Truly great fighter nicknames are hard to come by in MMA. If they aren’t blatant attempts to sound intimidating using some well-worn cliche like “The Assassin” or “The Hitman”, they’re alliteration or pun-focused atrocities like “The Muscle Shark” Sherk or “Twinkle Toes” Trigg. I swear to God, if one more fighter calls themselves “The Pitbull”, I am going to walk into the nearest MMA gym with a fully loaded AK-47 and just start spraying bullets.
Worst of all, the nicknames many MMA fighters choose often fail to fit their personalities/fighting styles. Bob Sapp is not a “Beast.” Likewise, TUF 19 winner Corey Anderson does not beast 25/8, because the constraints of time prevent him from doing so. Justin McCully may be illiterate, but he is definitely not “The Nsane1.” And so on, and so forth.
But in the late aughts, there was one MMA fighter who rose to prominence in the UFC thanks largely to his inventive and more importantly appropriate nickname: Tamdan “The Barn Cat” McCrory.
What is a barn cat, exactly? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Having grown up in an aggressively rural town and worked on farms for years, I have dealt with the feral, disease-ridden beast known as the barn cat more than most. While not much different than your average household feline at first glance, I would place barn cats closer to the lynx or bobcat in terms of their attitude. They are paranoid, untrustworthy (even by a cat’s incredibly low standards), and prone to bouts of unprompted aggression, which makes sense when you realize that they only wind up on farms in the first place because their owners have actively chosen to abandon them there. I seriously cannot tell you how many times I have seen someone drive up to the edge of a cornfield and heave a cat out the window like it was yesterday’s garbage before peeling off like the cold-blooded scumbag they are.
But back to the man behind the nickname. After compiling a 3-2 record in his first five UFC bouts, McCrory all but vanished from MMA competition following his split decision loss to John Howard at UFC 101. Until yesterday morning, that is, when Luke Thomas broke the news that “The Barn Cat” will make his highly anticipated return to the cage at Bellator 123, a.k.a the card that the UFC totally *isn’t* trying to counter-program by holding a Fight Night card 10 miles down the street.
Speaking of nicknames, McCrory will face off against Brennan “The Irish Bad Boy” Ward, who according to our “What Your MMA Nickname Really Says About You” breakdown, is probably an asshole who isn’t even really from Ireland.
Featuring a featherweight title fight rematch between Pat Curran and Patricio “Pitbull”(*sigh*) Freire and the MMA return of Bobby Lashley, Bellator 123 goes down from the Mohegan Sun arena in Uncasville, CT on September 5th.