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Todd Fought's Pickleball Journey Included Plenty of Ups and Downs

by Erik Tice on

Todd Fought – a full time pro pickleball who plays for the Atlanta Bouncers in the Challenger Level of Major League Pickleball – grew up in West Vancouver, British Columbia and now lives in Ogden, Utah, with his longtime girlfriend Kacee, and their dog Charlie.

Before we get into his story, let's get one thing out of the way: I hear a lot of people mispronounce his last name. Fought is pronounced like “foat”, which would rhyme with boat. 

Now then ...

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Growing up in West Vancouver

Fought grew up in a very athletic family. His parents both attended BYU and played for the tennis team. He grew up playing every sport possible and his parents were supportive of whatever sports endeavors he chose. Around his freshman year of high school is when Todd decided to play tennis exclusively to pursue a collegiate career.

In juniors tennis, Todd played in the Pacific Northwest region, mostly in Canada, mixing in a couple tournaments a year in the States. 

As a high school player, Fought was a three-star tennis recruit, going 7-0 vs. two-, three-, and four-star recruits. Fought’s highest rating was 176th in the country (Canada is included in the US rankings). 

Fought’s father was born and raised in Utah, and Todd was very familiar with the area, so they focused on colleges in Utah. Todd visited BYU, Utah, and Weber State, ultimately choosing Weber State on an athletic scholarship. He knew he was going to be able to start right away high in the lineup and really liked the academics at Weber State. 

College sports at Weber State University

Many people may not know of Weber State. A quick note about pronunciation - it is not pronounced like "Weber Grill," it is more like WEE-Bur State.

OK, enough pickleball pronunciation.

Fought had a very impressive Division I collegiate tennis career as a Weber State Wildcat. Throughout his entire career, Todd mostly played the No. 2 spot, both in singles and doubles. He had some No. 1 spot matches and a few No. 3 spot matches sprinkled in there also. 

Here are some of his biggest individual accomplishments at Weber State:

  • 2013 – All Big Sky Honorable Mention
  • 2014 – All Big Sky 1st Team
  • 2015 – All Big Sky 2nd Team
  • 2016 – All Big Sky 1st Team
  • 2016 - All Big Sky Academic Team
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Fought’s proudest accomplishment, however, was a team accomplishment. In 2016, his senior year, he helped lead the Wildcats to the first ever NCAA Tournament berth in university history.

In the Big Sky Conference Tournament to get to the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats first beat Sacramento State, 4-3. Fought and his partner, Jakub Gewert, won the No. 2 spot in doubles. With his singles match going long, Fought was the clincher for the 4-3 victory in the No. 2 spot over Kasparas Zemaitelis.

In the championship match against Idaho, Fought and Gewert again won a tightly contested No. 2 doubles game, 6-4, after being down 0-3. In singles, Todd won his first set easily, 6-1, but then lost 4-6 in the second. He climbed his way back in the third, winning 6-4, and tying the match back up at 3-3, before the No. 6 player, Sanjay Gowami, clinched the 4-3 win for WSU.

The WSU Men’s Tennis Team won the 2016 Big Sky Conference Tournament. Todd Fought is in the back in the middle.

Todd finished his Weber State career with a record of 96-70 (58 percent). His singles record was 53-34 (61 percent) and his doubles record was 43-36 (54 percent).

A college career almost over. Fought had started playing golf in college, and his girlfriend Kacee was actually on the women’s golf team. He played throughout his summers while working construction jobs to help pay for the new hobby. 

Fought walked on to the men’s golf team at Weber State during his fifth year of eligibility. His shot around a 79 on average and finished T-45th at an event early in the year. While he was by no means the star of the team, Fought became a very good golfer and being able to play two D-I sports is an impressive feat.

Todd went on to graduate from Weber State University with a degree in mechanical engineering.

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Life after college

Up until a few months ago, Todd continued to work in construction, most recently as an Estimator/Project Manager. He and his girlfriend stayed in Ogden, loving the outdoor opportunities. Todd continued playing competitive golf while working for a couple years after college, but then turned to mountain biking as a hobby.

Fought loves to ski and there are endless possibilities near Ogden. In the summer he would mountain bike and hike and in the winter he would ski – making Utah a perfect place to call home. 

In 2021, Fought got turned on to pickleball by a few golf buddies. The "original" Picklr – in Uintah, Utah, a southeast suburb of Ogden – is where Fought played his first tournament.

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In his debut tournament, Todd and a golf buddy signed up for 5.0 play. Todd had been playing recreationally for a couple months and figured no one in Ogden was going to beat him. A former D-I tennis player and overall great athlete, who also had been playing pickle for a few months.

No sweat.

They lost every match in the round robin tournament, going 0-11. Like most recreational pickleball players, even after getting beat, Todd was hooked on pickleball. He has played pickleball pretty much every day since then.

Fought really started making a name for himself in Major League Pickleball last year. He played for the Orlando Squeeze in the 2023 Season 1. They did well in the first event, but not too well in the next two. The Squeeze finished in ninth place in Challenger Level out of the 12 teams.

Todd was drafted to the SoCal Hard Eights in Season 2. Tim Parks and Adam Stone picked Ewa Radzikowska first, Yana Newell second, CJ Klinger third, and Todd was picked in the fourth round.

This team DOMINATED. The Hard Eights won everything they played. In the two events prior to the playoffs, SoCal went 10-0, racking up 16 points, the most of any team in Challenger or Premier in Season 2.

In the finals, SoCal swept the St. Louis Shock, 3-0, and Fought was named the MVP of the event in Challenger Level. The women started the event off with a tough 27-25 victory. Fought and Klinger beat Martin Emmrich and Rob Nunnery, 21-18. Lastly, Todd and Yana Newell won their mixed doubles match convincingly, 21-12, putting a bow on their perfect season.

Fought was drafted in the third round by the Atlanta Bouncers earlier this year. The Bouncers selected Jaume Martinez Vich first, Genie Erokhina second, Todd third, and Angie Walker fourth. After two events, the Bouncers are sitting tied for third place at 1.88 points per match.

The team had this to say regarding Todd after selecting him: "Todd was always on our draft board and we were shocked when we could still get him in the third round. He’s clearly a rockstar. His prior experience and performance in MLP has proven extremely valuable."

Fought has played a large part in the team’s excellent performance this year. Todd has won 94 percent of his doubles matches and has scored 105 points more than his opponents. The next closest player this year is Vivian Glozman, who got traded to a Premier Level team, at plus-53. 

To be fair, the Bouncers have played a lot of matches compared to some other teams, but get this: Fought’s average score in doubles is better than 25-19. He is averaging plus-6.56 points per match. The next closest player is again Glozman at plus-4.42. 

Fought has been dominant with Genie Erokhina in mixed doubles, winning every match they have played thus far (eight), averaging plus-7.5 points. That’s crazy to think about considering MLP's rally scoring.

Fought is always encouraging and helping his teammates stay even keeled. He's one of those MLP players who definitely adds a few points to his team’s score just because of his attitude and approach to being a good teammate.

You can follow Todd on IG @toddfought.pb.

Erik Tice

Erik Tice

Erik produces content for The Dink related to pro and collegiate pickleball. He is an avid watcher of pickleball and became passionate about the sport in early 2022.

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