“The Gunslinger” – John Wayne Parr holsters his firepower to sit down for a one-on-one with Muay Thai Guy. . .


Courtesy of John Wayne Parr.

John Wayne Parr is a fighter that needs no introduction to folks in the Muay Thai community, especially those in Thailand.

In his heyday, he gained enormous popularity among the Thai people for his dramatic, personalized wai khru – the holstering of his finger-pistol as a finale earning him his nickname. Today, the Gunslinger continues to push towards an ultimate and remarkable goal.

After his December 2017 win at Bellator Kickboxing 8: Florence, Parr is now just one win shy of reaching 100 across his long and storied career.

Lucky for us, the man known as “JWP” gave me the chance to pick the brain of a legendary fighter on approach to a monumental crowning achievement.


John Wayne Parr vs. Piergiulo Paolucci in Florence, Italy on December 10, 2017. JWP won the bout by Referee Stoppage. Courtesy of John Wayne Parr.

MTG: How did you initially get involved in this sport? What made you decide to make this a career?

JWP: My fascination with martial arts started when I was approximately two or three years old after watching TV shows such as Monkey Magic & Rock ‘n Roll Wrestling. It seemed like the perfect world.

I could learn how to defend people while looking sexy as hell doing it.

MTG: Outside of Yodsanklai/Mike Zambidis/Buakaw, who was your toughest opponent? 

Courtesy of John Wayne Parr.

JWP: One of my toughest fights was my fourth fight in Thailand in a small little stadium outside Bangkok. My opponent never turned up, so the promoter rang around frantically trying to find a replacement.

Ended up fighting a Thai a few kilos bigger and a southpaw. It was a five-round war and I only just did enough [in] the last 30 seconds to steal the fight.

After that, I proved to the camp I was the real deal and wasn’t going to give up if put in hard fights.

MTG: Who is your favorite Golden Era fighter and why? Who is the best in the sport now? 

JWP: I was lucky to fight around the same time as Namkabuan, “the Ring Genius.” He was the 90s version of Saenchai, always giving away weight to his opponent and always being two steps ahead to stay out of trouble.

Namkabuan was so good they banned one of his techniques. He would catch his opponent’s leg, then run them into the ropes [and] as they bounced off, he would hit them with a kick or a knee. Now if you catch you are only allowed to take one step.


MTG: In terms of gear, what brand do you typically stick with? Do you feel some brands hold up better than others or some are just hype behind a name? Or do you have no real preference?

JWP: I like any gear that’s made in Thailand. The Thais understand the sport better than anyone else and their gear is built for comfort and will last much longer than their cheaper competitors.

MTG: How do you feel about the future of the sport now that so many farangs have made a name for themselves in Thailand?

JWP: I think it’s great. It would be nice if Muay Thai had a bit more TV exposure in international countries with more shows, like 24/7 so the audience [can get] to know the fighters better in their home life instead of just in the ring.

But with Muay Thai in the Olympics in the near future, I can’t help but feel we are moving in a positive direction.

MTG: You retired from the sport a few years ago. What made you decide to come back? What do you plan to do in life once you’re done fighting?

JWP: At this stage, I’m trying not to think about it. I have my gym where I’m happy teaching classes and PTs. I’m also lucky to travel [and teach] seminars. We also host a few promotions every year both amateur and my professional caged Muay Thai show.

Hopefully that’s enough to keep me busy and pay the bills.

> You can find John Wayne Parr on Facebook and Instagram

Courtesy of John Wayne Parr.

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Walt Zink
Walt has been involved in Muay Thai since 2013, having two in-ring fights under his belt. His main passion, though, is photography. See more of Walt's work at

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