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.
You guys, I don’t claim to be a prophet all that often, save for when I accurately predict which chef will be eliminated each round on Chopped, but today is one of those days.
When it was first announced that Ben Askren was (somewhat inexplicably) headed to One FC some two days ago, I suggested that the former Bellator kingpin take on Phil Baroni in his promotional debut. It was the fight I wanted to see, and therefore, the fight fans wanted to see. Perhaps most importantly, Baroni is the only other member of the One FC welterweight roster I could name off the top of my head, so how could this fight not make perfect sense?
In any case, you can understand my excitement when opening up the Twitter earlier today to see the above tweet. Because as boring as Ben Askren truly is in the cage, he is equally entertaining online. And it turns out that the following tweet was only part of what was a beautiful back and forth between Askren and Baroni, a back and forth that is sure to lead to a future showdown pairing old guard against new guard despite the fact that the old guard’s body is literally disintegrating beneath him.
Join us after the jump for what will surely go down in the history books as the catalyst to the greatest MMA feud of all time.
Well, we warned you. Bellator ring girl Jade Bryce has returned for another installment of “MMA Impressions” for CagePotato.com, in which she gives her own unique take on these classic victory celebrations:
After getting backed into the cage by a series of knees around the four minute mark of the first round, Baroni was dropped by a Suzuki right hand that appeared to put him down for the count. A few follow up punches wrote this notion home and the referee was forced to step in. Unfortunately, said ref didn’t appear to notice that Baroni’s foot was trying to break free from the rest of his leg and provided little comfort for “The New York Bad Ass,” who now falls to 15-17 in his professional MMA career. At this point in his career, Baroni should consider challenging James “Why Me?” Irvin for the right to be called the most cursed man in MMA.
Of course, Baroni wasn’t the only former UFC star to suffer a tough loss this morning…
(No, Tim, we do not know where they keep the rest of the honey. Photo via Sherdog.)
You guys, this might come as a Scanners.gif to you, but Tim Sylvia — best known around these parts as Fatty Boom-Boom — failed to make weight for his scheduled contest with Tony Johnson at ONE FC ‘Rise to Power’ tomorrow. Tipping the scales at a hefty-yet-slimmed down 271 pounds (perhaps The Maine-Iac 90 Day Weight Loss Challenge works after all!), Sylvia missed the heavyweight limit by 6 pounds earlier today. While some of you may accuse of us going after the low hanging fruit here, let us not forget that this is the same Tim Sylvia who just weeks ago was informing us of his desires to finish his career in the UFC. This is not a great start.
To be fair, Sylvia wasn’t the most egregious offender at today’s weigh-ins, not by a long shot. That dishonor would be bestowed upon Ryan “The Lion” Diaz, the 13-13 Strikeforce and KOTC veteran who had not competed in nearly three years before agreeing to face Yusup Saadulaev in a bantamweight contest. Weighing in at 144.8 pounds, Diaz surpassed the limit by nearly ten pounds. Somewhere, Anthony Johnson is eating his second straight double fudge ice cream sundae and smiling for completely unrelated reasons.
Sylvia and Diaz, along with Andrew Leone and Lowen Tynanes, will all face penalties for missing weight in the form of purse deductions, although just how much they will lose has yet to be disclosed by ONE FC officials. Thankfully, the scheduled title fights in Honorio Banario vs. Koji Oishi (featherweight) and Bibiano Fernandes vs. Koetsu Okazaki (bantamweight) will actually make it to fruition, as all four fighters successfully made weight.
The entire ONE FC ‘Rise to Power’ fight card can be purchased for just $9.99 through ONE FC’s official website. Featuring the likes of Phil Baroni, Kamal Shalorus, Masakatsu Ueda, and Eduard Folayang, the card is set to kick off tomorrow morning starting at 6:30 a.m. EST.
The full weigh-in results and a video preview of ONE FC ‘Rise to Power’ are after the jump.
According to a New York State Assembly “insider” quoted in a new report by NY Daily News reporter Kenneth Lovett, “It’s getting harder for [Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver] to keep blocking this,” referring to the bill partially crafted by the UFC to sanction MMA in New York.
