Recently, we here at KnockOut Lounge were fortunate enough to get to speak to current Bellator heavyweight contender Ron Sparks. Making his home at Louisville MMA along with four-time title holder John Troyer, HW am Ring of Rage champ Lorenz Larkin, and his coach Jason Weihe, the undefeated fighter has made a quick rise in the sport. With only 7 professional bouts under his belt, “The Monster” has become a force to be reckoned with and one of the favorites in the upcoming Bellator Heavyweight Tournament, tentatively scheduled to begin this fall. After enduring numerous fight cancellations with the likes of Bobby Lashley and Tim Sylvia, Ron signed a long-term deal with Bellator in December of 2010 ensuring that we will all be able to see his talents displayed on MTV2 for the foreseeable future.
Matt Eldridge: Hey Ron thanks for taking the time to speak with us here at KnockOut Lounge, it’s great to speak with you.
Ron Sparks: Thanks man, anytime.
ME: It’s great to see a fellow Kentucky boy making the big time. Especially when it’s someone that likes to knock people’s lights out in the first round.
RS: Appreciate it. Knockouts are what I like to do.
ME: Well let’s get to the first question here, Can you give the fans a quick summary of your background? What’s your biggest win, etc.
RS: Well I was a late bloomer. I have been doing Tae Kwon Do since I was 7, switched to boxing after that before taking up Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai around 16 or 17. I was a sparring partner for alot of guys before going pro.
As for my biggest win I would have to say that even though Vince Lucero was my best win against a big name, I feel that Jonathan Ivey was my biggest. It was my first time fighting in front of my hometown fans here in Louisville and he was a tough SOB. I went 20 minutes with him and earned the decision and I really felt that it was a big win.
ME: So what’s next for you? I have heard a lot of talk about the Bellator Heavyweight tournament, is that your next fight?
RS: Yeah that’s what is next for me. I don’t have a name yet but I’ve heard there are going to be some big names in that, Cole Konrad, Neil Grove, etc. And you know after having Bobby Lashley and Tim Sylvia back out on me, I’m ready for a big time fight.
ME: So the winner gets a shot at the champion correct?
RS: Yes the winner will fight the Bellator HW champion.
ME: Speaking of the Bellator champion, how do you feel you stack up against Cole Konrad?
RS: Well he has great takedowns. He’s a big guy, athletic, strong, he’s gonna be a handful. But everybody says I don’t have a ground game but I believe I could handle him on the ground. I’m going to get up, I’m willing to take a punch to do that, that’s something my coach always says to us. So I believe just bring it on and get the hell up…or I can just submit you. Because when I’m in side control, I’ll submit you, or I’ll find something to submit.
ME: So who’s your biggest inspiration? Your favorite fighter?
RS: Wanderlei Silva. No doubt about it. You know that attitude of win or lose I’m coming to fight. You’re going to know you’ve been in a fight. It’s gonna be a war and you’re going to have to KO me to beat me.
ME: What is the one aspect of your game that you’re trying to improve right now?
RS: I’m trying to work on my ground game. I want to hold positions better against wrestlers. My takedown defense is good, but I do get rolled over so I want to learn to hold position better. You know I rely on my strength alot.
ME: Where do you envision your career 5 years from now?
RS: Retired with a lot of money(Laughs)…No I just want to keep fighting. I enjoy the fight game, I enjoy the guys in the sport, and want to have the ability to keep going. I’d like to be the champion and although I know a loss is coming, I mean every MMA fighter takes a loss and it’s just a matter of time before I get mine. I would like to hold the belt before I’m done and have people go ‘Holy Shit, that’s Ron Sparks!’.
ME: Alright Ron I would like to ask you some quick hitter questions. Questions with one word answers that will allow the fans to get to know you better. Is that ok?
RS: Sure buddy bring it on.
ME: Alright, what’s your favorite movie?
RS: Enter the Dragon.
ME: Favorite band?
RS: Lynyrd Skynyrd.
ME: Favorite food?
ME: Favorite childhood toy?
ME: Chore that you hate doing the most?
RS: Cutting the grass.
ME: What actor would play Ron Sparks in his life story?
RS: Leslie Nielsen.
ME: What’s your guilty pleasure?
RS: Butter pecan.
ME: Okay last question…just what exactly is Ron Sparks afraid of?
ME: Alright Ron that’s all the questions I have for you. I appreciate the time and just want you to know that all of us here at KnockOut Lounge support you and wish you good luck. We will speak to you again before the tournament starts.
RS: Hey thank you. I like doing these types of things and am grateful to the fans, Louisville MMA, and my coach for all they do for me. I will speak to you soon. Thanks.
I want to extend special thanks to Ron Sparks, Louisville MMA, and Core Louisville.
Photo courtesy of Bellator Fighting Championships