Michael 'Venom' Page outside Old Trafford.

How United inspire Michael ‘Venom’ Page

Wednesday 11 May 2022 05:00

Michael ‘Venom’ Page, or MVP as he is commonly referred to, is one of the finest in the game when it comes to mixed martial arts.

He’s world-renowned for his skillset inside the cage and we spoke to the Reds fan ahead of his Bellator 281 fight against Logan ‘Storm’ Storley on Friday 13 May.

Michael, it’s been a while since we last caught up, what have you been up to? 
“I’ve just been in preparation for this next big fight, it’s been a pretty tough camp actually. I was training for one particular opponent, but obviously that changed so we’ve just doubled-down and kept going, working hard, hoping to get a result.”

For those that don’t already know, when did you start supporting Manchester United?
"I was probably about six or seven years old. It’s because of my best friend at the time, James. I didn’t used to watch or play a lot of sports, but he told me that they were the team to support. I ended up getting my first Pro Evolution game on the PS1, and started playing as United, through that I learnt about the players and have been supporting United ever since."

Page was at Old Trafford for last week's 3-0 win over Brentford.
What does it feel like coming to Old Trafford?
"It’s great! I’ve been here before but it’s always good. The atmosphere, wow.  Sometimes when you go into certain stadiums or arenas, you can just breathe in the air and know that there’s some serious history in those places. It’s just always great to be here."

Who is your all time United hero?
"That’s a difficult one. I’d say it’s between two people. The first being Ronaldo, for a lot of different reasons, just because of him as an athlete, how he carries himself and what he represents. The second would be Eric Cantona, more because he was the main reason that when I was younger, I stuck with supporting United. The flick of the collar, everyone was doing it at school, you know?"
What does United mean to you?
"It’s just been a big part of my life. I think everyone can always remember moments of their life because of big games that have happened. And United games have been with me since a young age. My grandfather and mother are United fans, so it’s a family thing too."

You’re fighting in London soon for Bellator 281, how do you prepare for your fights? 
"It’s a lot of time spent in the gym. I get these rare occasions like tonight where I can come out for special moments, but it has to be special to get me out of the gym! It’s a lot of time and effort spent in the gym, it’s been a tough one as I said. But it’s a case of you put your body under so much stress, so when you’re able to release that in competition, I turn into a different character." 

MVP outside OT.
Cristiano Ronaldo is known for his winning mentality, where do you think you get yours from?
"Manchester United definitely has a part to play in my mentality. As do the other influences in my life, such as martial artists, the likes of Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Jet Lee, and those kinds of heroes. They’re normal people, but they’re heroes at the same time, you know? They win. Growing up my family pushed me, and it’s the same with United, you push for the win."

You obviously need to stay in great shape in your sport, how do you stay disciplined? Do you take inspiration from anyone in our current squad?
"You see how influential he [Cristiano Ronaldo] is, I remember his performances at the Euros. When you see people like that, with the influence that they have doing what they do, it really makes you double down on yourself. If I’m talking about influences, he’s definitely one of them."

What are you most looking forward to next season?
"As we know, Erik ten Hag is coming in next, and I think we need to give him time to implement his philosophy. We’ve seen how he works with his Ajax team, and we need to understand that it’s going to take time for our players to adapt to his ways. People need to give him a chance to be himself, and hopefully we’ll then be able to get more success. It might take time, I do think people will need patience, but United will be back on top soon for sure."
Michael with a fan outside the Theatre of Dreams.
If you were to play for United, what position would you play in?
"When I was younger I was always a striker! But then as I got older I moved further and further back. I’m a very aggressive player, very strong and tall, so I'd probably put myself in the backline."

Which kit has been your favourite this season? 
"To be fair, the home kit has been the one for me. It’s the first one that I got when it came out, with Ronaldo 7 on obviously."

It’s ‘National Eat What You Want Day' on 11 May. What's your favourite meal?
"It’s a difficult one. I am a massive foodie, I really do like different cuisines from around the world. But my home is the Caribbean, so it has to be Jamaican food, so I have to take it back home."
MUTV stopped by to speak to Michael ahead of the Brentford game.

What’s the last song you listened to? Any favourites at the moment? Anything you listen to while training?
"Not a specific song, per se. But I've been listening to a lot of Amapiano at the moment, who are African-house artists. And right now, that’s the one for me. The second that it comes on, I just have to dance, I have to move, I can feel the energy. Especially because during lockdown I got way more into music and learned how to DJ. So at the moment, that’s my thing."

Who is your ‘one to watch’ player at United at the moment?
"I’ve been really impressed with [Anthony] Elanga recently. He’s been given his chance and he’s looking really promising. I don’t want to jump on anyone too specifically, but I’d say it’s definitely Elanga at the moment."

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