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Darren Till clears the air on infamous Mike Perry sparring session

Darren Till
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Darren Till had a memorable outside-of-the cage run-in with Mike Perry in 2018, and now, he’s sharing his side of the story.

When Till was making a name for himself in the UFC as a welterweight, he ran afoul of Perry on a couple of occasions, first when Perry confronted him following Till’s win over Donald Cerrone at UFC Gdansk, and then later outside of a hotel in 2018.

After some initial confusion over exactly what Perry was talking about, Till agreed to spar with Perry at the hotel.

“He comes up to me outside the hotel reception, he’s like, ‘Are you up for this later, this spar?’” Till recounted on the Anything Goes with James English show. “I said, ‘Yes, I am. Whatever time.’ He turned around and went, ‘I haven’t got no gloves.’ I went, ‘What? What do you mean? You want to ‘spa?’ I thought you wanted to go to a spa.’ And he’s like f*cking mental, he’s looking at me all confused, and I went, ‘Yeah, if you want to spar we can spar.’

“Later on that night he messaged me, ‘Are you ready?’ I was like, ‘Yeah champ, let’s go.’ Went down to the gym in the hotel and we done like five rounds of sparring.”

Perry has previously spoken about how the spar went down, calling the encounter “legendary” and giving Till plenty of credit for his effort. The incident appeared to end amicably.

“We were both nice, I’m not gonna lie,” Perry told TheMacLife in an August 2018 interview. “We were both nice because we weren’t trying to be disrespectful, and we wanted to see the movement. But we were cracking each other too, we went three five-minute rounds. We had a good little fight.

“I gotta say, man, it was a f*cking pleasure. F*ck it. I’m not going to say anything else, what is the world looking for me to say? That I won? No, nobody won. If he says he won, then f*ck you, Darren Till. But nobody won, we learned that day.”

According to Till, as time has passed, he’s heard differently. He said Perry has actually claimed victory over him, which is possible given that their feud escalated in the years that followed with the social media shots that became increasingly personal.

Regardless of whether or not Perry thinks he won the sparring session, Till believes that it’s irrelevant.

“I’ll never, ever say,” Till said. “Never, ever say. I don’t think—he’s actually said loads of times, ‘I beat Darren, I busted his face up.’ If that makes him feel good and sleep at night, that’s great for him, but this is the thing. I could go to Tyson Fury’s gym now and beat him up in a spar – he’s actually come to my gym and we sparred and I took him down, I’m an MMA fighter – [and] imagine me going around saying, ‘I beat Tyson in a boxing spar today.’ That spar means absolutely f*ck all, jacksh*t, you didn’t get paid for it. No one’s seen it. Sparring’s different. You don’t have the nerves, the crowd, everything involved.

“So for me to sit here and go, ‘I won Mike Perry in the spar,’ that’s bullsh*t, because even if I did or I didn’t it doesn’t mean a thing, because we could fight and he could just go ‘boomf,’ knock me clean out. What really matters? The spar that I beat on him or the knockout that he just placed on me in front of everyone? He’s come out and said loads of times, ‘I battered Darren in that spar.’”

Till thinks one of the reasons Perry has carried on with their feud is that it’s given Floridian more recognition. He also thinks that Perry may genuinely hate him now, a result of their different styles of humor and approaches to trash talk.

Currently, Till is working his way up the middleweight rankings, so a bout between he and Perry seems unlikely for now. Even if Perry moves up to 185 pounds, Till sees his one-time sparring partner as having a lot of work to do before they ever meet in the octagon.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love the feud with Mike Perry, but—not to be disrespectful—he’s nowhere near to be getting a fight with me,” Till said. “He’s not even ranked. He needs to beat people first before he fights me. I’m fighting the elites, I’ve fought the best, beat the best, and been beaten by the best. He’s not close. He’s not my weight, he’s not fighting the best – we’ve just got a little tit-for-tat feud going on.”

Watch Till’s full interview on Anything Goes with James English below:

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