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Grinding for 14 Years, Parker Porter Gets the Call of a Lifetime

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Picture this. You've been fighting on the regional scene for 14 years, but you've never got that call from the big leagues. You have a 3 week old baby who usually keeps you up at night, but this night the baby decides to sleep, so you're able to catch up on some Z's. You get a random phone call from your manager at 1:30 AM. You assume it's a butt dial, hit ignore, and go back to bed. The phone rings again, and it's your manager again. Something must be up, so you answer. And thank god you answered, because it has been a call that you've been waiting for for 14 years.

This is exactly what happened to NEMMA #2 ranked heavyweight Parker Porter (10-5). Fortunately for him he answered the 2nd call from his manager, Tyson Chartier, and was offered a fight on the UFC 252 card on 9 days notice. It was a call that Porter had been working towards since he made his professional MMA debut back in 2007.

As mentioned, Porter broke into the professional MMA ranks back in 2007 while fighting under the Combat Zone banner. In his 3rd fight he took on a 4-0 Jon Jones (current UFC light heavyweight champ) and lost by TKO in the 1st round. Porter then went 4-1 over the next 3 years before dropping back to back fights to former UFC heavyweight, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Josh Diekman. Porter has never been one to back down from anyone, and with the heavyweight division being so thin in the UFC, Porter has a serious chance to make some waves and earn life-changing money in the process.

Prior to the pandemic hitting, Porter had some big plans that focused on the regional level, but things have changed drastically with that one phone call. "This opportunity came completely out of left field. I was fighting for CES, and we had a fight scheduled for May before the pandemic hit, and they were trying to make that a title fight since Rebello had retired after his last title fight, and they had a vacant slot. So my mindset was; get this title and defend it once, and then possibly get a shot on the Contender Series or get called up to Bellator. Then the pandemic hit and it completely took all of the wind out of my sails. I was like, 'shit, what do I do now'. I'm 35 years old, and most guys beyond 35 don't get a call from the major organizations if they haven't already." Porter was at a crossroads in his career. Does he keep grinding to possibly get that opportunity to fight for a major promotion, or does he refocus his attention on other parts of his life beyond MMA?

Luckily for Porter he didn't have to mull over that decision any longer after getting the call from his manager in the wee hours of the morning. "Tyson calls me at 1:30 in the morning. Keep in mind, I have a 3 week old baby at the time, and for some reason that was the night that my son decided to sleep through the night without making a peep, and we could have gotten really good sleep. So Tyson calls me at 1:30 in the morning and the first thing I do is hit ignore, thinking, it's got to be a butt dial. My finger barley got off the phone before it started ringing again, so I knew something was up at that point." The following words from Tyson Chartier will forever change Porter's life. Those word were, "I got you a fight on UFC 252. Do you want it?" Porter's initial thoughts were, "Am I awake? Am I dreaming? Is this real life?" But once he had the opportunity to let it all sink in, he didn't have to think twice. It didn't matter who the opponent was or how short of notice it was, this was a phone call that he'd been waiting for for 14 years. It was a simple answer; YES! "I didn't even ask who I was fighting. When the UFC calls you up out of the blue you don't even ask. All you say is, where do I sign?"