10-time Muay Thai world champion John Wayne Parr is the latest fighter to challenge former
UFC title-challenger Dan Hardy.
The two veterans engaged in a friendly interaction on ONE
Championship’s Twitter page, acknowledging each other’s accolades and shared interest in a
Caged Muay Thai bout.
Parr is largely recognised as the creator of Caged Muay Thai, a sport which operates in an
MMA cage with 4oz gloves, under a Muay Thai ruleset. In comparison, traditional Muay Thai
bouts are fought inside a ring using a form of boxing glove. “The Gunslinger” came up with the
idea in large part due to his love for the UFC and MMA, to which he accredits his creation. Not only does
the Australian own the company, but he has also competed and become a champion inside it.
Since then Parr has been signed to ONE Championship, debuting in April this year against
kickboxing legend Nieky Holzken. The fight operated under CMT rules and was one that the 44
year old lost by vicious KO in the second round. Despite this loss and an incredible 148 combined
combat-sports battles, he has shown no interest in putting down the gloves.
Hardy on the other hand has been inactive as a fighter since 2012. In the meantime he has
used his understanding of the sport to become a top analyst and commentator for the UFC and BT Sports, whilst also building his brand Full Reptile and running Hardy Wallhead MMA – a gym which he
co-owns with British MMA pioneer Jim Wallhead.
The Nottingham born “Outlaw” was scheduled to fight Matt Brown back in April of 2013, before
being pulled from the fight due to abnormal findings in a pre-fight medical. Soon after he was
diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. NHS England describes it as “a relatively
common heart condition that causes the heart to beat abnormally fast for periods of time”. It is
caused by an extra electrical connection in the heart.
On the basis that it has caused him no actual problems, he has refused to have surgery to fix
the condition and consequently cannot get clearance to fight in the UFC. Despite this he has
shown a clear urge to step back into the cage in recent years, claiming he’d be willing to fight
the likes of Donald Cerrone, Matt Brown and even Nick Diaz, although acknowledging that
these matchups may never be a possibility.
“They’re not matching veterans with veterans anymore; they’re matching veterans with the newDan Hardy
guys coming up so that they can build the next name”
After being released from his commentary and analyst role by the UFC, Hardy also requested to
be released from his fighter-contract – a request that was soon granted by the company. As of
now, he is a free agent in the fight game and seemingly ready to go. A Caged Muay Thai bout against a legend such as Parr may offer that opportunity.
Seeing these two grizzled veterans of the fight game square off inside the cage would be a true
pleasure for any combat-sports fan. With both parties wanting in and ONE Championship
beckoning the idea of a matchup between the two, who’s to say that this once improbable
spectacle may cannot become a reality?