When he’s not lighting up the stage at Wild ’n Out or being crowned the rebuttal king of battle rap, it’s hard to find Corey Charron doing anything but watching MMA.
MMA Twitter and Reddit discussions don’t last long without somebody subtly praising themselves for being a “diehard” fan. Something as simple as a Robbie Lawler fight announcement or a Sakuraba PRIDE throwback can be all it takes before the community begins going deeper and deeper into the crates for a memory to top the previous post. Credit where it’s due, MMA has a stronger contingent of “diehard” fans than almost any other sport, but it’s hard to top the level of fandom some of the guys outside of the forums can boast.
“My dad has been a huge, huge MMA fan,” said battle rapper Corey Charron. “He actually watched UFC 1 back in the day when I was really young and wasn’t even aware of it. He’s so old school he used to pay someone who had a newsletter. He’d sell it for like ten bucks and he’d let people know when the UFC events were. He’s been following from the jump.”
Raised in an MMA household, it didn’t take long for Charron to find himself drawn in, as well. The sport transformed from “something my dad would watch” to “something I’d bond with my dad over” to “my favorite thing to watch outside of battle rap” for Charron, and it all started in what may one day be looked at as the “Golden Era.”
“I’ve been following from around the Forrest Griffin era, the Anderson Silva era, GSP,” Charron said. “It was pretty much just to spend time with my dad and go to a bar, get some chicken wings. I didn’t think much of it, but I got hooked right away and started watching pretty much every UFC card. I kind of dove on the path of watching every PRIDE event and all of the other organizations.”
In recent years, Charron’s schedule has seemed to fill up at the same rate as the UFC’s. Off weekends don’t come around often, but come hell or high water, he’s tuning into the fights. From PPVs to the Contender Series, Charron rarely misses a fight, no matter what’s on his plate for the weekend.
“A lot of the time, battle rap events are on a Saturday, so when I’m performing, sometimes it overlaps and I don’t catch the live pay-per-view, but I still watch it after,” Charron explained. “I would have to say I watch 100% of the pay-per views. If I don’t watch it live, I watch it the next day and then the fight nights I would say I probably catch a good 70-75%.”
The sport has taken over Charron’s life to the point that it frequently bleeds into his battle rap career. Everybody from Conor McGregor to Ronda Rousey to Bas Rutten and more have gotten airtime in Charron’s battles.
With the “rhyme-ability”, so to speak, and the mainstream attention they’ve gotten, fighters such as Forrest Griffin and Anderson Silva seem to come up relatively often in battle rap. Every rapper has mentioned the biggest names in the game, but none of them are delivered with quite the detail and knowledge as they are when Charron delivers them.
“I got the spot movin’, old school MMA, even my boss rootin’” Charron delivered against Hollow Da Don at a recent battle. Surprised the crowd even knew the reference, he repeated the line before continuing and flashed back to a line he had passed up on saying, assuming the crowd wouldn’t understand.
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“I know when I battled Hollow Da Don, now that I’m thinking of it, I wanted to say something, I don’t know how I was going to rhyme it. ‘Don’t got all day, I’m Volkanovski, this isn’t gunna go Holloway.’ I was thinking something like that but then I was thinking, ‘I don’t know if anybody in the crowd has even seen Volkanovski and Holloway,” Charron laughed.
Over the years, the references have gotten further and further into the MMA weeds. From telling rappers he feels are too reliant on gun-heavy rhymes they’re as dependent on arm bars as Ronda Rousey to saying when he’s battling that he’s just catching bodies for pride like Fedor, Charron continues to be pleasantly surprised by the general public’s knowledge of the sport he loves.
“I was surprised when the Bas Rutten line even got a reaction because I thought that would be a reference most people wouldn’t catch,” Charron said. “Maybe I’ll have to start digging into the crates and test the general public’s MMA knowledge and do a Josh Koscheck bar or something. Maybe it’ll test the limits and somebody will set up an all MMA-themed battle where every bar is an MMA bar or something, who knows?”
As much as it may seem like he aims for an MMA reference per battle, Charron laughs and explains it’s simply a product of an obsession for a sport that is fast-moving and full of action.
Admittedly lacking the athleticism to master the spor,t Charron is more than content watching the fights with his dad, getting in the “training camp mentality” leading up to a battle and benefitting from not (often) getting hit, himself when the show is over.
“They do have similarities, even though one’s a physical sport and one’s a mental sport, I guess,” Charron said. “It’s people who take time to train for each other, watch other’s footage, prepare, gameplan because it’s all written these days; it’s not freestyle. It’s one-on-one competition against each other, so they do have similar aspects.”
The bulk of Charron’s highest highs will always come from the battle rap career that put him on the map, but MMA has played a large role in his life. From watching Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar with his dad, to being in the arena when GSP submitted Michael Bisping, the Charron family still has plenty of fights to watch and rounds to prepare.
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