Let me translate the above Instagram photo, for those of who you aren’t fluent in hashtag: Beloved UFC/PRIDE/Strikeforce veteran Phil “The New York Bad Ass” Baroni will be competing for Bellator on May 2nd, on a Spike TV-televised fight in Atlantic City, the same city that hosted his first-ever UFC fight back in February 2001. Baroni would like you to know that he’s back, he’s still the man, and what you see is what you get, etc. Indeed, Phil Baroni is all the hashtags.
Assuming that Baroni isn’t just making shit up, the 5/2 date means he’ll be fighting at Bellator 118, supporting a bantamweight title fight between Eduardo Dantas and Joe Warren. According to MMAJunkie’s sources, “[Baroni's] deal is expected to be a short-term one, possibly just a single fight. The promotion also has no current plan to enter Baroni in any upcoming tournaments.” The 37-year-old slugger’s opponent hasn’t been announced yet.
Baroni hasn’t competed since May of last year — when he suffered a gruesome ankle injury at One FC: Rise to Power, and he’s lost four of his last five fights. So why does Bellator want him, exactly? I guess for the same reasons that they wanted Houston Alexander and Lavar Johnson — because you’ve heard of them before, and because it makes Bellator’s home-grown guys seem more impressive when they whoop the asses of former UFC talent.
My only question is, why didn’t Bellator book Baroni for their pay-per-view card two weeks later? Are they worried that he’d steal #thewholefuckingshow? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) We’ll update you when Baroni’s opponent is revealed. In the meantime, tweet us @cagepotatomma with a single hashtag that sums up your feelings about this news.