Posts Tagged ‘Frank Shamrock’

By Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

When Phil Baroni started fighting the sport of MMA was known as a somewhat ‘brainless tough man competition’, where the brutal usually trumped the tactician. However, Baroni was one of the first to bring a blend of disciplines together to win with regularity. His tremendous hand speed, and stiff wrestling pedigree made him one of the first all-around fighters in MMA.

Once he made it to television,Baroni’s career took off. As the UFC was starting to grow into a major sport, Baroni’s brash character, and aggressive style made him an instant draw. People paid to see him win, and they also paid to see him loose. His polarizing persona forced you to make it a decision. You either loved him or you hated him, but either way you wanted to see him fight.

His fight against Dave Menne at UFC 39, and rivalries with Matt Lindland and the late Evan Tanner will always be considered as all-time UFC classics.

Since then “The New York Bad Ass” has fought in every major organization around the world (Several stints with the UFC, Strikeforce, Pride, Dream, Elite XC, ONE FC, Titan FC and  others), and is now set to make his promotional debut for Bellator MMA against Karo Parisyan (23-10 MMA) on July 25. On paper the fight seems like a “cross roads” bout, as both fighters are trying to right their once promising careers. However for Baroni, its just another fight!

“I still have the fire!” Baroni said. “I love to train. I’m happy and I have a lot left to prove. I feel my career has been a letdown, and maybe a bust.” Baroni said. Those of us who watched him fight however would disagree. “I’m looking to this fight to set the record straight.”

That record has seen him fight everyone from Frank Shamrock to Ryo Chonan. Adding Parisyan’s name to the win column would certainly pave the way for more big name fights. “Karo is coming off a big win over Ron Keslar, who was a sparring  partner of mine at AKA, and Keslar beat War Machine who is another friend, so its a big fight me.”, Baroni chuckled. “I need to show these young guys I’m still the big dog!”

Currently still under contract with One FC, “The New York Bad Ass” was able to secure a fight with Bellator while still under contract with the Asian promotion in part due to the negotiations of former CEO Bjorn Rebney. With Rebney no longer in charge, Baroni is excited to fight for his former Strikeforce boss Scott Coker; who is now running the Bellator operations.

“When I was coming out of Pride I met Scott Coker; He came up to me and told me ‘I want to be in the Phil Baroni’ business.” Baroni said. “He promotes fighters.” Coker unlike his predecessor at Bellator, and unlike Dana White prefered to remain behind the curtain. A trait that left a lasting impression with Baroni. “You see these guys like Dana White and Bob Arum, become big stars as promoters, doing media scrums, and its like ‘who cares?’ they are just promoters! I just don’t understand it.” Baroni said.

As a promoter, Coker prefered to see his fighters in the limelight. The fact that Scott Coker prefers to stand behind his fighters motivates Baroni more.

“If you look at the Strikeforce fights, it was Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni, or it was Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le. It wasn’t Strikeforce a hundred and whatever, it was about the fighters, not the promotion!” Baroni said. “When Coker came to me after Pride, it meant something, it motivated me, ‘Now I want to repay that faith and make him[Coker] happy he is in the ‘Phil Baroni’ business.”

A good showing in his promotional debut would certainly secure that faith. However, win or loose “The New York Bad Ass” already has plans to drop in weight and fight at 155 lbs. Baroni claims he could have made the weight for his debut with Bellator, however he “could’t say no to a big name like Karo.” A fighter he not only respects, but recognizes as a legitimate threat. “Karo is coming off a big win, he is a real tough dude, the guy was one of the best in the UFC for a long time.” Baroni said. “I know he had some personal issues in the past, but he seems past all that now, and looked strong in his last fight.”

This fight will also be the first test for Baroni’s surgically repaired ankle. The long recovery from the injury has tested him mentally and physically. A test he would have never passed without the help of his loving wife Angela. “She didn’t give up on me, and she held it down while i was recovering!” With her support he has been able to continue fighting, and again looking to regain his former form.

