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XFC 20: Dual interview with former opponents now teammates Chris Wright and Chad Perrine

Both Chad Perrine and Chris Wright will be going to battle at “XFC 20: High Octane” in Knoxville, Tenn. this Friday, Sept. 28. Chad Perrine is taking a tough fight on the undercard against Ian Boxhorn out of Johnson City, Tenn. and Chris Wright will be the first televised fight on AXStv against Nate “The Train” Landwehr out of Clarksville. Both Chad and Chris were gracious enough to sit down and talk with me about their careers thus far and how excited they are to compete this Friday:

How/Why did you get into this sport?

Chad Perrine: I actually went to watch a friend fight in Kentucky, someone’s fighter didn’t show up and I was asked if I wanted to fight. So I weighed in, didn’t have any training at the time but still thought it was a good idea. Ended up fighting a guy 7-2 at 185 lbs., put up a good fight till I was choked out in the first round guillotine. Right then I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

Chris Wright: To make money for my Detroit family. None of us are well off financially YET.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Chad Perrine: My biggest inspiration is my parents. They really believe in me  and I get so much help from them every day. I really need to take this thing all the way to show them all the effort they put into my dream will pay off.

Chris Wright: My Granny is my biggest inspiration. She was a fighter in every aspect. Granny showed me how to be tough, lead, love and take care of the family. I feel like she passed that part of her spirit on to me.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome in your life?

Chris Wright: Making it out of Detroit. Looking back I had more good times than bad times. Back then, those bad times had me thinking of killing myself but God brought me through.

What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done for someone?

Chris Wright: I haven’t done it yet. Or maybe I have. It depends on the difference it made to that individual person so I don’t know. I don’t keep record. I just do my best to help whoever I can.

What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?

Chad Perrine: It means everything for me to be a fighter. I have been fighting all my life. The thought of doing it for a living is like a dream and I know with hard work and the right people in my corner I can make that dream reality.

Chris Wright: It’s a testimony that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

What separates you from every other fighter in your division?

Chad Perrine: The only difference is who wants it more. Throughout my whole career I have thought I wanted it more than the other guys. Now I know I do. I get up every morning at 2:30 a.m., go to work till 11:30 a.m., run the 3 miles home, get about a 2 hour nap, drive an hour to train, get back home around 10-10:30 p.m., get another nap at around 11:30-12:00 and do it all over again. Come September 28 it will be a different fighter in the cage and everyone will see how bad I want it and what separates me from the other fighters in any weight division.

If you could have a dream fight against one fighter, who would it be? Why?

Chad Perrine: My dream fight would be with whoever is the champ. The ultimate goal is to be the champion of the world. I know with hard work I can reach that level and I will.

Who was the toughest fight of your career so far?

Chris Wright: Larry DiGuilio! I fought with a broken hand and rib. We beat each other up fairly bad. (*laughs*)

What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career?

Chad Perrine: I want to be remembered as the greatest fighter to ever live.

Chris Wright: I want to be remembered for taking care of the hood. Making a difference…

What are the three most important things a successful fighter needs?

Chad Perrine: You need to have the right people behind you – a fighter will never be successful without great coaches and team to help you get to the next level – a fighter has to be dedicated to everything that comes along with fighting and you
have to love what you do or you can never do what it takes to be a champion.

Chris Wright: 1) God 2) Something/someone to fight for 3)The right coach.

Chad, you have fought KMAA fighters four times as an amateur: Chris Wright once, James Adcock once and Chris Wolff twice – ending up with a 2-2 record. What made you choose to come train at KMAA? How were you received there? What concerns did you have coming to train at a new gym?

Chad Perrine: It was an easy decision for me. I knew if I wanted to be successful I needed to train with the best fighters and have the best coaches to get there, so KMAA was my first choice.

Chad, you originally trained at House of Pain, which became Brawler University, where you had a tough squad of guys – what happened to those guys? If you could bring any of your old training partners with you to your new gym, who would you bring and why? A lot of people think that MMA is a solo sport, meaning you do it on your own, can you talk about the importance of a team / teammates when going into a fight?

Chad Perrine: To me MMA is definitely not a solo sport, you need the right people behind you and guiding you in the right direction; helping you believe in yourself. You need the right coaches to push you and without the right training partners, with the same goals, you have you can’t push each other to make it to the next level. At KMAA I have all of that with a great team and the best coaches. I loved training with the guys at my old school. None are actively fighting today that I know of and I really don’t think we had the same kind of goals. I’m just really glad to be able to be part of the KMAA family and will take this as far as I can take it.

Chris, at one point in your career, you fought Chad Perrine for the Caged Aggression 135 belt – what’s it like to have a former competitor be a teammate? Can you tell us the importance (if any) of having a team/teammates going into a fight?

Chris Wright: Chad was a beast back in the day, I always knew he was gonna bring it to me in a fight. IN the gym though, he’s totally different – he’s a different kind of beast. He’s really hard working and patient and he knows when to turn it up and when to turn it down. It was no wonder he was a great fighter, but it’s turned out he’s one of the best training partners I’ve ever worked with.

That’s the thing really. Having training partners that will help each other out instead of trying to focus on winning everything is what makes a great team. Who cares who wins every time you roll in the gym? There aren’t any medals at the end of BJJ class. Having a partner that will drill with you and help you get specific details of a technique right are worth their weight in GOLD!

Chris, in your last fight with Len Cook you fought at 130 lbs, in this fight you’re fighting at 145 lbs yet the rankings have you listed as the no. 1 pro fighter in TN at 135, what’s with all the random weight classes.

Chris Wright: It’d be nice if I could find more guys to fight me at 135… but there just aren’t many guys who will do that…

You can learn more about Knoxville Martial Arts Academy at www.knoxvillemartialartsacademy.com. Also, be sure to check out “MMA Coach’s Corner” the ProMMAnow.com’s bi-weekly blog from KMAA head coach Eric Turner.

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