On the one hand, there’s no doubt that Maycee Barber’s torn ACL severely affected her bout with Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 246. By the 3rd round, the ‘Future’ had been effectively reduced to one leg, barely able to move while standing.
On the other hand, she also looked like she was fairly significantly out-classed by Modafferi on multiple technical levels. Including early standing striking exchanges, previous to any clear sign of injury. It could even be argued, that the injury looked like a direct result of the trouble Barber was having gauging distance and timing on the feet. Whether or not that’s the case, however, it’s a narrative that Maycee’s father, Bucky Barber, looked to largely dismiss in a since deleted Instagram post (h/t WMMARankings).
“The work was in, the skill level at its peak her only way of defeat is if bad luck kissed her on the cheek,” Barber’s father wrote on Instagram. “Ten seconds in a complete ACL tear turned the probable into the unlikely. Though she had her moments and showed more heart than most have ever witnessed the night ended with an [sic] Loss. However was it a loss? She was not beaten by a better skill set. She was beaten by one unfortunate step and turn of events. That is out of her control. The victory we take from this is we now know we have the highest level of heart to match the highest level of skill in the game. I have seen how athletes react when this injury occurs. Very very few stay standing let alone fight an MMA fight for 15 minutes and still survive. That is insane.
“She will be back stronger and more dominant than ever and we as a team could not be more proud. The Future is real do not get confused with one step. The worst of luck smiles at us all! All we can do is smile back. She will see you all very soon. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. The Future, Version 2.0 to be feared.”
‘The Happy Warrior,’ and many fight fans, may not be buying into that narrative, but that hasn’t left Roxanne Modafferi any less upbeat, or pragmatic about how she feels about her recent victory—or the kindness she’s shown to Barber before, during, and after the fight.
“Meh, fathers are supposed to be biased and say stupid thing,” Modafferi wrote in a post on Twitter, replying to Barber’s father’s statement. “Mine used to say, “I’m proud of you...so are you retiring yet?” Not anymore, though. :) At least she didn’t say it. I still respect Macyee [sic] for being a warrior.”
Her big upset victory has bumped Modafferi up to #5 in the UFC women’s flyweight rankings, and provided a nice bounceback from a tough defeat at the hands of Jennifer Maia back in July of 2019. For Barber, the loss snapped her 8-fight unbeaten streak—the first defeat of her professional career. How she recovers from her first major professional setback remains to be seen.