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Strikeforce Kicks Out Phil Baroni (Sort Of), Picks Up Matt Lindland


(Kickin’ asses, breakin’ hearts, and stealin’ robes from Courtyard Marriotts. Props: sports.sho.com)

Strikeforce distributed a press release yesterday evening announcing that Phil Baroni had been released by the organization, citing Baroni’s "one-sided defeat" at the hands of Joe Riggs in June, and the fact that he’s lost four of his last seven fights. (Kind of harsh, since he’s also won three of his last four.) Said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker: "We wish Phil the best of luck and hope he can revive his career. If he can, maybe one day, he can return and fight for us." The news was surprising for a couple reasons. First, have you ever heard of Strikeforce releasing a big name due to poor performance? It’s not like their welterweight division is so deep that they can be picky, and Baroni is a draw whether he wins or loses. Also, the vaguely negative tone of the press release seemed out of character for Strikeforce. Did something else happen behind the scenes?

The answer: Yeah, maybe. Immediately after the press release hit our inboxes, it was reported that Baroni had verbally agreed to a new contract with the UFC. The New York Badass compiled a 3-5 record in the UFC as a middleweight from 2001-2005, and was released after taking four consecutive losses. During his recent stint as a welterweight, Baroni has yet to defeat a fighter who currently holds a winning record, which seems to imply that the UFC’s offer to Baroni had more to do with sticking a thumb in Strikeforce’s eye than acquiring a promising 170-pounder. It also gives more credence to yesterday’s wild speculation about an upcoming season of TUF featuring old guys. Call us crazy now, but you’ll see.


Still, when one door closes, another opens. Filling the NYBA’s void at Strikeforce will be 39-year old MMA legend Matt Lindland, best known for his 10-3 run in the UFC from 2000-2005 (which included two decision wins over Phil Baroni), and the nasty sponsor-related feud that followed. According to MMA Weekly, Lindland expects to make his Strikeforce debut in October — on the card that’s slated to be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko — and named Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler, and Cung Le as possible opponents. Lindland was formerly under contract with Affliction, most recently suffering a 37-second knockout loss to Vitor Belfort in January; unsurprisingly, the UFC made no effort to pick him up after Affliction went under.

In other Strikeforce news…

— The "Carano vs. Cyborg" undercard match between Fabricio Werdum and Mike Kyle has been bumped up to the main card.

According to co-host Gorgeous George on MMA Junkie Radio yesterday, Strikeforce is angling to set up a fight between Fedor Emelianenko and former UFC heavyweight champ/Celebrity Rehab castmember Ricco Rodriguez. Let’s all pray that this doesn’t happen.

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NECROPHYTE- August 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm
@ armfarmer
right on I agree w/u. I was just making an observation.
Bovice- August 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm
Has Baroni started fucking his wife again yet?
ArmFarmer- August 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm
@necrophyte

Thing is.. are any of those really impressive wins? Coleman's old as dirt, washed up, and fights at light heavyweight, Tim Sylvia well.. he's Tim Sylvia, and the other two got ktfo by Tim Sylvia. For a guy that's suppose to be the best fighter on the planet, those aren't opponents to brag about. Unless you're strikeforces' marketing team.
Smackdaddiest1- August 14, 2009 at 11:35 am
@BuckWild

Roy Munson?lol

NECROPHYTE- August 14, 2009 at 11:34 am
Ricco would be the 4th former UFC heavyweight champ that Fedor has pimped.

1.Coleman
2.Sylvia
3.Arlovski
4.Rodriguez
LBo- August 14, 2009 at 10:04 am
Baroni to the UFC sounds like Dana White gearing up to make history by firing someone BEFORE they lose their first fight.

If DW was smart, he'd have Barncat and NYBA fight, winner stays. They could do a whole "Baroni hates nerds" buildup after that interview he gave where he did that whole youse talkin to me / i hate computer geeks / do roids / bada bing / dats a spicy meatball / whatever else he said.
BuckWild- August 14, 2009 at 9:03 am
I think Strickforce needs to come out swinging when it comes to using Fedors 3 fight contract.

They need to make every Fedor fight count!

1. Fedor vs Munson
2. Fedor vs Rogers
3. Fedor vs Overeem
portland mma- August 14, 2009 at 8:39 am
I'd love to see him Fight Bret Rogers ( I know he probably doesn't have a chance) but i think they're trying to built up to that or Overrem since thats all they can do.
ArmFarmer- August 14, 2009 at 8:38 am
I have a feeling the phrase "former ufc heavyweight champ" plays a big role in why this fight is happening. Fedor nut huggers and strikeforce marketers are going to love this. "Fedor defeated another ufc champion with ease.. he is the best ever!!" Give me a break. Yeah you could say Fedor beat some ufc heavyweight champs... you could also say that it took Fedor 10 times as long as Ray Mercer and Brett Rogers to accomplish the same goal. Not so impressive sounding when you put it that way. Fedor is a joke, wave goodbye to your legacy.

