Profile: Michael Murray

Welcome back to school Black Bears! This Saturday, the Collins Center is hosting one of the first events of its kind with the New England Fights event “NEF 40: School of Hard Knocks”. This event will feature three professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters along with 14 amateur fighters. I had the chance to interview Mike Murray, who will be defending his 1-0 record against Jordan Crim who holds the same record. Mike is from Wayne, Maine and is currently serving in the United States Marines.

Mike began his passion for the sport at a young age, when he took up karate and eventually also became skilled in judo and muay thai. He also plays the piano and violin, as well as having a YouTube channel dedicated to magic with nearly 900 subscribers. He describes his love for MMA as giving him a “sense of pride and confidence” that he wouldn’t imagine for himself if he hadn’t stepped into the sport.

Murray also says that while many people don’t go into MMA to make friends, he has made some great friends through the sport. “I’ve met some of my best friends through this sport”, he told me. He also said that competition with himself is what really motivates him to keep going and training to be better. Humbly, he told me that, “To be honest, being locked in a cage with someone else isn’t a fear of mine because it’s not being locked in there with them. It’s being locked in there with myself.”

Mike also told me about what goes into prepping for a competition. Both your physical and mental strength must be at its best, along with strict changes in your diet. For him, he says that the diet is the worst part of prep. “I absolutely love sweets, so it’s a hard thing for me to not be able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.” On top of diet changes, Mike told me that cardio workouts as well as MMA training in and out of the gym is ramped up leading up to a fight.

Outside of being a UFC professional hopeful, Mike is currently active duty as a 0351 Assault-Man in the United States Marines. He is currently stationed in Georgia and is being relocated to California in March. He is a team leader for six other soldiers, who he says “[are] the reason I get up every day and actually want to go to work. I love my guys.” He is planning on finishing out his contract with the Marines and pursuing MMA as a career afterwards, but nothing is set in stone yet.

For anyone who is interested in training in MMA and potentially competing, Mike told me that this sport is not for people who are not headstrong in themselves. “[This sport] is very challenging, and that’s why many people can’t stick with it.”

Thank you for your service, Mike!

For more information on the event and for tickets, go to the Collins Center for the Arts website: