A few days ago I reported on strikeforce signing former ufc Heavyweight champion, PRIDE FC standout, and top-ranked Heavyweight Josh Barnett to a multi-fight contract. Some new details have emerged about the deal, courtesy of “The Babyfaced Assassin” himself. Never one to sugar-coat his words, Barnett revealed why he chose Strikeforce and why he looks forward to ripping off heads, drinking blood, and punching eyeballs out in the San Diego-based promotion. And no, none of that was a joke.
Here’s what Barnett had to say over at MMAWeekly: “I spoke with several other companies prior to this, and what kind of visibility they were able to offer, and what they could offer in terms of opponents, and just keeping me active… [Strikeforce’s visibility] matters big time. Cause [sic] when I dislocate and tear somebody’s head completely off their shoulders and spew blood all over the ring, and then drink it, I want the whole world to see it… I’d love to fight on CBS. Punch somebody so hard that their eyeballs pop out of their head… We haven’t really hit on any solid dates yet or anything like that, or even opponents… In due time. There’s not too many people all that chomping at the bit and so ready to meet their death.”
Well, I’m glad to see that Barnett is so motivated as he comes into Strikeforce. It remains to be seen if he can redeem himself, but he sounds ready, willing, and able to go into Strikeforce and dominate the division. I won’t lie, there are some big-money and very interesting fights for Josh Barnett in Strikeforce. Fights even I, who still feels extremely hesitant about Barnett, would love to see. If Barnett shows up clean, Strikeforce will have made an excellent acquisition of a top-ranked Heavyweight. If Barnett roids up again and once again gets caught, both Strikeforce and Barnett will have a huge black mark on their record. If Barnett succumbs to the juice yet again, it will likely be the final nail in his coffin. I don’t see any major promotion ever trusting Barnett again if he gets caught juicing in Strikeforce. This is Barnett’s final “second chance”. As a former fan, I sincerely hope he doesn’t blow it.
But honestly…I have to grimace when Barnett says things like this. It’s not intimidating. It’s moronic. And worse yet, it could turn into a PR nightmare. It’s happened before. Frank Mir stirred up a hornet’s nest when he claimed that he wanted to hurt Brock Lesnar so bad that he (Lesnar) would be the first man to die of Octagon-related injuries. WEC star Donald Cerrone just got through a media firestorm of his own when he claimed that he wanted to kill Jamie Varner in their hotly-anticipated rematch. Bold statements like these may have gone over decently in the “human cockfighting” days, back when blood was better, the sport was underground, and a scary personality and halfway-decent fighting skills were all you needed to become a star. But in today’s world, with near-global MMA acceptance/legalization hinging on the fighters being taken seriously as legitimate athletes and MMA as a whole being taken seriously as a legitimate sport, there’s no place for head-ripping, blood-drinking, or eye-popping.
Plainly put, Josh Barnett needs to watch his mouth and his behind if he wants to be successful in Strikeforce. No matter what else happens, Barnett faces some incredibly tough challenges in the form of fighters like Alistair Overeem, Brett Rogers, Andrei Arlovski, Antonio Silva, Fabricio Werdum, and of course, Fedor Emelianenko. And if he wants the visibility that comes with competing on a Showtime or CBS card, he should leave the blood and gore at home.
And what about you, fans and friends? What do you think of Barnett’s desire to maul his opponents?