Mixed Martial Airman Published Sept. 10, 2014 By Senior Airman Gregory Ferreira 162nd Wing Public Affairs TUCSON, Ariz. -- After nine years of intense training and preparation, Tech. Sgt. Michael Parker is getting the opportunity of a lifetime. September 26, 2014 marks the day that validates the 162nd Wing aircraft engine mechanic's hard work and dedication as a mixed martial artist. He will fight in the prominent Bellator MMA fight promotion at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz. on that day. Nerves may affect anyone who is getting ready to throw down at such a popular venue; but for Parker, nerves are just a part of reality. "I get nervous four to five days before a fight, but I remember all of the efforts I have put into leading up to the fight and realize that I have done too much to not do it," said Parker. "It's like getting on a roller coaster and not looking back because you have no choice but to ride it out." Parker is familiar with this kind of roller coaster, having already fought a total of 28 mixed martial arts fights. This MMA lifestyle was sparked by the inspiration he felt when watching Pride Fighting Championship while on active duty in Japan years ago, said Parker. This balanced lifestyle comes with the challenges of maintaining a family life and an unwavering dedication to MMA. "I train four days a week on a regular basis and six days per week when preparing for a fight," said Parker. "Sundays are reserved for my family." Parker spends quality time with his family and strives to set a positive example for them. He and his wife have three children: a 17 year old, 12 year old and a six year old. "I see myself doing this for possibly another three years," said Parker. "I want to pass on my mixed martial arts legacy to my children." Mixed martial arts is more than just fighting to Parker. He said it teaches discipline, a hard work ethic and instills healthy confidence. Parker highly encourages fellow Airmen to try mixed martial arts. "Mixed martial arts is for everybody - just try it out and ask questions," said Parker. A proud member of the 162nd Wing, Parker wants his wingmen to know he is an Airman first, a fighter second. If you are interested in seeing Parker in action, contact him at 520-295-6534.