“I dropped my backpack, pulled out my bulletproof vest, threw it on, and I went after those four guys.”
Such a phrase is commonplace for Benjamin John Francis Fodor: an MMA fighter by day and superhero by night.
Better known by his alias, Phoenix Jones, Fodor acts as the leader of Seattle-based citizen patrol group crime prevention brigade Rain City Superhero Movement.
There are real-life vigilantes circumventing the streets at night stopping crimes and taking names.
In his latest escapade, Jones saw a man running down the street with blood covering his face. When the man pointed in the direction of the men that assaulted him minutes earlier, Jones dropped his backpack, strapped on his bulletproof vest, and went after them.
As he approached the suspects Jones was quoted:
“A guy shows me his hunting knife and lets me know he plans on killing the guy across the street. I informed him that probably would not be happening. Then I went back to the victim. The police came and got a witness statement.”
As if his effort to stop the bad guys isn’t cinematic enough, Jones claims to have been responsible for helping police make over 200 arrests.
A master of mixed martial arts, Phoenix Jones fights legally in the MMA ring to pay the bills. His next duel at Foxwoods Resort Casino is scheduled for this Friday against Emmanuel Walo.
Professional fighting is his only source of income, so a win would not only help Jones, but society as a whole. And if you’re an MMA fan, how can you not root for Phoenix Jones?
He stops crime on the weekends.
What did you do last weekend?
Here’s a breakdown from Wikipedia depicting every Phoenix Jones fiasco from the past five years. It’s as entertaining as it is puzzling. But, hell, at least somebody is living out their childhood dream.
On Sunday, January 2, 2011, in Lynnwood, Phoenix Jones stopped and chased away a car thief as the car owner (who asked to be identified only as “Dan”) stood by in shock as Jones ran into action. CBS News introduced Dan and Phoenix Jones to one another the following Monday evening. Dan proceeded to thank Jones numerous times while later talking about Phoenix’s gear.
A few days later, ABC News aired a news story covering Jones. In this report, footage shows Phoenix Jones preventing an intoxicated man from entering his car. Jones threatens to use a stun baton as the angry and inebriated man approaches Jones with the intent to fight. In the video, a police officer is shown later talking to Phoenix Jones and his group regarding the effect masks may have on an intoxicated individual.
On Saturday, September 24, 2011, in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Phoenix Jones doused a man with pepper spray after he attempted to steal a bus. The driver of the bus had been handing out fliers when another individual attempted to steal the bus. Jones was reported to have intervened and the hijacker escaped with his skin dyed orange due to the spray. Jones says he didn’t receive any help from Seattle police, who took hours to respond to the incident.
On Sunday, October 9, 2011, in Seattle, Jones was arrested for his role in an altercation involving pepper spray. Close associates, who were present and equipped with a video camera, told reporters that Phoenix Jones broke up an unfair fight between two groups of nightclub patrons. According to police reports, the officers who responded determined that “there was no fight”, with one member of the group denying that anyone among them had been fighting. They asked that the masked man be “arrested for attacking them.” According to one woman who was involved in the altercation, after an argument had broken out between her group and another, Jones suddenly approached and pepper sprayed them, saying “I’m a superhero”. The next day, videographer Ryan McNamee uploaded a video online showing Jones responding to what McNamee described as a “huge fight”. Jones was released on bail hours later with no charges having been filed.
In another incident several hours earlier, Phoenix Jones had come to the defense of a potential fight victim. Police arrived after the aggressors had fled. In their report, the police called it a case of “questionable use of pepper spray”, but the victim later told the Seattle Times that Jones was indeed a hero who had saved him from “a potential beat-down”.
On Sunday, November 27, 2011, near the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Phoenix Jones and crew followed a man accused of stabbing another man. They prevented the attacker from fleeing until the Seattle police arrived.
On Friday, January 6, 2012, Phoenix Jones and crew stopped a fight at the same location of the New Year’s Eve shooting in Belltown.
On Tuesday, May 1, 2012, a blogger reported that Phoenix Jones had pepper sprayed black bloc protesters in downtown Seattle, although Jones denied this on Twitter. In an interview on the Bob Rivers Show on May 2, Phoenix Jones asserted that, while undercover with the protesters, several of them revealed to him a plot to bomb the city courthouse. According to Phoenix Jones, after telling the police and receiving no support, he and another member of the Rain City Superhero Movement intercepted the protesters at the courthouse and acted in self-defense as the protesters began throwing rocks and bottles through the windows and glass doors of the court-house. Fellow costumed activists El Caballero and Midnightjack accompanied Phoenix Jones.
On Friday, March 27, 2015 in New Haven, Connecticut, just before Phoenix Jones was to be the featured speaker at The Institute Library’s Amateur Hour speaking series, he saved a man from being stabbed by donning his super suit and holding off a group of men until police arrived. Deputized to hold the superhero’s backpack was Amateur Hour host and This American Life contributor Jack Hitt, to whom Phoenix Jones later jokingly gave the superhero moniker “Blue Corduroy”.
For all of your vigilante inquiries, contact Phoenix Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-680-9345.