wrestling / News

TJ Perkins Reveals Bellator MMA Offered Him a Fight Contract, Discusses Superstars Failing 205 Live Weigh-Ins

September 12, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
TJ Perkins

WrestlingInc.com recently interviewed former WWE Superstar TJ Perkins (TJP) for its WINCLY podcast. During the interview, Perkins revealed he received a fighting contract offer from Bellator MMA. Based on the interview comments, he hasn’t yet fully turned it down. Below are some highlights from WrestlingInc.com.

TJ Perkins on receiving an offer to fight in Bellator MMA: “I kinda had the same reaction that everyone else did. Your guess is as good as mine. It was around my birthday week where I was in between travel and my manager forwarded me this offer. It’s probably the most out-of-left-field offer I’ve gotten since I was asked to do a Bar Mitzvah after I left WWE.”

TJ Perkins on his background training in MMA: “It’s not something that I talk about a lot because it doesn’t seem to be totally relevant. My heart’s never really been in MMA so I can see why people think this is out of left field. But I can fight a little bit and I started training back when I was being recruited by New Japan. Before they sent me to The Dojo in Tokyo, I started out in Los Angeles and it was more or less an MMA thing; we did zero pro wrestling. … We would get a lot of guys from Shark Tank or the Raw Center in LA that were in camp. They would hold their camp at our facilities so most of my early training was getting my ass kicked by those guys.”

TJ Perkins on the styles he’s worked with: “For the most part it’s muay thai and BJJ (Brazilian jiu-jitsu). That’s pretty much what we did everyday and we had different coaches who came in and work with us like Ken Shamrock.We had a stand-up boxing coach who, for a while and before I debuted in Japan, he was trying to talk me out of doing wrestling, not because I was an excellent boxer but because of my age, potential and athleticism. He wanted me to go into boxing and take me into the Olympics and do amateur stuff from there.”

Perkins on how he felt about the offer: “Initially, like anybody else, I saw the fun in it. It’s not something I ever wanted to do professionally as my heart wasn’t into it at 17-18. I had a lot of people tugging me in that direction but I always wanted to stick with pro wrestling,” stated TJP. “But it’s fun thinking of the offer. I still train and I spar and roll all the time so the idea of getting in and doing something I enjoy in that setting sounds like a lot of fun. But the adult in me kicked in and I had to think about other details with it.”

Perkins on Bellator MMA wanting him to fight at 170 pounds: “I’d have to gain to get to what they were looking at. It was 170 or above initially and I would probably be a 155 guy if I was at a fight weight and probably training.”

TJ Perkins on his focus being pro wrestling: “I don’t know. That’s one of the things I’d think more about after the fact…Pro wrestling is gonna always be my career. In a way that [Manny] Pacquiao has to manage being a senator and fight, for me pro wrestling is always gonna be 100 percent. If I do anything else, whether it’s fighting or acting, I have to find time for wrestling as this is the busiest window of my career.”

Perkins on his window to accept the fight: “I don’t think there’s a window where it ends. I just think that scheduling and then weight will be the biggest hurdles. Once I realized what weight bracket I would really be in because pro wrestling weights are inflated.”

TJP on WWE having real weigh-ins for 205 Live that wrestlers failed: “We did have real weigh-ins which was funny and we also had people failing those weigh-ins which was funny as well. But in this case, once both sides settle on what weight I need to be at, it made it a little further as far as the gap. And then financially too – finding the right deal that would make sense for both sides because what would be a great offer for an MMA fighter on the card placement that I may be at may not make as much sense for me because I make differently as a pro wrestler.”