Sibling rivalry can run in any family, but not every set of siblings settles its differences inside a steel cage for the whole world to see.
Caros Fodor and Ben Fodor, adopted brothers, will meet in a catchweight showcase at World Series of Fighting 32 on Saturday at the Xfinity Arena in Everett, Washington. It will mark the first time a brother-versus-brother bout takes place inside a major mixed martial arts promotion. Their battle will be contested at a 162-pound catchweight, as Caros competes as a lightweight and Ben typically fights as a welterweight.
The eldest of the two Fodor brothers, Caros, a United States Marine, started in MMA after returning from military service overseas.
“After returning from the war in 2003, I was drinking a lot and hanging out with rowdy friends,” he told Sherdog.com. “We were getting into street fights, which led us to a kickboxing [gym], and then that led me to AMC [Pankration], where coach Matt Hume was teaching, and it sucked me in.”
Caros has experienced highs and lows during his MMA career. He has compiled a 10-5 record while fighting top-flight opposition at each of his stops, from Strikeforce and the Ultimate Fighting Championship to One Championship and the World Series of Fighting. Caros won seven of his first eight pro bouts, five of them in Strikeforce, and drew the attention of the UFC. His stay in the Octagon was brief, however, as he was released following a split decision loss to Sam Stout at UFC 157. The Shoreline, Washington, native then headed to One Championship, where put together a 3-1 mark. Caros has no issues with the twists and turns his career has taken.
“I don’t have any regrets,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason, and I never thought walking into that gym I would ever fight in the UFC or all over Asia.”
Caros made his WSOF debut on Jan. 23, a unanimous decision loss to Luiz Firmino snapping his two-fight winning streak. The setback opened the door to the possibility of facing his brother. With Ben having joined the World Series of Fighting roster in March 2015, Caros knew the time was right to make the fight. He brought the idea to Hume, knowing the MMA community would embrace the spectacle of a brother-versus-brother showdown. While money and attention were motivating factors, Caros admits the idea of fighting Ben has been on his mind for some time.
“We have been talking about fighting each other forever, and once we were both on the roster, we knew it would probably happen,” Caros said. “We had a falling out, and I thought, ‘This is the time to do it.’ I don’t want to fight him when we are cool, because it will be a bad fight, but right now ... we really hate each other right now.”
Caros does not seem fazed about giving up size to his younger brother.
“I am five years older. I have been beating his butt since he was a little kid,” he said. “I have the mentality, and I can already tell I am in his head. I have the big-brother complex, and he won’t be able to beat that. It could go real nasty, or I will finish him in the first. He is going to come with a blitz, and I will give it back. The first round is going to be wild.”
Ben -- who moonlights as “Phoenix Jones,” a real-life super hero, outside the cage -- went 15-2 as an amateur and has gone 6-1-1 as a pro. He turned to MMA in 2010 as a means to fight crime on the streets of Seattle. Ben has split his two fights under the World Series of Fighting banner, following a unanimous decision loss to Emmanuel Walo with a scissor choke submission on Roberto Yong. Once he made MMA his profession, the 28-year-old knew his path might someday cross with that of his older brother.
“We have always had the idea to fight each other, but it wasn’t going to be like this,” Ben said. “We would never get to see who the best was because when we spar it always gets emotional.”
Tension between the two Fodors has been building.
“Caros and I had a falling out,” Ben said, “and [WSOF President] Rey Sefo called me and said, ‘Caros already signed the contract and wants to fight on your home turf in Seattle.’”
Ben was ready to sign on the dotted line, as the brothers had become estranged. Ben claims Caros kicked him out of the AMC Pankration gym, forcing him to find a new training home. He has since settled at the Catalyst Fight House in Everett, where he feels welcome. Ben doubts whether or not their relationship can be repaired.
“The only thing to do is to knock this guy out,” he said.
Before the ink dried, Ben’s focus turned to one person: his mother. She begrudgingly offered up some advice.
“She is pissed,” Ben said. “My mom told Caros not to elbow me in the face, and she told me not to purposely break one of his arms.”