Pro wrestler Mike Parrow, a 34-year-old independent grappler in Orlando, Florida, recently came out in an interview in which the 6’4”, 300-pound athlete discussed his journey towards self-acceptance and becoming engaged to the man he loves.
The coming out journey of pro wrestler Mike Parrow
After applying for law school following, a couple of his college friends encouraged him to pursue his interest in pro-wrestling, so he headed to Kissimmee, Florida to train at the 3D Academy.
Parrow has always known that he was gay, but growing up in a small New York state town as a Catholic schoolboy with a Sunday school teacher mother, he had no role models for how to conduct himself.
“So I tried to hide it,” he said. “I played football and did manly stuff. It wasn’t because I was gay. Those were the things I gravitate to – competitive stuff.”
He also dated some women and was admittedly mean to them amid his dissatisfaction and lack of attraction to them, something he wishes he could take back.
Parrow had hoped to explore his sexuality as a 20-something-year-old newcomer to Florida, but he said that local gay men called him a “fat ugly closet case,” effectively pushing him deeper into the closet rather than drawing him out of it.
Simultaneously, he worried that being outed as a gay pro wrestler could effectively end his career.
He fell into alcoholism and a deep depression, becoming angry and rude as a defense mechanism to keep friends and family from learning too much about him. He also contemplated suicide and even conversion therapy — something he calls “an absolute joke” — until a friend and a psychologist explained that his depression came from being closeted and not his authentic self.
Pro wrestler Mike Parrow gets a life … a love life
Soon after he met, Morgan, the man he would date for four-and-a-half years and eventually propose to. Because Parrow was initially closeted, he and Morgan almost broke up, something that crushed Parrow.
Parrow said, “I said to myself, ‘If you want this to work, you need to stop being so scared. You need to start being you.’” He called Morgan back and promised to go on real dates outside of his home and to start telling his friends about their relationship.
Soon after, he came out to his parents and they were accepting. His dad had figured it out from his son’s string of failed heterosexual romances and his mom simply said, “God doesn’t make mistakes.”
He has since wrestled for various independent pro-wrestling companies like American Combat Wrestling, the World Wrestling Network, Full Impact Pro, Full Throttle Pro Wrestling, RIOT Pro Wrestling and others, though he mainly works with Evolve and Major League Wrestling.
He can reportedly deadlift 700 pounds, bench over 545 pounds and run 40-yards in 4.9 seconds.