WongSik “Parky” Park made his MMA debut in 2006 before he was 20 years old. Now with a record of 9-3-1 in some of the biggest competitions in Asia, and his mandatory military service almost behind him, he’s ready and eager to get back on his path to a championship belt.
Parky’s MMA debut was at Japan’s MARS 5. Both he and Team MAD teammate Bae MyoungHo suffered losses that outing, but then launched into winning streaks securing spots in M-1. And that’s where the similarity in the Legend FC Welterweight champion’s and Parky’s careers diverged.
Parky was given the opportunity to fight in DEEP, and he went on a tear. At DEEP 41st Impact, he shared the card with Tomoya Miyashita, Joe Taimanglo, Hiromitsu Kanehara, Kazuyuki Miyata, and Kazunori Kikuno who won the grand prix and captured the DEEP Lightweight belt. Parky faced Naoki Matsushita – an 8-year veteran of the JMMA scene with an impressive list of past opponents – and handed him his first 1st round loss in three years. In his next six fights, he continued the carnage and never saw a fight go to decision, or even out of the 1st round.
DEEP promoted him from undercard to main event at DEEP Nagoya, and Parky proved his worth with a head kick that split open Atsuhiro Tsuboi’s skull; blood flowed like a faucet. Targeting the injury, Parky got the win by doctor stoppage at 3:21 in. At DEEP 43, he was put back on a top card with the likes of Imanari, Otsuka, and headlined by Ryo Chonan making his triumphant return to JMMA against Jutaro Nakao. Parky’s reach and height proved to be a distinct advantage as he spent the first three minutes landing kicks, knees and punches to an unanswering Yiuchi Ikari. Ikari determined his only strength was to take down Parky, however Parky returned the favor and secured a RNC forcing Ikari to tap with just two seconds left in the round.
After this, Parky stated that he wanted to challenge the DEEP Lightweight champion Katsunori Kikuno for the belt.
The performance was impressive enough to get DEEP boss Saeki Shigeru talking. As Nightmare of Battle reported from the original DEEP blog post-event, Saeki revealed that Parky would be headed to DREAM and said the match may happen later if both players continue to keep fighting their hardest.
And in October of 2009, Parky made it into the big leagues. At DREAM 12, he was matched against former UFC lightweight and DREAM Middleweight grand prix finalist Kuniyoshi Hironaka. For the first two minutes, Parky didn’t look overfaced as he traded kicks and stuffed takedowns. The action picked up when Parky landed a right hook that stunned Hironaka, who in the resulting melee of defending, caught Parky with an accidental glove to the eye. After the round closed, Parky’s team disappointingly threw in the towel because of the eye injury, and he experienced his first defeat since his debut three years earlier.
Back on the next DEEP 48 card, Parky faced ten year JMMA stalwart Ryuki Ueyama. Parky was swarmed but weathered the initial assault, to eventually come back into stunning form with some punches that rocked Ueyama, who resorted to a shoot and ate a knee and some soccer kicks to the head on the way in. The ref stopped the fight and Parky celebrated the win, only to be told knees to a grounded opponent were illegal. Eventually the fight was ruled a NC.
Parky cruised through Grachan and Gladiators to two more wins at the end of 2010 to earn a spot on Sengoku’s year-end card, Soul of Fight. His opponent was the Lightweight King of Pancrase, All Japan wrestler, and PanAm medalist Maximo Blanco. Parky knew his opponent and played a very cautious game, proving he possesses the additional skill of strategy. By circling outside Blanco, the match stayed standing and while both traded shots, it was clear Blanco was facing a greater challenge than he had in previous bouts. The match went the full distance, and the judges’ score sheets read 30-30, 29-29, and 29-29. The must decision was squeaked out unanimously in favor of Blanco, and Parky experienced his first loss in a year and first three round fight in almost three years.
Sengoku’s major sponsor’s sudden disappearance and their subsequent radio silence – only a functioning yet dated website remains along with sporadic cryptic quotes heavy with anticipation on their Facebook page – left many players out in the cold. But not Parky. He couldn’t have foreseen the decline of major Japanese MMA promotions, yet he chose that time to fulfill his required two years of South Korean military service. In March, his service will be complete.
Parky is looking excitedly towards his future, and he considers himself still a professional fighter. His contract with DREAM stands, so he looks to fight again for the promotion in April or May. He wants to get busy and fight a total of four more times in DREAM and DEEP this year, and then he sees an even bigger future for himself overseas. However, Parky is quick to agree that it is very important for Asian MMA to grow. His career has been in Asia and he thinks that foreign champions facing Asian champions on Asian soil is a solid path to make Asian MMA as strong or stronger than western counterparts.
Parky is a young fighter with a taste of the big leagues and his future wide open in front of him. With his experience, intelligence, and definite motivation, he can and will continue on his path to a championship belt, no matter what country it’s in.