Des Moines heavyweight kickboxing champion Big Phil Conley 6’6’ 280 is finally cleared to fight, after being hospitalized back in February of last year. Admitted to Mercy Medical Center for several days suffering from a life threatening blood clot, forced Conley to withdraw from what was to be his pro debut at LFA 60.

Conley, a long time Porcelli Training Center fighter in a rematch, won The Fight Series Heavyweight kickboxing title January 2019 vs #1 ranked  (Midwest region) Darion Abbey via 2nd round TKO. Mid 2018 part I vs Abbey at TFS Bike Night Fight Night was an outstanding back in forth war of power and skill, which left me overhearing some in the crowd  saying it “was the best heavyweight fight of all time” Conley grabbing the 3 round decision. In the first fight Abbey came out strong, and elusive which appeared to either confuse or frustrate Conley early, neither men, backing up. The next 2 rounds was filled with blow after blow by both men Conley abandoning the kicks, had the edge in the 3rd with his hands, Abbey developing two swelling black eyes as the bout closed.

Residing in the Des Moines area, Conley is originally from the ‘Wild Wild 100’s’ part of town in Chicago, Illinois.

Conley: “ I felt like it was a totally different story (rematch). I felt like I was a lot more precise. I felt like that’s what he was gonna do (Abbey). He’s a real technical guy. I felt like I did that better. I don’t talk a lot, when I win I don’t jump up or none of that. My thing is just to perform.”

Chrisp: You did it just boxing him if I remember right, you didn’t even throw a kick did you?

Conley: “No, I didn’t throw a kick. I don’t like to trash talk, but I took that first fight on only like a week and a half notice. 

Chrisp: I wasn’t aware of that. I guess I never asked you about that, then. 

Conley: “Anthony Porcelli was like hey, I got a guy who can really strike (Abbey). Then Anthony spoke to Brian Green (promoter). I got a call from Brian about 11 o’clock and he was like, do you wanna fight this guy, he’s really good. I was like yeah, I’ve heard of that name. Yeah, I’m all for it, I believe in myself, I think I can.”

Leading up to that first fight, Conley, new to the social media experience found some of the displeasures we have all encountered at some point either directly or through the the social media grapevine.

Conley: “I was mad after that first fight because of the things I heard he was saying (hear say). I don’t know if he said anything, because I didn’t hear him say nothing. Now, I root for Abbey, after getting to know him and training together after LFA 60. I wish the best for him, I hope for him to succeed. I feel like I let him off the hook that first fight. He had me doing stuff I don’t normally do. He should’ve won that first fight. I’m brutally honest about it. I’m brutally honest about it, because I love the fight game so much. He could’ve won that first fight easily.”

In his introduction to NHB/MMA in the early 2000’s Conley went 10-1 as a amateur most notably holding a finish over a nationally ranked University of Nebraska wrestler, and 2 finishes over now PFL veteran Rakim Cleveland (Uncle Bucks & MCC). Conley took a long hiatus away from the sport returning in 2018. Plagued by injuries and sickness Conley explains he had to withdraw from AFC from pneumonia last minute, then had a long lay off suffering a torn lad as a result of the war vs Abbey (part l). After winning the TFS heavyweight title he then suffered a blood clot. While on lay off decided to take advantage, got a nagging knee injury checked out, that he had been fighting with for a while, diagnosed as a torn MCL. 

Conley: “I went ahead and got my knee checked out. With a blood clot, you have to wait a year anyway. I wanted to take care of that while I was away. I had been fighting with it since last year. I’ve been just trying to get healthy. It was a nagging issue from last year, I had just never got it looked at.”

7 months roughly since knee surgery, now fully recovered after a medical year lay off, Conley is eager to get busy in the scene, as I understood it. When asked, Big Phil said he bench presses anywhere from 425 to 515 lbs depending on what he has going on. Later on adding he has incredible strength. My conditioning is what I’m really good at. I’m also brute strong, dude. I’ve picked dudes up and just slammed’em on their face and head. I really want to showcase what I got.”

Chrisp: Do you have any fight plans or time frame lined lined up yet?

Conely: “It’s been kinda hard. I was thinking of Graham, but you know he already turned pro. I’m a firm believer of tune up fights after being laid off. I believe that’s one thing MMA is missing. I wanna get in there and get my timing right, and my mind adjusted. Then I wanna come right back (pro debut). We’re thinking of March or April. Then, not to be big headed, but come right back in 2 months to turn pro.”

I’m not looking to tell people I’m an MMA fighter. I feel like a lot of guys in this game, locally are looking to say I fight MMA or whatever. I’m not look’n to say that. I’m look’n to see if I got what it takes, and not waste time.”

I reached out to Conley’s long time coach, owner of Porcelli’s Training Center Anthony Porcelli.

Porcelli: “He has always trained with me, he’s a family friend. Phil helps with the boxing aspect at the gym, and the gym loves him. His recovery (Conley) has been slow, but seems to be back on track. He’s just ready to hit something.”

Chrisp: Tell fight fans how your NHB/MMA career got started.

Conley: “I got into a brawl at Big Dogs, and I used to bounce at a club called 101, and got into a brawl out there. Ryan Haas and John Halverson, they were like-you can really throw some hands, that’s how I got into it.”

Conley goes on to explain he continued to fighting in the area at bars that held non sanctioned NHB/MMA competitions around the early 2000’s time period.

Conley: There was a guy at Uncle Bucks, he wrestled at a university. He qualified in the Nationals, like he was a nationally ranked out of Nebraska. He was crush’n dudes in the Midwest and out west. I ended up boxing him out at Uncle Bucks. To come and find this out after, was great. 

Chrisp: Tell us more about your thoughts for 2020

Conley: “I wanna get this Ammy fight out of the way. I wanna get the jitters out, I wanna get my timing right. Then, I want to make a splash, and fight a real opponent, not someone who is 6-8. I mean, I want to fight a somebody. My goal this year is, I’d like to get at least 3 pro fights.I don’t know how the commission is here, but I know in boxing, if you do good and finish a guy with minimal damage received, you can get right back in there. I’m not trying to down play anybody, I just feel the scene here isn’t really relevant to what I have to bring. The only dude here is Patrick Martin, but I don’t wanna fight that dude man, he’s like my brother (teammate)”

When I discussed with Conley his insight on grudges, side taking, negative energy, and the positive involved the Iowa fight scene, he shares his perspective.

Conley: “I think we should all elevate each other, everyone of us. That’s what we should do instead of putting down this person, and that person. I’m into elevation, if we can help each other. That’s what I’m into. If we could all come together we would have a stronger base, like a pyramid. I’ve been through so much, I see people getting divided. Whether it’s selling drugs in a gang in Chicago, I see all of it. If you’re strong and both on the same path, it’s hard to take you off it, but I just feel like there’s so many different paths with some people feeling like they are better. Let’s create a better system where we all give input on. I’m a no non sense type of person.

People get mad at me because I don’t accept their friend requests (Facebook) saying they are a fighter too. I’m old school. It’s a hard adjustment for me because I came from one world, then into this (social Media). I went to Brian’s (Green) show and I had heavyweights look’n at me like…why are you look’n at me like that? I’m outta the game right now, like (chuckles) what is your issue? Like, everything is for sale now. It’s surreal, like I don’t have a problem with you. Why are you looking at me like that? It’s weird man, real weird.”


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