By now, I am sure we all have read Josh Barnett's comments about Kenny Florian. Mr. Josh was upset at Kenny's comments on MMA Live and took some shots at Kenny.
Anyone who watches MMA Live on ESPN.com knows that I am fair when talking about UFC, Strikeforce, Affliction etc . . . or any of the fighters. In the most recent episode, I spoke about Joe Lauzon's dominant win over Stephens. Joe has spoken negatively about me in several interviews lately but I call it like I see it. He did well against Stephens and dominated the ground action. I also spoke about Strikeforce being a great thing for mma fighters and fans. Criticizing fighters or even picking winners and losers is always tough but it is my job and what ESPN pays me to do. Most here understand that and many here supporting Barnett most likely never saw the episode.
I expected a dominant finish from Barnett because HE IS a top heavyweight going against a man in Yvel who doesn't have his ground skills. Barnett certainly dominated but for whatever the reason, he struggled to put him away. It was my job to tell people watching the show what I thought about the fight.
I have always had a lot of respect for Josh Barnett as a fighter and he has always came across well in the past. Hearing his comments about me shows that while he is a good fighter, he is like school on Sunday, he has no class. I am not sure if Barnett is overly sensitive, sexually frustrated or believes he had a perfect performance, whatever the case, I think the comments he made shows what kind of a background he comes from. He has made some unusual comments about the UFC and other fighters so I find it odd that he is so sensitive.
As a professional mma fighter myself, I have been subjected to a lot of criticism. I think all of my performances are terrible after a few weeks after my fights. I know I need improvement which is why I train so hard. To resort to insults and name calling because someone thought I should have fought better is immature and pointless. We can always do better. We fight on TV and people will criticize. No mysteries here.
It is fighters like Josh Barnett who help support the perception that MMA fighters are ignorant and low class individuals. This is unfortunate since the MMA world needs guys who act like professional athletes if we want people to take this sport seriously. Barnett isn't a kid anymore and has been around the sport for a long time now, he should act like a pro. If we show a lack of respect, how can we want people to respect us?
Either way, thanks for watching MMA Live on ESPN.com. All of our past episodes are available on the MMA page at ESPN.com.
Shortly thereafter, Josh responded:
Now that I have your attention Kenny, and the rest of the internet it seems, I’ll lay it out for you without the attention grabbing obnoxiousness. I have done media work in MMA for years and know the difference between acting as a professional on camera and taking shots at someone. You obviously do not and did not have respect for me as a fighter when you decided to not simply be critical of my performance but talk of it with derision and disdain. Your clearly condescending attitude is where I took offense and when I have fellow fighters sending me messages saying, "Hey, did you see Kenny Florian talking down about you on ESPN?" it’s clear to me you’re being disrespectful.
Yeah I know all the crass comments were a bit much and "Sit-on-a-dong" in retrospect was in very poor taste. I regret that one. But for grabbing attention and putting more listeners in front of the PC for Shoman and Co. it did the trick. The offer still stands however if you, K-Flo, think you can teach me a two about throwing an armlock or two. Your attitude suggested you sat on a pretty high perch for someone so much my junior in this sport and you must think yourself a better fighter. I’d simply like to see you stand up for that attitude. I have been submitted plenty of times by Matt Hume who is around your weight and you’re a professional athlete so no need for anyone to whine about me picking on you Kenny.
Who are you to speak of class or more importantly my background? The only thing you need to know about my background is that no one ever let me act like an arrogant prick without smacking me one. My teachers are men who put up or shut up and take no shit from anybody. See when I started fighting I didn’t have the luxury of gyms everywhere, promotions all over the US, sponsors, or even MMA gear. We fought whoever, whenever pretty much regardless of weights, time limits or rules. What you see on Sherdog isn’t the extent of my fighting history. Ever fight bare knuckle, with headbutts or no time limit? No cutting and running in those matches buddy boy. No, I bet you didn’t. You got all the benefits of a modern MMA created by people like myself and I can tell you what it really means to suffer for a sport when we didn’t make dick. But we fought however we could and for free if we had to, just to fight.
You’re a kid in this game. A mewling babe sucking from a teet. You haven’t done the things I have or even have as many fights as I have wins. You need to realize that just because you fight in the UFC and are on an ESPN internet show, we are not peers. Not even close. Not as fighters, not in MMA knowledge, not in the business aspects, not in anything.
I must say that as a fighter your improvement has been impressive and I think you have come far from the finals of the first TUF. This however is not just about professionalism but about being a man. If you want to speak with contempt and flout be prepared to have own up to it –even if it means having to get physical. That’s the way it is.
Don’t talk shit if you don’t want shit.
Folks have already pointed out that Kenny's comments were nothing compared to what mainstream Sports writers would have offered up. When you step into the spotlight, you have to accept that a certian amount of criticism is going to come with it.
Was Kenny critical? He was, but I don't think anything he said crossed the line. Actually, I think he hit the nail on the head. He said nothing that was not being said online and even among the MMA fans I know.
I give Josh credit for admitting some of his remarks were crass, but he still comes across in a very condescending manner. I think Kenny and Josh are indeed peers. Kenny has become one of the top LWs in the world and has established himself as a fine commentator as well. To me, Josh's latest comments almost had a tint of jealousy to them.