Mike Murphy: The Thinking Man’s Fighter
Whenever a mixed martial arts fighter is getting ready to make a debut he wants to do two things: 1. Win the fight and 2. Make a lasting impression doing so. Mike Murphy was able to do both last month at Elite 1 with a 22 second knockout of Michael Waugh. He will look to continue to make an impression when he fights Jon Williams at Extreme Cage Combat 11: Redemption this Saturday in Halifax at Palooka’s gym. While Williams does have an experience advantage, Murphy wants to keep busy in the fight game.
“I pretty excited to just get back in the gym after my last fight,” says Murphy. “I was in the Monday following the match which I was happy about. I wasn’t really sure who I was going to be fighting but I found out it was him and it should be really good.”
Coming into this fight, Murphy brings in some hype. While it is hard not to ignore what he did in his debut, he does have some experience from his amateur background. Over the past year, he has been around the Maritimes collecting a record of 4-0. He started training when he moved from Halifax last year to start school from Powell River, BC. He has been studying various forms of martial arts; learning karate as a youth and tackling judo while he was in high school. In a comparison, he has had the same start as former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra. He would watch various UFC tapes and teach himself how to do Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai because the outlet was not there for him. When he moved to Halifax, the time from his self-training and Titan’s gym has helped him to where he is today. The mix between the two gave him the idea of when he would be ready to make the switch from amateur to professional. Murphy talks about the decision,
“When I first came out to Halifax there was no amateur MMA. I actually fought in the first amateur mma event on the East Coast. I was originally going to fight pro but I looked around and seen on the internet reading that fighters from the United States and other parts of Canada that they would fight with a number of amateur fights under their belt before they would go pro. I wanted to get a year of training at an actual MMA gym because I have never trained at one before. I at least wanted to get a good year before I went pro. I was able to get the experience and get those fights and get a solid year of training and now this is my second year of training at Titan’s and I just felt I was ready to go.”
Murphy does not look like the stereotypical fighter – there are no bulging muscles and numerous tattoos to be found. Murphy stands at about 5’4 and and looks scholarly in his glasses. While we have seen teachers, investment bankers and others make the transition to MMA, not many fighters study the world’s great thinkers like Murphy. He attends Saint Mary’s University where he majors in Philosophy with a minor in Political Science. While there have been many great minds throughout the history of the universe, he tends to likes the classics.
“Right now I have been studying more of the political theorists. My favourite philosophers are the ancients Greeks. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle – the classics” says Murphy.
While he does juggle his schedule around school and training, he has fit in nicely with his Titan training partners. During his time, he has been getting to know his teammates and jokes around with them on a daily basis. He does have his own nickname thanks Welterweight veteran Ricky Goodall. While Murphy gave Goodall the finger after being asked the question, he has been a good sport with his new handle and has taken it all in stride.
“They have started calling me Father Murphy,” says Murphy. “They do it because I am Irish and Catholic. I go to church and I am religious. They kind of joke around saying here comes Father Murphy to show us what’s what. I have a couple of nicknames around here but I don’t know what I am going to go with. We will see.”
Fans will see how Murphy does in his second pro fight at ECC this weekend.
* Photo courtesy of Tanya Everett Photography