After saving his colleague Jim Halpert from a disgruntled warehouse worker at Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch, standout salesman and triangle choke enthusiast Dwight Schrute downplayed the heroism behind his good deed. "Do you know who the real heroes are?" he asked. "The guys who wake up every morning, and go into their normal jobs, and get a distress call from the commissioner, and take off their glasses and change into capes, and fly around fighting crime. Those are the real heroes."
If you look past the part about the cape, that sentiment basically sums up Ben Fodor. Yesterday, World Series of Fighting announced the signing of Fodor, a 5-0-1 welterweight and the brother of ONE FC, UFC, and Strikeforce vet Caros Fodor, and that he'll debut next month at WSOF 20 in Connecticut. But the prologue to his signing is where things get weird: It comes on the heels of an ESPN SC Featured segment on Phoenix Jones, Fodor's superhero alter ego. After building a 15-2 amateur career, Fodor began donning a black-and-gold rubber suit complete with mask (but no cape), and meting out vigilante justice in Seattle after the sun goes down.
So yeah, the world wasn’t already surreal enough. Fodor's superhero escapades began after his stepson cut himself on shattered glass left when a criminal broke into his car, and he wanted to recapture a sense of security in his neighborhood. With the rest of the Rain City Superhero Movement—a now-defunct collective of real-life Seattle superheroes with martial arts and military backgrounds—Phoenix Jones purportedly began helping drunks get home safe, delivering first aid, breaking up the fisticuffing that happens after closing time, and ensuring justice in places the police were not.
But if The Punisher taught us anything, it's that vigilantism is a mixed bag. All of this do-gooding has real and occasionally mortal consequences: Jones claims to have been shot and stabbed, and this profile of Jones starts with him pissing blood in an emergency room. Some people welcome Jones's good deeds. Some people want to beat him up. (See 6:33 in the video above to see how that works out.) Officials have been ambivalent: in 2011, Fodor was arrested after using Mace while breaking up a fight. Naysayers think he's an attention-seeking weirdo, and even some of his ostensible enemies fear for his safety. In the aforementioned profile, during some tense moments staring down gun-toting drug dealers in a grimy neighborhood, one of them tells the Rain City Superheroes: "That superhero shit? You're going to get hurt, fucking around. How you feed your family is not how we feed our family. We're not out here for the fun and the show-and-tell. This is real life."
True. But with so many fighters carrying anonymous bios to complement the "I want to put on a show for the fans" clichés that come out of their mouths, a novel backstory that fits into a sentence goes a long way to convince people they should watch you for three five-minute rounds. Here is that sentence: A superhero is fighting for World Series of Fighting next month.
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