Law enforcement officers have pretty taxing jobs. They work all hours of the day and night, which in itself can be stressful. However, they also deal with people that want them when they need them, and don’t want them around at other times. It can definitely be a thankless job. However, many officers love what they do, and they make it work.
Harvey Park not only loves his role as a police officer in Clovis, N.M., but he also works part-time in Melrose, a small town about 20 miles away that does not have its own department. This doesn’t mean that he neglects his training needs, though.
“I’ve been on a swing schedule for a while,” Park told Combat Press. “I have two jobs. I work six days of the week. You just have to be efficient with your time. There is plenty of time in the day. I’m not sitting on the couch all day or sleeping a lot.”
Park is definitely good at maximizing his time, and it has paid off for him in the cage. In four and a half years, he has put together a successful 11-2 mark. Now, he is in line for a shot at the Legacy Fighting Alliance lightweight title. While his main gym is Eric Suan’s Force of One in Clovis, he also finds time to travel a few hours to cross-train as well.
“I’ve been spending more time in Albuquerque at Jackson’s Acoma with Nick Urso and Lando Vannata,” Park said. “We’ve been having higher-level partners to train with.”
Park’s last outing took place just a few months ago, when he faced Jaleel Willis at LFA 58. He won the fight with a first-round TKO.
“It was a short fight,” Park said. “I did feel comfortable in there. Every time you get in there, you feel a little more relaxed. I felt good. It was a good weight cut. I put a little extra muscle on, because he was a big guy, but it didn’t affect the weight cut or anything. It was a good experience.”
With the win over Willis, Park was set up for a title challenge against Austin Hubbard. However, Hubbard was picked up by the UFC, so Park is now paired with Demarques Jackson in a battle for the vacant belt.
“I had asked for [Hubbard], but I heard he had some bigger things in the works,” Park stated. “Congrats to him, because it’s always good to see guys make it to the big show. I’m sure they offered it to him, but he had some bigger fish to fry.”
Jackson is a worthy opponent, nonetheless. He currently sits at 10-2 and rides a three-fight winning streak, with two of the wins coming in the LFA and one in Bellator. Jackson is coming off a first-round guillotine choke over Bobby Lee in December. He is a thick lightweight. Park will have a four-inch height advantage, but the reach is almost identical.
“He’s going to be a tough opponent,” admitted Park. “He’s got some nice guillotines and excessive power in his hands. I’m anticipating a good striking match — not that we can’t end up on the ground. I’m pumped, you know? It’s a prestigious belt and a prestigious promotion. It will be a nice accolade for my career when it’s all over.”
Friday’s battle is a somewhat quick turnaround for Park, but this is typical for him. In fact, this will be Park’s third fight in only six months.
“I’ve been working and training,” said Park. “With the quick turnaround, not much has changed in my personal life. It’s almost like my social life goes on hold when I take a fight. I think it was about four or five weeks that I took off and then got right back into it.
“I think the UFC has set a precedent that they are snatching up all of the LFA champions. That’s what I’m hoping is next for me. I want to win this belt, and the rest of the year, I want to keep fighting.”
Park lives his life to protect and serve, except when he enters that cage. At that point, he goes into full attack mode. On Friday night, when he headlines LFA 64 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D., the career cop will get a chance to show the world why he earned the nickname “Fightbot.”