Despite Dana White’s declaration that Karo Parisyan had burned his last bridge with the UFC last year, Parisyan has been given another chance in the organization. According to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, Parisyan will return to the Octagon at UFC 123, likely against Dennis Hallman.
Less than a year after Dana White tweeted that Karo Parisyan would never fight again in the UFC, “The Heat” has been welcomed back to the organization and offered a fight against Dennis Hallman at UFC 123 in Auburn Hills, Mich.
MMA Fighting confirmed the news with two sources close to the situation, as well as Parisyan himself Thursday afternoon.
Both Parisyan and Hallman have yet to sign the bout agreements, which have been issued to both fighters, but both fighters have verbally agreed to the welterweight bout.
What’s surprising about this news isn’t so much that it happened, but the timing of it. Karo last fought in July at Impact FC 1 where he picked up a win over Ben Mortimer, but word was he struggled with the same pre-fight anxiety issues that has troubled him in the past. Sherdog’s Jordan Breen was there to document them.
Originally set to face tough Brazilian Luis Dutra Jr., Parisyan’s opponent was replaced early in the week after Dutra separated his bicep in preparation. Parisyan was then paired up against Ben Mortimer, a local with less than a year of pro experience. However, the switch to a seemingly less challenging opponent only seemed to agitate “The Heat,” who paced the fighter hotel nervously for much of the week. It became commonplace to hear people ask promoter Tom Huggins, “How’s Karo?”
“When you have an anxiety problem, everything gets to you,” Parisyan told Sherdog.com after his second-round submission over Mortimer. “Why’s the door closed? Why are the curtains open? You have to learn to control it. If anyone is ever in my shoes, they’ll never judge me over what happened with the UFC.”
Parisyan’s anxiety came to a head just less than an hour before fight time, when he asked Huggins to move his fight from the seventh to first in the bout order.
Parisyan’s connection to his family back in California was easily the biggest stresser for him. Not only did he worry about them, he worried about them worrying about him, which only exacerbated his anxiety. However, after the bout was over and Parisyan was able to talk to his family, he did a complete 180. Suddenly, the jittery, edgy character that had roamed the hotel halls all week was in the crowd taking pictures with fans, cornering other fighters and was all too excited to talk.
If the UFC was going to bring Karo back, I didn’t think they would do it until Karo had proven he had put all his issues behind him. I certainly hope that’s the case, and Karo moves forward with his career in the UFC, but until he makes it through a couple fights without any problems, everyone is going to continue to wonder, “How’s Karo?”
Image via Sherdog