Also, Dan Henderson would be my second option. How can you go wrong with Hendo?
We are gonna let that slide hahaha. Who are some of your favorite guys in the sport now and if you had to name your top 3 Pound for Pound fighters who would they be any why?
Perry: I have several guys to I enjoy watching in the cage. Benson Henderson, Jon Jones, Cheick Kongo, Cain Velasquez, and the list goes on and on… My top 3 Pound for fighters are:
1. Anderson Silva: Despite his recent loss, he is simply the best. Hands down!
2. Jon Jones: Young talent that seems to get better each time out. Amazing athleticism!
3. Frankie Edgar: This one always surprises everyone. Frankie is a BEAST! He comes to fight! I feel he beat Henderson and Aldo, but the judges saw it different. Never seen him get outclassed or out fought!
You just made the day of a lot of readers and co-workers like @toughprincessjn for naming Frankie! Ok last question, if someone came up to you looking to get into the world of MMA what type of advice would you give them?
Perry: Get your head examined, lol. No seriously, I tell them to always remember their roots and where they come from because to be successful in MMA, you need your family, teammates, and a lot of training. Nothing comes easy in this sport!
HAHAH I like that! Well thanks for all the time, before we let you go are there any people or sponsors you would like to mention?
Perry: I have several people to thank. First, my girlfriend Annalyse, she puts up with my crazy schedule and moodiness. My family, son Jackie and daughters Haley and Skyler for always cheering for me no matter the outcome, and their mom, Kelli who helps tremendously. My dad, brother, and grandmother, who always wish me the best. My teammates Randy, Miguel M., Miguel G., Jazmin, Josh, Devon, and everyone at Team Unleashed MMA. Last, but definitely not least, my sponsors, Val Ramirez from Revolutus Fightwear, Raul Corral from Raul’s Auto Body Repair, and Miles McDougal from Miles McDougal Construction, LLC for always having my back. Love you all!!!
Well there you have it fight fans, Carl Perry, yet another name you need to keep on your radar for the future! Make sure to get over to Twitter and follow him, he is a great guy to chat with and if you’re in the Bryan Texas area go check him out!