Michael Page: ‘I’m On An Old Contract In Terms Of My Value’
Bellator welterweight Michael “Venom” Page (12-0) is coming off of the longest layoff of his MMA career having last fought in November 2016, earning a split decision victory over Fernando Gonzalez at Bellator 165. The London native returns to action this Friday at Bellator 200, which will take place in his home country at the SSE Arena.
Page, 31, told FIGHT SPORTS it was “a mixture of injuries, politics and trying to just arrange getting back in” that held up his return to the cage. “Either way, I’m here now,” he said.
Lingering issues with his left knee became the main culprit for his delay in action. He explained the details:
“I’ve done ligament damage and stuff a few times now in the same knee. It’s just a bit weak, both sides, actually. But mainly my left [knee] and, yeah, so without my legs I can’t fight. So it was something I needed to rectify.”
Page said he “avoided surgery,” which he admits has likely added to his time away from competition. The undefeated welterweight contender switched up his training and sought out different methods to recuperate. He credits Paul Jarman of Back to Basics Therapy, who works at London Shootfighters where he trains, for helping with his recovery. Jarman has a background in holistic therapy, sports massage, osteopathic adjustments and trigger point therapy.
“I call him ‘Mr. Magic Hands,'” said Page, who won his professional boxing debut via TKO over Jonathan Castano in October 2017. “He’s helped me a lot in terms of my rehab and what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Now that he is back to health,”MVP” is excited to take on Rickels (13-4 2NC), a savvy Bellator veteran, who began fighting for the promotion back in 2011.
“He’s a very tough guy,” said Page. “He’s very experienced. He’s going to be bringing the fight to me every second we are in the cage, which is just going to make the fight that much more entertaining. I’m just looking forward to that fight because it’s going to add to how big this comeback is, [especially] because of his experience, his name and what he’s done as well in his own career.”
After his showdown with Rickels, Page said he has a couple things on his agenda: reworking his Bellator contract, and getting a shot at the welterweight title, which is currently held by Rory MacDonald.
“For me, I think the main thing is to sort out my contract with Bellator,” said Page, who has developed a friendship with British heavyweight David Haye, and trained with Haye’s trainer Ismael Salas. “I’m coming close to the end of it now, and I want to make a few adjustments on my contract. Once we’ve done that I’m good to take on the world, man. I think after the fight, it’s that, and I want to take the head of the snake and the title.”
There are three fights remaining on his current deal, according to Page, who explained the adjustments which he is seeking.
“The [number of] fights I’m not worried about,” he began, “It’s how much we get for each fight. I feel like I’m on an old contract in terms of my value. I just want to push forward. Like I said, and I’ve said it a few times, it’s a very tough sport that we are in and I feel like we put our bodies through a hell of a lot and we deserve to be paid for it, especially when we are going into these hard fights. Some of these fights take years off of you. It would be nice to get paid for it.”
He added: “And again, I’m happy at Bellator. I think they are a major organization. You can see how fast they are growing. You can see even in terms of the U.K., and what they are doing in the U.K. I’m surprised that they are even having such a big show over here. I’m still thinking that someone is going to get fired for making a mistake (laughing). But it’s definitely shows their intent for the U.K. MMA industry and they are growing really fast. I’m happy with what they do. They allow you to be an individual and they put on great shows.”
Once his contract is to his satisfaction, then his run at the title can begin, he said.
“Yeah, I’d like to [get a title shot]. Again, there is so much more to having this stuff come to fruition when it comes to making these decisions. If it was up to me, these kinds of things may happen a bit quicker. But there is a lot of stuff that people don’t see behind the curtains. We as fighters have to deal with that kind of stuff as well. So once that stuff is all set and in order, then definitely I want to go for the sword at the top of the hill.”
Page says fans should “expect to see excitement” on Friday in London.
“The reason I’m using the word ‘excitement,’ is because I’m excited to be back,” he said. “Usually I’m just excited about being in the cage and fighting because that’s what I love to do. But I’m excited to be back from such a long layoff, as well as being excited to be in the cage and just putting on a show. You are just going to see excitement. You’ll know I’ll have delivered. Think about that, and that’s what’s going to happen.”
And you can also expect to see his usual wild and unpredictable high-flying attacks.
“That’s just me. I don’t think I know anything else. That’s all I know. All I know is crazy.”