When Harvey Park reports to his job each morning as a Curry County (NM) Sheriff's deputy, he has no idea how his day might unfold. As an MMA fighter, Park wants to present the same unpredictability to an opponent that he faces in his job.
Unlike many MMA fighters, Park came to the sport with no background in the martial arts. During a four-year stint in the U.S. Navy, Park began his career in law enforcement in a program called Master at Arms. After his discharge at age 23, he came home to Curry County and signed on as a sheriff's deputy. He lives and trains in Clovis. At approximately the same time, he began training toward an MMA career.
Not having a specialty in the martial arts, he believes, has been far more a blessing than a curse. In starting with a blank slate, he said, "you learn them all. … They've all kind of developed at the same speed." And now his versatility allows him to choose whichever fighting style he feels will work best against a given opponent.
At age 31, Park continues to develop as an MMA fighter. But law enforcement pays the bills for him and his family, and he has no plans to compete and train full time.
"I love MMA and I love being a cop," he said. "The good thing about what I'm doing is I don't have to fight. … I have a career."