“Resistance to it is getting less,” Speaker Silver admitted.
Lovett went on to explain in his report that Assemblyman Robert Reilly — better known around here as “Bob,” and one of New York’s most passionate, confused, and dishonest opponents of MMA sanctioning — is miraculously retiring this week (!!!) and that his departure should take a good deal of steam out of the opposition to MMA in New York. The ban on professional MMA in the state was signed into law by then-Governor George Pataki in 1997, but now even he is calling for the sport’s legalization.
Sources tell The Daily News that if the bill to legalize and regulate professional MMA in New York were brought to a vote in the general assembly right now, it would be passed. However, hurdles remain for the sport and its largest promotion, the UFC. Members of the NY Assembly including Deborah Glick and Daniel O’Donnell still oppose MMA’s legalization, the report says, and they might be able to prevent the measure from getting through committee and to the general assembly for voting.
In addition, the Culinary Workers Union — MMA’s most powerful arch-nemesis in the fight for New York MMA regulation — continues its loud propaganda campaign against the UFC, slamming everything from Dana White’s language to Mandy Moore’s judgment. (Funny story: If you go to the Culinary Union’s anti-UFC website UnfitforChildren.org right now, the lead story is a screen-cap of a CagePotato article. Wisely, they didn’t reprint the article’s first line, which refers to the Union as “two-faced, propaganda pushing arseholes.”)
Nevertheless, UFC President Dana White seems to be as optimistic as ever that his organization will soon put on an event in New York. After UFC 155, the promoter told assembled media that he hoped to host a UFC 20th Anniversary event in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden this coming fall. “We have a date, and we have a match,” White revealed.
Over the past few days, we’ve witnessed a pair of rarely seen finishes in the octagon — a suplex KO and a flying reverse triangle — and after we here at CagePotato collectively picked our jaws up off the floor and found a clean pair of shorts, we got to thinking, what other techniques/finishes do we rarely come across in the MMA stratosphere? And more importantly, which of these techniques/finishes have we not devoted some sort of gif or video tribute to already?
Taking all of those factors into account, we came to the standing TKO, a finish so uncommon in MMA that we could only name a handful of occurrences before having to resort to the Interwebs for assistance. So in honor of the iron-jawed sumbitches who wouldn’t bow to defeat even when it was kneeing/punching/kicking them damn near to death, we’ve placed our favorite examples of this phenomenon below. Check ‘em out after the jump and let us know which stoppages you thought were warranted and which ones could have gone on a little longer.
Unless you’ve been a close follower of the Utah MMA scene over the past few years, chances are that you’ve probably forgotten all about TUF 2 alum Josh Burkman. After a three fight skid saw him ousted from the UFC back in 2008, Burkman took over a year and a half off to recover from several injuries that could have ended any lesser man’s career, injuries Burkman admits in hindsight that he should have addressed much earlier. But if you were to ask Josh how the past few years have treated him, you’d think he was on top of the world.
I called Josh at approximately 5:15 p.m. EST yesterday. He was just stepping into his house after a long day of training for his November 3rd match against fellow UFC veteran Gerald Harris on the inaugural card of the Ray Sefo-run World Series of Fighting promotion. It’s a win that could very well propel “The People’s Warrior” back into the octagon for the first time in over four years, yet he doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of the pressure getting to him. I ask him how he’s doing. “Life is good,” he tells me, making sure to kiss his ten day old son as soon as he enters the house. From the get-go, I can tell that Josh is a much more open and laid back guy than some of the fighters I’ve dealt with in the past. But little did I know that before our conversation was over, we would discuss everything from his career comeback and newly found lease on life to his infamous in and out of the ring brawls with Jeremy Horn and Phil Baroni.
Last Friday we (and the rest of the known cyber MMA world) complained about Singapore MMA promotion One FC botching an otherwise solid event in the Philippines with convoluted rules relating to kicks to the heads of downed opponents. Referees somehow had to give fighters “permission” in the moment to throw kicks to the heads of their fallen opponents.