(What’s the best way to say "I’m sorry" to a guy who kicks people in the head for a living? PicProps: UFC.com)
Full disclosure time, PotatoNation. In the immediate aftermath of UFC 115, the asshole Weekend Editor of this website (that would be me) wrote a piece criticizing Pat Barry for doing too much grippin’-and-grinnin’ in the Octagon during his submission loss to Mirko Cro Cop. Now that new shit has come to light – including but not limited to an insightful interview with Old Dad published Sunday over on MMAFighting.com – I’d like to say: Damn, playa. My bad.
Turns out, after breaking both his right hand and right foot during the first round, Barry was coping with excruciating pain and what he himself describes as “complete, oh-shit-I-don’t-know-what-to-do panic” for the remainder of the bout. Viewed with the benefit of that information, Barry’s performance seems not tentative and awe-struck as I first implied, but actually extremely courageous. So yeah, sorry about that stuff I said earlier, Pat.
"Of course you always hear different questions and assumptions,” Barry told our man Ben Fowlkes about some of the things said about him after the loss. “Some people are like, ‘I hope you got paid a lot to throw the fight,’ which is just absurd. Then there’s others saying, ‘You were scared of beating your idol,’ or the one that bugs me the most, ‘You were showing him too much respect.’ What does that mean? Does it mean, I got in the ring and respected his abilities in the fight? I don’t know. How can you have too much respect for ‘Cro Cop’? He’s ‘Cro Cop’!"
More than a month after the fight, Barry told Fowlkes his hand is out of the cast but still pretty much useless. He’s been speeding up the healing process, he says, by singing Toto songs to it. Seriously. He also discussed the Cro Cop fight with a kind of frank honesty that’s hard not to admire.
"The world couldn’t see it because the camera wasn’t close enough to my face, but as soon as I broke my hand – that was the second punch I landed that knocked him down – as soon as it happened, my lip was starting to tremble, and for two reasons,” Barry says. “One, it hurt terribly. And two, I honestly thought that was going to be the end of my career. I never would have guessed that it was only one broken bone. I felt like all the bones in my hand were, like, entirely disintegrated.”
All that hugging and high-fiving, which many analysts (including me) mistook for an overabundance of respect for his opponent? That was just Barry doing something, anything he could to try to get through the fight. He attempted throwing the hand a few more times — "I almost screamed," he says of how much it hurt – and then had to put it into full-on survival mode for as long as he could.
I recommend you check out the article in its entirety. Suffice it to say, Pat Barry seems like an awesome dude. He also seems like one of the toughest sons of a bitches walking the face of the earth. Me, I’m just a shit-talking square who writes for the Internet. So, uh, can we call it even?