A return to OKG Gym in Las Vegas is another reason for the drop to 155. “Nick told me if I wanted to come back to OKG I had to prove to him I was serious.” With his injures healed, and his weight in check it appears Baroni has passed all of the test he needed, now he needs to parlay that confidence into a great performance.

Although confident about his chances again, Baroni understands he may have to win over the pundits. “I’m not stupid, I know what the critics say” Baroni lamented. “They think I’m washed up, especially coming off the injury, but the public didn’t really see my fights in One FC, and the critics don’t see me training hard everyday. That is why this is also an opportunity for me to reintroduce myself to the American MMA fan.” Baroni said.

A win over Parisyan on national television would certainly go a long way to regain that notoriety. A loss however, would not define him. Guys like Phil Baroni are cut from a different cloth. His interests carry outside the world of fighting, and he currently owns his own business along with partner boxer Paulie Malignaggi (Future Legend), and also spends a lot of his time helping charities raise money.

“Recently I started volunteering for the One Step Closer Foundation that works with families of and individuals with, cerebral palsy.” Baroni’s nephew Christopher is one of the children who receives assistance from the charity. “I see first hand how hard it can be financially on families, it breaks my heart to see people like my sister struggle to afford things they need.” Baroni said. The charity utilizes the fighters loyal fan base to help raise money through events like their charity poker event which raised $63,000 that directly helped those in need, those like Christopher.

Baroni wears a green armband in support of the charity, and if you would like to make a donation please visit their site at: http://www.onestepcloserfoundation.org

The future for Phil Baroni will be defined by Phil Baroni, not by the critics. His legacy is secured in the concrete memories of the true fan, alongside the Chuck Liddells and Randy Coutures. He may not have won a title (Yet!), but his popularity can never be questioned. Despite what anyone may say, he is and always will be “The Best Eva!”

Make sure you watch Phil Baroni at Bellator 122 on July 25th, when he takes on Karo Parisyan. The fight will be live on SPIKE TV Check you local listings or log on to Bellator MMA.

 

You can follow: Phil Baroni on Twitter: https://twitter.com/philbaroni

Phil Baroni is Sponsored By: Future Legend http://www.futurelegend.co/ a company he owns with Boxer Paulie Malignaggi.

He Trains out of One Kick Gym in Las Vegas http://onekickgym.com/index.html

Phil Baroni would also like to thank the following:

Havoc Boxing for making “The best boxing robe in the business” Phil is their First MMA Sponsored Fighter Following the Likes of Diego Corrales and Sugar Shane Mosley

Tracy from Affliction Clothing,

Garden of Life Raw Meals

Lana’s Egg Whites

Special Thanks: to Chiat Sityodtong from Evolve Singapore.

 

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Champions Smile

A Champions Smile

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Bellator MMA The Toughest Tournament in Sports, hosted open workouts for the upcoming event on Saturday evening.

The main card features three world title fights, headlined by the rematch of Chandler v Alvarez II. Eddie Alvarez makes his much anticipated return to the Bellator cage since having over a year off due to contractual disputes. With those issues in the rear view mirror (for now), Alvarez is attempting to regain the title he lost to a much improved Michael Chandler.

Pat Curran will also put his 145 title on the line against tournament winner Daniel Straus. Now known as one of the top 145 lbs fighters in the world, Curran will look to solidify those rankings, while Daniel Straus will attempt to end that discussion.

Also on the main card are 205 lbs heavy hitters Emanuel Newton and King Mo Lawal who will face off for the second time, this time with the interim title on the line. The last meeting ended with a surprising spinning back fist KO, that left Lawal prone, and Newton on top of the world. However, each fight is different and whoever wins, it certainly going to be worth watching.

Other notable match-ups worth watching on SpikeTV.com are Michael ‘Joker’ Guymon v Aaron ‘Blood Spiller’ Miller; and Akop Stepanyan v Mike Richman.