PS wasn't he suppose to be fighting Mousasi first? Isn't he a middleweight? Fedor is going to fall off the pfp list faster than Mercer ko'd sylvia.
ArmFarmer- August 14, 2009 at 8:32 am
@Portland mma

The Randy fight is completely irrelevant by now anyway. That was in 02. Sense then he's lost to a lot of mediocre fighters and hasn't beaten anyone really good. A win over him at this point doesn't mean a whole lot, and is completely meaningless to any top 5 heavyweight.

and like you said, he got ktfo by tim fucking sylvia..
ArmFarmer- August 14, 2009 at 8:22 am
@One Two

Shitty fighter? Yeah, pretty much. One of the biggest names strikeforce had? Yeah, pretty much. That's one less well known name from UFC/Pride that's on their roster. It doesn't matter that he'd never be champion, he was still an exciting well known fighter that was able to pull fans. With everything else that's been going on I think it actually is a significant blow to Strikeforce. By itself it wouldn't be a big deal, but things haven't been looking good for them lately and stuff like this will begin to add up. I personally am a lot more excited for strikeforce cards when I see that half the card is ex ufc/pride guys, rather than guys I may or may not have heard of.

Think about it, if you asked a casual fan if they'd rather see a card with Baroni/Scott Smith/Lawler/Riggs/Diaz ect. or one with Melendez/Ishida/Mousasi/Fedor, which do you think they'd pick? I know some "fans" that wouldn't recognize a single name on the second list but would know every name on the first.. and those are the people that make up 75% of the viewers.
portland mma- August 14, 2009 at 7:35 am
I totally agree Arm Farmer, he did beat Couture, but until he got that Ground and Pound in the 5th he was getting his ass kicked, and then if i remember right he didn't even defend the the title once because he got knocked out by Tim fucking Sylvia.
One Two- August 14, 2009 at 7:29 am
Way to get even with strikeforce steal one of their shitty fighters whose a complete douchebag.
ksgbobo- August 14, 2009 at 7:27 am
lol...sounds like Strikeforce is pulling a UFC stunt...you lose two fights in a row and you are gone...but they have to remember, their talent pool isnt as deep...way to go Strikeforce...I give them 6 months...
portland mma- August 14, 2009 at 7:21 am
Genius marketing by Vadim, everyone is talking shit about Fedor because he wont fight in the UFC and for fighting cans, so to quell this you put him against fucking Ricco Rodriguez? I know Ricco HAD shit loads of talent way back but then he got really fat and was all coked out (how the fuck does that happen?). The marketing for this is going to be so annoying. I hate when they try to sell someone as being legit because at one time they were. They're probably going to go with the "he beat Randy Couture" (when i was a senior in fucking high school) angle he's a good fighter blah blah and we're all supposed to bow down to Fedor after he knocks him out in 23 seconds. Fucking come on Fedor
Smackdaddiest1- August 14, 2009 at 7:10 am
I thought Fedor wanted the best fights?

All this will accomplish is another edition of Celebrity Rehab, featuring Vadim if Fedor loses.
MyFightWiffaCheeto- August 14, 2009 at 7:02 am
Ricco Rodriguez against Fedor...

Why not just cart out my 5'3" half blind, nearly deaf, spanish speaking only grandfather to fight Fedor next?

Strikeforce is gonna sign Frye and Severn to fight him next too. Strikeforce isn't really doing much to pull this off.
CJvsCP- August 14, 2009 at 6:42 am
Fedor vs Meanfinger = Meanfinger suffers 1st round 5 sec KO by having his own meanfinger(btw gayest name ever) shoved all the way up his ass!
Old_Bald_and_Irish- August 14, 2009 at 6:31 am
WTF is going on around here?

The past two weeks have been MMA-Superman Bizzaro World!

Barroni back in the UFC?

...I didn't see that one coming, but good for you Phil!

Lindland in Strikeforce? I dunno. I guess he's still got a few good fights left in him. I'd rather see him fight Shields or Lawler as opposed to Le.

Fedor vs Rodriguez? Uhhhh...no. Please don't let that be. After all the Fedor related BS that's gone on the past few weeks, Fedor needs to debut in Strikforce against a worthy opponent. I understand it's a 'tune-up' fight, but this is so one-sided, it's not even interesting.
jimbonics- August 14, 2009 at 6:23 am
This is all becoming one big-ass joke.
Androiddrew- August 14, 2009 at 6:22 am
Fedor vs Rodriguez? Now that is a fight to make all the flabby guys out there proud!
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