Are you happy about Karo Parisyan being back in the UFC? I guess I am, but it would be nicer if we knew he’d gotten his problems under control. As of his last fight two months ago in Australia, he was still suffering anxiety issues to the point where he had to ask if he could fight earlier on the card so he could get things over with. And how about that painkiller addiction? You know, the one a friend described like this:
“Karo’s had some problems with an addiction to pain medicine due to an injury he sustained a few years ago,” began Melanson, who essentially began training under Karo Parisyan years ago while under the guidance of grappling legend Gokor Chivichyan in L.A., only to evolve to a point with his own grappling where he eventually became the teacher. “Then when he started having these anxiety problems, it didn’t seem like the anxiety pills were helping him. The only thing that was helping him was the pain medication that he had been taking for his injuries. That’s when he just started down that slope.
“He told me that he was on pain medicine, but he wanted to get off. He had a plan and he was working his way to get off of it. About a month ago he was taking about half the amount that he usually does and he was pretty optimistic. He was really trying to push it. He was going through some withdrawals and he would try to push it as hard as he could to get off the stuff. He really had a plan to be off three weeks prior to the fight and he really wanted to clean up. He really wanted to do this right. It was really important to him and his family. I hadn’t spoken to him for just a little bit, and I guess he tried, but he couldn’t.”
Well, according to Karo there never was a painkiller problem:
“My issues had to do with my anxiety problems and panic attacks,” said Parisyan. “Painkillers were thrown out there, but that wasn’t it. People made these accusations because I’d been popped for medication (months before). I’d taken two pain pills the morning of my fight for a torn hamstring and didn’t think much of it.”
Parisyan said he alerted an NSAC official that he’d taken the medication after the bout when he was asked for a urine sample. Parisyan said he was told it wouldn’t be an issue as long as he had documentation from his physician.
Parisyan didn’t have a prescription for the ingested pills — later identified as Percocet — which the fighter said had been given to him by a friend. Thinking the pills were the same as what he’d been prescribed, Parisyan said he was shocked to get the call a month later telling him that he’d be disciplined for it.
“Every fighter I know takes pain medication like it’s M&Ms,” said Parisyan. “I was the unlucky one who only took it the day of the fight without even thinking about it.”
I don’t know … you do have to jump through a lot of questionable logic hoops to make Karo’s version of the story work. I appreciate Dana White reneging on his ‘never / forever’ banning of Karo, but I do kinda wish he’d said “You’re welcome back when you’ve sorted your shit out” instead of bringing him back along with the same problems that got the guy kicked out in the first place.