It’s perhaps one of the most overused descriptions of a fighter of all time – they’re ready for a fight, anytime, anywhere. However, in a few cases is it more than a hyperbolic statement to show that the fighter is tough. With Dana White Contender Series’ Jonny Parsons, there’s no hyperbole needed.
Parsons not only took his first ever professional fight with little notice, but he did so while he had not planned on fighting MMA in the foreseeable future.
“I went out to Thailand to train – I was coming right out of fighting amateur Muay Thai,” Parsons explained. “I was 6-1 and I went out there to train, and possibly do some Thai fights, and then come back and fight amateur Muay Thai.”
However, when you’re in Thailand, it’s part of the culture to get as many fights as you can. The guy he was staying with got wind of an opportunity and instantly thought of Parsons.
“The guy I was staying with, someone should have told him to know better than to ask me to fight, but I guess that’s the thing out there – they ask people if they want to fight,” he recalled. “One day he came home and asked me ‘do you know MMA?”
Not only had Parsons known of MMA, but he had done some regional amateur fights when back in the states. He had not intended on fighting MMA while in Thailand, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity and immediately accepted.
“The next day, we drive out to Pattaya and we show up at this fight,” Parsons said. “I guess my opponent was showing up to fight some Thai guy that probably drives a cab or something. Whatever the case, I think he was showing up to fight someone not so tough.”
The perspective opponent saw the cauliflower ear that Parsons sports and got a bit of cold feet. Despite Parsons’ best intentions, his opponent wasn’t willing to stick around and find out any more about him.
“He was convinced that I was a grappler and I was like ‘dude, I’ll stand with you the whole fight,” he said. “He didn’t want to do it. So he and his friend, they took off.”
Just as quickly as Parsons had gotten a fight, he had lost it. However, as is always the case with “The Paradox”, he was ready to hang around and see what other scrap he could find.
“The other Thai guy that was gonna fight Glenn [Sparv], you know some other cabbie driver, they pulled him out,” Parsons said, referencing the longtime MMA veteran who would become his first opponent. “Then they threw me in that main event title fight.”
While Parsons didn’t pick up the win, he gained some valuable experience against a guy who had already put together a pro career that spanned double digit fights (Sparv is now 22-7). He showed that toughness that would become a cornerstone to his career and lead him to The Contender Series this Tuesday.
You can catch his bout against Solomon Renfro on Week 8 of The Contender Series. That bout will serve as the main event on ESPN+.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:00.