Phoenix Jones’ Rise from Superhero to MMA Champion

There’s no denying that there’s something intriguing about the pro MMA fighter who is also a real life superhero, which is exactly why ESPN decided to zero in on Seattle welterweight Ben Fodor. This past weekend ESPN featured Fodor on their SportsCenter broadcasts in a story entitled “Phoenix Rising,” about his transition from masked crime fighter to MMA fighter.

“They did a good job of showing actual events and how it went down,” said Fodor of the feature. “Why I took my mask off. Why I decided to fight.

“That first fight literally I needed money. The promoter asked me if I wanted to fight and I said no. They came with a check of exactly what I needed. It’s true that the reason I did it was not because I loved it, but because I needed it and I found out I loved it.”

In a move rare for ESPN, they advertised Fodor’s feature prior to its airing on Sunday, which he feels is a reflection of how well it ended up working out.

> SEE ALSO: ESPN’s Special on Phoenix Jones… Superhero (video)

Phoneix Jones - Ben Fodor - ESPN - 750“The funny thing is, when I was shooting it, I think they came and expected something different, but halfway through they said it was just going to be a three-minute short, but they were going to extended it longer because there was a story there,” Fodor told

“I think they were surprised. It was just going to be a short blurb between segments on 30 for 30.”

The positive response to “Phoenix Rising” has been much more than Fodor was anticipating.

“It’s been crazy,” he said. “I got like 10,000 Twitter followers today. I’ve gotten fight offers from all over. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve got to really sit down and figure everything out.

“The only thing I’ve said yes to is a company I’ve known a long time called Primal Combat. They told me that I had to wear their gear, and I told them that I loved it and I’m rocking Primal Combat gear all the time.”

Just last month Fodor picked up his fifth win in six fights (with one No Contest) at Super Fight League America in a bout he had to come from behind to win.

“I fought Jason Novelli, who is dangerous on the ground and has submitted tons of people, so I knew it was going to be a really tough fight,” said Fodor. “He beat me the first two rounds, until I turned it around and was able to choke him out.”

With his increased popularity, Fodor is keen to strike while the iron is hot and make his goal of becoming a world champion a reality in 2015.

“I think I want to keep fighting for SFL for a bit, but I’ve gotten calls from so many big organizations, so I don’t know what to do,” he said. “There are titles for SFL America and SFL in India, and I want the whole title and fight both champions.

“If you’re reading this and you’re out there, I want to fight you, make that fight happen. There should be one SFL champion – there shouldn’t be different ones – and I’m going to be that.”

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