With the opening bouts of the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament less than a month away, embattled grand prix participant Josh Barnett turned up on HDNet’s Inside MMA over the weekend, where he and Bas Rutten both just started saying stuff. Protest if you want, but it makes for great TV when nobody is around to check facts or rein in the insanity. Clearly, Barnett and Bas just want to bro down, have a couple of drinks and reminisce about how radical it used to be to be King of Pancrase, leaving poor Kenny Rice to try to bumble his way through some actual journalism.
Things reach a fever pitch of awesomeness at about the 3:40 mark, when Rice asks Barnett a serious question about his efforts (or lack thereof) to get relicensed in California. Barnett dismissively waves his hands and pretty much says he doesn’t give a damn, that he doesn’t need no pencil-pushing lawmakers to tell him when and where he throws down. All the while Bas just chuckles to himself and mumbles stuff like “Right! Yeah!” as if to say “You tell it, brother!” Seriously, these guys are two peas in a pod …
“At the end of the day, I don’t care where I fight, I really don’t …,” Barnett says. “When Bas and I started we fought (with) no rules for no money, for no reason. (Cue laughter from Bas, who then repeats, “No reason!” like that’s the greatest thing ever.) This isn’t like some sort of lifestyle — wear the clothing, be the guy, say I’m a cagefighter — I don’t care about any of that. If they took all the rules away, I’d still fight. I remember reading somewhere, someone said, ‘I don’t know if there was an opportunity to fight to the death, how many MMA fighters would truly ever take that opportunity.’ I thought about it and I thought, you know, I probably would. I’d do it.”
“I’ve tried to work with (the commission),” Barnett also says, “but there have obviously been some difficulties. Especially like the last time, when I followed through on their behest – they actually approached me – so I go through their steps, I meet with their head of their commission and I figured everything was square. So I prepared as instructed and showed up and found something entirely different altogether.”
“Why is this a surprise to you?” Asks a commiserating Bas, who you can tell just wants to laugh and slap Barnett on the back and say “Oh man, those craaazy athletic commissions!” but somehow restrains himself.
“There are 49 other states,” Barnett goes on. “There are a gazillion other countries in the world. If every country in the world outlawed MMA, I’d still be fighting. I don’t need anybody to tell me to do it or give me permission.”
So, what Barnett is saying is that he just likes to fight, without regard to the rules or regulations. As if his entire career to this point hasn’t been a testament to that sad fact.