Most people know “The New York Bad Ass” Phil Baroni as a knockout specialist, but few people know you as a wrestler. But in fact you were a 2x NJCAA All-American while attending Nassau Community College. Do you think wrestling key in helping you become a successful MMA star? Also, what are your thoughts on the Olympic committee trying to eliminate one of the games original sports in wrestling?
Phil Baroni: Wrestling put me on the right path in life. It taught me how to work hard, make sacrifices, how to compete and believe in myself. I don’t want to get into it but wrestling saved my life. It kept me on the right path got me an education, gave me the best foundation as an MMA fighter. I owe everything I have to wrestling to be honest when I think about it.
It’s simply a crock of shit to eliminate wrestling from the Olympics. But its politics. There are politics in everything, especially MMA and Politics suck.
Your knockout reputation was well earned, stopping Rodrigo Ribeiro recently in August, and in the past fighters like Scott Jansen, Yuki Kondo and more memorably with you jumping on the cage and claiming to be the best in the world after the Dave Menne knockout. What was your most memorable knockout so far? Who took the longest to wake back up?
Phil Baroni: Haha good question, I’d have to say Scott Jansen, a tough English kid I fought in Cage Rage. I hit that kid with a hard shot right on the button.
A lot of fighters crossover to K1, notably Alistar Overeem, and some even to boxing. You yourself are 7-0 as a kick boxer and 10-0 as an amateur boxer. All knockouts. Any thoughts of fighting again in either sport? Even as a way just to stay busy between MMA fights?
Phil Baroni: I’m too old now and nobody would take me serious. My place is in MMA. But what the fuck? When Money talks I listen.
When asked before about the most memorable win, you said that Ikuhisa Minowa was a highlight because you brought in to lose and then stomped his head in. There have a lot of rumors in the past of fixed fights in Japan. Were you approached to throw that fight and are there truth to the tails and rumors of fight fixing in Japan. Also, what are some of the differences between fighting in the states for the likes of UFC and StrikeForce versus Japan and Pride?
Phil Baroni: No, I was never asked to throw a fight.
And I love fighting over seas. I’m doing it now. I have success overseas sometimes and it’s great to win there. The fans are great, but all fans are great when you’re winning and winning at home is the best. My greatest win and after win celebration was in Pride America. But I’ll take wins and celebrating where ever I can get it. It beats losing anyplace anytime any day.
With questionable losses in the first Matt Lindland fight and the Evan Tanner rematch, you’ve said before that you think former fighters or at least more knowledgeable judges should be appointed. Do you think that will ever happen and what were your memories of those two fights in particular?
Phil Baroni: Fucking judges suck. The UFC wasn’t like it is now a days and Dana wasn’t giving you win bonuses even when the judges said you lost. Those judges ruined my career. I just lost a fight in Japan where I knocked the guy down. Took him down every round and lost the decision. The judges suck. They’re terrible and they take away from the sport.
What is your relationship like with Dana White these days? Is there any chance now that UFC has shut down StrikeForce that we ever see you back in the “octagon” for UFC again? What’s next up for “The New York Bad Ass”?
Phil Baroni: I think Dana is cool with me. I’ve never had a problem at all with him. I think he likes me. I don’t think the UFC has any plans for me haha. The only way I see me getting back in is UFC in NY. That would be great! The NYBA in MSG. That would be a great last Hurrah!
I have a big fight coming up in Manila in ONE FC, my last fight there was great. I love Manila and I love ONE FC. It’s an awesome promotion with a bright future. The rule set is better than the old pride days. Check this out (See video at bottom) to see what I’m talking about. They even have the screaming witch lady from PRIDE and yeah, the old NYBA still got it!