Saturday night is going to be an epic night for me, as it marks the return of Josh Barnett to the UFC octagon. As a Warmaster superfan, and the fact that it happens over my birthday weekend, it holds a special place on my fight radar. The fact that he'll be fighting Frank Mir, in a match-up I've wanted to see for what seems like a millenium, makes it even better.
Recently, my MMA Sentinel co-host, Evan Shoman conducted a great interview with Josh, who discussed the dark ages of MMA, and how it's sometimes hard to find the honor in the current MMA landscape. He also spoke about his opponent, what comic books he's reading, and what he feels the key to his longevity in the fight game has been. Here's a snippet of the interview that's hosted up on HOV MMA:
I met a guy at AOL who was into MMA and we fought each other in the Judo room at the Washington Athletic Club. No refs or anything. If you fought at that time, it was because you were just driven with an overwhelming desire to test yourself and see what you were made of. Today, you can buy MMA gear at any generic sports equipment chain. You can find instructional and fight videos on YouTube, to learn from. It's everywhere, now. We didn't even have MMA gloves back then. We took fingerless Harbinger gloves and trimmed off some of the pads, took the bar out of the palm; and now we had an MMA glove.
Part of why I started fighting was to see the world. There wasn't any money and I didn't expect to get rich from it. I thought I would get out there and beat the living shit out of everybody and see the world as my payment.
In this sport, I think there are more athletes than fighters now. It isn't surprising; because of how easy it is to get into MMA today. There aren't all of the barriers that we used to deal with to get a fight, get the training, or even get into a gym. I had to try out for AMC Pankration and I had already beaten 1 of their pros in my first fight ever! They said it was all well and good, but they wanted me to go through conditioning, training, and an interview. They judged me to see if I was worth their time to invest in. I was still paying a gym membership, too. I paid, I trained, and I was a fighter.
You can read the entire interview here.
You can listen to the interview here.