Phoenix, AZ — Bellator’s 2021 feelgood story, one of them at least, was Ben Parrish getting a moment in the spotlight.
“Big Tuna” was the everyman, the guy no one expected to knock out a training partner of Jon Jones, but that’s exactly what he did against Christian Edwards. As he prepares for his return at Bellator 273 this weekend, Parrish admits that things have, to some extent, changed, even if he hasn’t.
“It’s been different, but it’s been the same for me, because I’m not changing up,” Parrish told media outlets including Cageside Press at the Bellator 273 media day. “Everybody treats me different here now, whereas before, they wouldn’t have really given me the time of day.”
That said, it doesn’t affect his attitude, said Parrish. “It’s just business as usual for me. It’s just another day in my life. I live this like a lifestyle. I’m not playing a character, like some of these MMA guys. What you see is what you get.”
What you get is a hard working family man, one who didn’t fight a second time last year in part, as Bellator President Scott Coker pointed out previously, because he couldn’t get the time off from his day job.
“That was true, I was out of vacation hours,” admitted Parrish, before adding “but if they had called and asked me to fight, man— I’m not going to say I’m mad at Scott, but he could have took me out of the workforce right then, and my life could be different even now. He’s still got the chance, so I’m going to take it on the chin and show him what he’s got on his hands.”
In front of him this Saturday at Bellator 273 is Sullivan Cauley, who Parrish feels isn’t getting the credit he’s due. “Everybody that I talk to for some reason wants to knock Sullivan Cauley, like he’s not a sure enough badass. Like dude, he’s a for real badass. He’s been wrestling his whole life and training his whole life, I’m not taking him lightly.”
Moving forward, Parrish is ready for whatever, and whoever, the promotion puts in front of him. “You can give me the new guys, or you can send me into the retirement home, and either way, I’ll take out whoever they put in front of me.”
Parrish also hinted that he has a rowdy contingent of fans coming into Phoenix to support him. “One fun fact you may want to know about Ben ‘Big Tuna’ Parrish fights is, I probably have the record for most crowd fights back home. Even when I win, they’ll fight in the crowd.”
That’s fights in the crowd while Parrish is fighting, not Parrish fighting in the crowd himself. Although that, apparently, has happened also. “I have, one time my brother and my cousin got in a fight after I won, with some bikers from Tennessee that we just had a little beef with. I’m still not very celebrated in Nashville, they don’t really love me there. Yeah, a lot of crowd fights; if they catch the wrong folks out here in Arizona, it could be ugly. So hire some good security guards.”
Watch the full Bellator 273 media day appearance by Ben Parrish above, where he talks about the fight, bullying, and more. The event takes place this Saturday, January 29, 2022 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ.