Interview with MMA Legend Phil “The New York Bad Ass” Baroni

Posted: October 1, 2012 in Combat Sports, UFC
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Phil “The New York Bad Ass” Baroni is one of the early pioneers in the sport of Mixed MArtial Arts. The Massapequa Long Island native, has fought in some of the biggest stages in the world. Baroni became an immediate fan favorite with his brash style, his unapologetic demeanor, and his vicious aggressiveness. With his legacy assured, and losses piling up many people wondered why Baroni was still fighting at all.  Baroni recently said in our 30 minute interview. “I’m a Pride fighter.”

Below is a few of the questions from our MMA discussion.

JK:You have been fighting since 2000, in some of the biggest shows in the world. Why in your own words do you still compete?

Baroni:”I’m a pride fighter, you know. I fight for money. Records are for DJ’s, Money talks and bullshit walks. But my goal is to win the One FC belt. However, a shiny belt only puts food on the table if you sell it on ebay, at this point in my career money talks.”

JK: You seemed to be a different fighter in your last fight,(win at One FC Debut) do you feel more comfortable fighting under the unified Pride Rules? (with soccer kicks and knees to grounded opponents)

Baroni: “Yeah, I’m a New York street fighter. I’ve been kicking people in the head since I was a little kid! But I play by the rules whatever they are.”

JK: What was the difference between the last fight, and the one before, the one you lost to Holland in Denver?

Baroni: “I have to give a lot of credit to my cornerman, Mike Swick. Everyone before had been telling me to pace myself, and try not to get tired, but Swick told me to be the old Phil Baroni, the guy who comes out guns blazing, and something clicked in my head. At the time I was listening to too many people, my own press clippings, but Swick told me to fight my fight, and thats what I did. He understands me, he was coming off a few losses and a long lay off as well, so he knew where i was at”

JK: The Holland fight was featured on the “Fight Factory” television show. Did having the cameras on you put any added pressure on you? It was a pretty heart wrenching scene with you wife crying after the loss.

Baroni: “The show didn’t show it, but Javier Mendez begged me not to take that fight. I had a few major injuries that hadn’t healed yet, and I took the fight cause i needed the pay day. I should have never taken that fight! I didnt watch that fight, still…I’d rather watch the last one!”

JK: Good segway. How do you feel about Jon Jones not taking the Chael Sonnen fight on short notice?

Baroni: “I would have taken the fight, but look what happened last time, I lost. But, I’m not Jon Jones. I think everyone should get off this kids back. He is the champion, the Boss, what he says goes. Would I have taken the fight, ‘yes’ but who the hell am I? I am not sponsored by Nike, when you’re the champion you get to make those decisions. I don’t think it was his fault the event got cancelled. He is young. In this sport he doesn’t even have hair on his balls yet, is he brash and cocky, ‘yes he is’ but he is the champion, and the champ calls the shots, do you think Don King ever forced Mike Tyson to fight? Tyson would have told King to go fuck himself!”

JK: How has training at AKA changed you as a fighter?

Baroni: “It hasn’t really changed me, but I get to train with the best all the time! Everyone here is a great!”

JK: Did any of the drama between Josh Koscheck and Javier Mendez have any effect on the team?

Baroni: “On me, no. But the team and the trainers yeah it caused a strain. A lot of the fighters were close to Josh, some aren’t. I personally respect the guy, he is a former NCAA champion, and he is super tough…trains his fucking ass off! But business is business and that was it. It disrupted the coaches and managers, but not really the team. at one time Javier and Josh were really close, so there are personal things involved. thats none of my business.”

JK: How did you feel when all of this stuff was airing on television?

Baroni: “Would I have said and done things differently? Maybe I don’t know I got a big fucking mouth too, but yeah maybe some of it was better left off camera.”

JK: How was it having your life documented at every turn?

Baroni: “I’m used to the cameras. I’ve been in this game for a long time, I don’t even pay attention to them.I got nothing to hide.”

JK: What is next for the New York Bad Ass, I saw some rumors that you may be signing with Rey Sefo?

Baroni: “I would love to fight for the One FC belt, but like I said at this point in my career, I have to go where the money is. I have bills to pay, and have to put food on my table!”

JK: Do you have another fight booked?

Baroni: “Not sure what is next. I feel great. I’m in great shape. Old injuries, I don’t make excuses, everyone fights injured but I had some old injuries finally heal, and working at AKA i have learned more in the last six months than I have my entire career. I get to wrestle with Daniel Cormier all the time, I feel great. Feel like I could jump right into the NCAA’s and do great.

JK: What can Phil Baroni fans expect to see in your next fight?

Baroni: “You’re gonna see the same as the last fight. I’m gonna come out guns blazing, looking to finish in the first round. If you can get passed it, hats off to you. I used to train with the Team Quest guys a little (Matt Lindland, Dan Henderson) Like those guys and Randy Couture, I’m getting better as I get older. Physically I am just as strong as ever, and technically I’m faster. ”

JK: When you do decide to hang up the gloves, do you see yourself still part of the fight game in another capacity? Or will you do something else completely.

Baroni: “I love the game man, after fighting I’ll be involved somehow.”

Interview note: I would like to thank Mr Baroni for taking the time to speak with me. We will keep the post updated with any Phil Baroni Information and fight announcements. You can also follow “The New York Bad Ass” on twitter @philbaroni

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