The preliminary bouts can be viewed on SpikeTV.com while the main card will air live on Spike TV. Make sure you tune in to what should be one hell of a night of MMA action.

All photos and created content are the property of The Clinch Report, LLC  . Any unauthorized use of video, content, images, or likeness is prohibited. ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED. Please contact news@theclinchreport.com for any further information.

By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Video by: John Walsh The Clinch Report

In the world of mixed martial arts, few names are more recognizable than Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture. He is the only 3x Light Heavyweight and 3x Heavyweight champion in the sports history, and has also transitioned outside the sport into main stream media better than almost any other fighter. His fights are legendary and so are the training camps that he founded.

Team Quest and Xtreme Couture are two of the sports most recognizable camps, and both were founded in part by Couture. We have seen his coaching skill first hand on the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter, so he is the perfect fit for Bellator and for the show.

Couture has endured a media backlash from the UFC since signing with the rival promotions new endeavor. Dana White has said publicly that Couture is now persona non grata at all UFC events including ones where Randy’s son, Ryan( who is on the UFC roster) is fighting. The elder Couture was in the UFC employ up until recently, but decided to sign elsewhere when he felt his status with the company was left in limbo.

Now with “Fight Masters”, Couture is looking forward to the shows reception. Which should be well received. The show itself on the surface may seem like a ‘TUF’ retread, however after watching the premier episode it is evident that this is not the case. The show offers a completely fresh look at the reality concept with regard to fighters.

Each fighter gets to choose his coach for the season. After a short interview process each fighter decides between Frank Shamrock, Joe Warren, Greg Jackson, or Couture.  Each coach evaluates the fighters, and in some cases, even lobby to be chosen. The show somewhat represents what a real fighter would do, by choosing his own path.

With a diverse mix of talent and incredible coaching; the show is all about pure mixed martial arts. However the coaches add a dynamic of competition between themselves that is not only genuine, but at times it is hysterical. The added entertainment value is a refreshing change to the buffoonery we have become use to on the other reality shows.

The show debuts  Wednesday, June 19 at 10 PM / 9 PM Central on SPIKE TV, and offers a mid week MMA fix for both the avid and casual fight fan alike. With the network having previous success with this reality show format in the past, and with Bellator’s current growth ‘Fight Master’s’ success is all but guaranteed.

Bjorn Rebney bellator Owner and CEO

Bjorn Rebney bellator Owner and CEO

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Once again Bellator shows their business acumen by following in the footsteps of one of the UFC’s most lucrative paths. Viacom and Bellator announced on Tuesday, that filming would begin “imminently” for a show that would be similar to the Ultimate Fighter, set to debut in the summer of 2013.

Several high profile MMA stars have signed on to coach including UFC exile Frank Shamrock, UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, renowned coach Greg Jackson, and former world champion Joe  Warren. The show dubbed “Fightmaster:”, will not be an exact clone of the TUF series, but very similar. Once again Bellator seems to have stolen more of the UFC’s thunder.

The most glaring issue is the signing of Randy Couture, whose tumultuous relationship with the UFC is apparently permanently put to rest. “I’m glad I never have to do business with the man ever again!” Dana White bristled when asked about Couture teaming with Bellator. “Most people that do business with him would agree!” White, also clarified that the former two division champion’s son would still be fighting under the UFC. Although he made it clear that the elder Couture was not welcome in any capacity. “He can’t even buy a ticket!”

Building on the TUF model, Viacom has put together a tremendous team to run “Fightmaster”. “The cornerstone of this show is really about the people behind it,” said Bellator president Bjorn Rebney.  ”The Amazing Race” creators Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri will be the wizards behind the curtains.

The series will feature 32 welterweights who will choose their own coaches. Fighters will compete for a 6 figure contract, as well as a spot in a future championship tournament. 2013 is looking like the year of Bellator.

Every move they make, seems to pay dividends. With partnerships that are genuinely concerned with producing a quality product, and fighters who tend to leave it all in the cage, the successful rise of this promotion seems to be guaranteed!