(Melanson and Parisyan, before it all fell apart. Props: elitefts.com)
In a new interview with Five Ounces of Pain, Karo Parisyan’s longtime friend and training partner Neil Melanson confirmed that Parisyan’s latest last-minute fight-cancellation was directly related to the painkiller addiction that has haunted him for years. After Melanson got permission from Karo to go public with the story, he laid it all out:
“Karo’s had some problems with an addiction to pain medicine due to an injury he sustained a few years ago. Then when he started having these anxiety problems, it didn’t seem like the anxiety pills were helping him. The only thing that was helping him was the pain medication that he had been taking for his injuries. That’s when he just started down that slope. It’s just one of those situations where you have two guys that sit down to have a drink, and you have one guy that can go home and he’s fine, and the other guy has to go out and get wasted every single time because he’s an alcoholic. I think that maybe with the pills, that Karo is the second guy. Maybe he’s the guy that can’t take them here and there, or can’t use them effectively…
He told me that he was on pain medicine, but he wanted to get off. He had a plan and he was working his way to get off of it. About a month ago he was taking about half the amount that he usually does and he was pretty optimistic. He was really trying to push it. He was going through some withdrawals and he would try to push it as hard as he could to get off the stuff. He really had a plan to be off three weeks prior to the fight and he really wanted to clean up. He really wanted to do this right. It was really important to him and his family. I hadn’t spoken to him for just a little bit, and I guess he tried, but he couldn’t.