Ben Parrish may have shocked the MMA world on Saturday night, but he certainly didn’t surprise himself or his loved ones.
Parrish, as high as a 7-1 underdog ahead of the Bellator 266, opened the main card for Saturday’s event with an outright 38-second knockout victory over Christian Edwards in his promotional debut. The victory improved his professional record to 5-1, but the “Big Tuna” legend began to come to life.
“A lot of my family is texting me, ‘You’re famous now,’” Parrish told MMA Fighting. “No, I am me, one of a kind, one of a kind. You don’t worry about fitting in when you’re tailor-made.
Bellator 266 was the third time the bout between Parrish and Edwards had been booked, with both fighters having to withdraw in the past. Prior to Bellator 266, Parrish, 28, was forced to give up his second attempt to face Edwards in June after testing positive for COVID-19.
If the third meeting between the two had failed, Parrish would have been willing to retire from the sport. Fortunately, things moved on and the Tennessee star had his chance to shine.
“I feel a little bad for him,” Parrish said of Edwards. “I don’t feel bad knocking him out, don’t get me wrong. But, you have to think, I just crushed her dreams and mine came true. It’s the nature of sport and it’s a little painful to admit it, but it had to be said.
“I don’t really like hurting people. I really like winning though, and I’m really good at it. That’s what it is, but I’m back on top. I don’t want to stop here. I don’t want to slow down.
The victory only widened Parrish’s eyes even more. He always knew what he was capable of and finally got the chance to show it, despite things being somewhat hopeless after his previous fight. Facing Logan Woods at Summit FC 33 in November 2019, Parrish suffered his first professional loss after breaking his leg in battle, an injury that took his toll.
Now that he’s garnered a lot of extra attention from people who didn’t know his name before Saturday night’s win, he’s not going to let it get the upper hand – although he’s got the idea of leading a big fight in his country of origin. .
“They didn’t like me when I was beating people for 10 years, so loving me now is great and all. But does it affect me? No, ”Parrish explained. “I’ll tell you, I do a lot better on TV in front of how many thousands of people against local fights where everyone I know is in the crowd watching me. There is more pressure there, I feel.
“That said, I would love to sell the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville or the FedEx Forum in Memphis because I know if you get me, Hannah Guy, Jaleel Willis, to name a few, you’ll stack us all there you let me fight ‘Rampage’ Jackson in Memphis, that would be pretty cool.
During the post-fight interview and press conference, Parrish addressed the people who trolled and verbally harassed him before the match. He was well aware of what was being said and even responded to many of them along the way. These comments were used as gasoline that he could throw on the fire for his biggest opportunity to date.
With a successful and memorable Bellator debut now on his resume, Parrish is ready to forgive those who have doubted him in the past one last time.
“I grew up in ‘Halo 2’ and ‘[Halo] 3 ‘and’ Call of Duty ‘, there’s nothing they can say to me that could hurt me, ”Parrish said. “I have always taken advantage of it. Something like wanting me to lose, or get hurt, whatever they can say to me, I take it, put it back, I remember it and we’ll come visit later. We can talk about it. And I did it, I went full Jay and Silent Bob strike back. My brother and I take turns going back to the comments, hit them with the question mark, quotes, screenshots, all of the above.
“I’ve even been flagged, and I’m not trying to be super ugly to anyone, and I’ve been told some pretty ugly things that I’ve captured and I’m kidding, but I have called a guy b * tch, because I said I was going to slap him or something, and they threatened to ban me from Instagram. called in the past two weeks?
“Now listen, I want everyone to hear this, I’m letting everyone know that ever hurt me – verbally, physically, all of the above – but I’m going to let you get away with it.” I’ll give you a pass one last time. One last time. Don’t doubt me anymore. Don’t bet against me anymore. My own people here in town, at home, around Memphis to Nashville, Little Rock to Atlanta, Baton Rouge to West Monroe, you know what time it is. Get on board, or you’ll be left in deep water. Last warning.”
For now, Parrish’s appearance for Bellator was a one-off event, though he hopes the victory will turn into an exclusive multiple-fight deal.
Parrish aims for big fights if he can get them. One name that has been regularly rejected since Saturday night is Yoel Romero, who failed in his promotional debut when he gave up a split decision to Phil Davis at the main event.
If it wasn’t Romero, “Big Tuna” would be happy to stand in front of the man who just defeated him.
“I’ll be down, man. Let’s do it, ”Parrish said of a potential fight with Romero. “I’m going to fight him, I’m going to fight Phil [Davis], I will fight anyone. Anybody. Anyone from Las Vegas, London, Cuba, this is what I’m here for. This time, with a little notice, I hope I’ll give it my all. We’re talking about three a day, all nine.
“Right now I’m working 7-3, picking my daughter up from school, driving 30 minutes straight to the gym, exercising for an hour and a half, rinsing and starting over. As much as I can, I just do it. I work with the straps given to me. But I tell you, when you have [your mind] locked, i’m playing five card poker with seven cards, my friend.