If you haven’t followed the Muay Thai scene closely, you might not be familiar with John Wayne Parr. Born with the name Wayne Parr from Queensland, Australia he began training in Taekwondo at age 11. By the time he’d turned 14 he had his first professional fight. In 1995, Wayne Parr started competing in Thailand. There he became known for imitating a gunfighter during the traditional Wai Kru, a Thai ritual in which students pay respects to their teachers. From these thematic gunfighter exhibitions he earned the nick name “John Wayne” Parr. Since then he’s captured 10 world titles and is considered to be one of the top foreign Muay Thai Fighters of all time.
With the popularity of The Contender, a reality show based on boxing competition, The Contender: Asia was released in 2008 featuring the likes of Yodsanklai Fairtex and John Wayne Parr. Parr ended up coming short losing out to Yodsanklai in the finale, however that did not deter Parr from his goals.
Intent on having another go at martial arts themed reality competition John Wayne Parr tried out for The Ultimate Fighter Australia. At the same time it was announced that Kyle Noke and Patrick Cote would be representing the UFC as coaches during that season.
Parr, despite having nearly 130 fights under his belt, only had two fights in actual mixed martial arts competition and since contestants on The Ultimate Fighter were required to have at least five MMA fights on their card, the former Muay Thai World Champion was rejected.
His efforts to break into the western Mixed Martial Arts market did not go unnoticed. While Parr may not have secured a spot on the cast of TUF reality show, he has gained the attention of world famous Welterweight UFC Champion, Georges St. Pierre. It appears Parr’s expertise is being added St. Pierre’s extensive list of top training resources and will be his personal striking coach for the upcoming bout with Johnny Hendriks at UFC 167. Wisely, St. Pierre has not overlooked Parr’s skills, unlike the casting directors of TUF.
Say what you will about the rules admission for TUF tryouts but it’s pretty evident if anyone has a good eye for talent it’s GSP. Some might think the UFC TUF team may have missed the boat on this, however this might just be the beginning of a much longer career in MMA for the venerable fighter. While Parr is now 37-years old bringing him into the fold as a lower ranked competitor may remind those who’ve been following UFC a while how Kid Yamamoto was brought in too late and thus didn’t do as well as many may have hoped. Kid Yamamoto was nothing short of being a beast in Japan putting on exciting fights and when he was finally brought in to the UFC, he just wasn’t the same fighter anymore.
All that being said, if UFC 163’s main card result has proved anything it’s that age vs. experience can prove to be a wild card during a fight. Just take a look at the odds against Perosh pulling off the victory he did against Magalhaes. Definitely unexpected, but as it’s been said many times, “anything can happen in the octagon”. It would be wise for Dana to take a second look at this fighter, and possibly others that may have been tossed aside like stale produce. The UFC needs more exciting fights and less flashy antics reminiscent of WWE sensationalism. Fighters like Parr, could bring a whole new level of competition to the fray.
At the very least, Georges St. Pierre believes he has something significant to offer him. What’s good for this Canadian goose may be good for the gander of MMA fans everywhere!