Exclusive interview with Phil Baroni

I planned on writing something witty for Phil Baroni’s introduction but some guy named Wenusan beat me to it nearly four years ago. This Wenusan guy decided to create a definition for Phil Baroni in the Urban Dictionary on May 3rd 2006 and it’s 100% accurate:

“Phil Baroni is arguably the greatest showman in the history of human fighting. He is the New York Bad Ass and he represents the coolest faction in the fight scene, Hammer House (never bet the house against the Hammer House!). He wears a beautiful robe and sunglasses worth more than the average man’s life. He enjoys dancing to the ring and yelling at referees for touching his hair. He has big muscles and likes to show them off much to the asian/island women’s delight while wearing nothing but daisy dukes. The Baroni style of fighting consists of jiving around for a few seconds then promptly storming in and punching the opponent as hard as possible in the head until they are rendered unconscious; it is time tested and proven highly effective. There is also video evidence of Baroni mocking his opponents screams of pain during post-match interviews. Phil Baroni has a great amateur wrestling background but he refuses to use it because he is a showman and knows what the people want to see. Punching. And lots of it. Phil Baroni has claimed on more than one occasion that he is the greatest fighter in his weight class, which is a no brainer, but Baroni is too humble to say what most everyone else believes, that he is the greatest fighter in any weight class…ever. He also was a male stripper at a go-go bar.”

We originally conducted this interview about a month ago but our interviewer, Rachel Mondeu, forgot to push ‘record’. An entire interview lost to human error. Actually, linguists should make a new term and call it ‘Rachel error’. Only about 22 people on this earth will know what it means. Rachel managed to track down Baroni again and ask him relatively the same questions…again. This time, it turned into an absolute masterpiece. Check out our exclusive interview with Phil Baroni only at MiddleEasy.com – Because MMA is everything.


Have you seen Jersey Shore? Yeah. I’m watching it right now actually. I’m waiting for the final episode to come on.


You’re excited for the final episode? Yeah. I want to see what happens. It’s a pretty funny show.


Does it remind you at all of growing up? Exactly of growing up. That was exactly–a lot like growing up on Long Island. It was a lot like that. Went to the beach a lot. Summer was about getting in good shape and going to the beach and picking up chicks so–it reminds you of growing up a lot.


So as a teenager, that is what you were in to? Going to the beach and picking up chicks? Going to the gym, going to the beach, picking up chicks and going to the clubs. Yep. That really was it. You know?


Would you say that it’s probably better off that those years were not recorded like the episodes of Jersey Shore? My life growing up? Yeah. [Laughter] I would have been in a lot of trouble. We had a lot of fights with a lot of ‘guidos’ from the city and Jersey and stuff. There was a lot of fights. I would have been in a lot of trouble. Hooked up with a lot of chicks as a kid so–I’m glad that’s not recorded.


Who makes your sunglasses right now? Is it Gucci? I used to wear Gucci ones, but right now I’ve got a sponsor that makes my sunglasses.


After your fight with Amir, a lot fans respected the fact that you hung in there. You fought until the end. How did you feel after the fight? Did you think there was a new fan base? I’m disgusted after that fight. I’m pretty down. It wasn’t my best performance. I think after watching the fight again, I think I underestimated him a bit. But he did good. He fought a good fight. So what can I say? I don’t want to make excuses. A lot of guys make a lot of excuses. I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a terrible, terrible outcome for me. I waited 6 years or whatever to get back in the UFC and then have a loss like that. I don’t even want to talk about it. I’m trying to forget about it.


There’s a Youtube video of you talking about your car. It’s pretty hilarious. I was wondering if you still have the same ride. Yeah. Right now, as terrible as it sounds, I do. Before, I had a nice 745. Nice–hooked up with 22 inch [rims], but now I’m back driving the green car. That’s what happens when you lose fights and blow your money. So I’m back to the fucking green car.


Did you get the window fixed or anything? Does it still fall down when you drive? No, the windows are all locked in the ‘up’ position which is good for when I drive…but when I go to Starbucks or something, I have to open the door like an asshole to get a coffee.


In that same video, you joked about being sponsored by Glad. If Glad did come to you and wanted to sponsor you, would you take them on as a sponsor? Yeah. Right now–beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll take whatever money I can get. You know–right now. I have a pretty good sponsor: Affliction. Affliction is a good sponsor for me. They take care of me. They’re taking me to Mexico City. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m going. I just got back from Hawaii with them, and now I’m going to Mexico City. So I have them if Glad doesn’t want to step up.


There is another Youtube video out there, where in about a 45 second period you mention taking a shower about 10 times. When’s the last time you took a shower? I took one this morning. I took a shower this morning.


Did you train today? No, I haven’t been training very much. Unfortunately I haven’t been training much, so I only need one shower.


Ariel Helwani said that after UFC 108, you were sitting off by yourself in the arena. What was going through your mind then? I was returning to the scene of the crime. It was the UFC after my last fight. I had to just take it all in. I just had to go there, take it all in, face the music–I don’t know–I just needed to sit there and–I think I was probably the last person to leave there and I got kicked out by the ushers. I was just taking it all in. I don’t really know what I was doing. I just had to be there; I had to sit there. Watch the arena fill up, watch the fights and watch it leave–you know? watch it empty. It was kind of like a moment of zen for me.


You’re somewhat new to twitter. How are you liking having an account? I probably shouldn’t twitter half the shit on there. Half the shit I twitter when I’m drunk and stuff. It’s alright. It gives me something to do. It’s ok you know? It’s a pretty cool thing. When I first heard about it, I thought it was stupid…who cares.… I just do it from my phone–text message ya know? Some reporter wrote about my twitter, so you have to watch what you say on there. Yeah, he wrote an article about me off my twitter.


That definitely makes you think about not wanting to put so much out there– That’s the problem, I probably put too much stuff out there. I probably shouldn’t say as much as I say–good and bad.


I noticed that you’re probably not the biggest fan of shopping. Some of your tweets mentioned how people at Wal-Mart are weird and people at Petsmart are strange. They are though. [Laughter] People at Petsmart are weird–all with their dogs and stuff in shopping carts–just weird people. At the dog park, it’s the same thing. And Walmart, I don’t know if I’d put Walmart as weird but maybe.


What’s one thing that you miss from being in Pride? I miss winning fights. You know? I miss being ranked–being ranked in the top 10–the top 5. I miss the respect I had back then from the other fighters and stuff. I mean about Japan…It was cool the fans over there, but you know no matter what… I was doing really good, but I would like to have had those fights in UFC and won those fights in UFC, I’m sure I’d have just as many, if not more fans, than I did over there. I was pretty high in Japan for a while. I liked it. But I’m American and I wish I would’ve had the success I had in Pride. It was good. It was tax-free money. Paid cash. That was nice. I miss that.


So it’s more the status that you had? That’s what you miss most from Pride, not the fighting style or anything? I liked knees on the ground. I don’t think elbows are that good. So if I had to say about the rules–I don’t like elbows. I think they are stupid. You don’t really need any. I think knees on the ground are a good technique. They are exciting, and they open up the game a lot more. One more thing I liked about Pride was maybe not the judges because the judges were a little crooked, but the way they scored the fight. I don’t think a 10-9 system–the boxing system–is good for MMA. It’s not good at all. They should just judge the fight by who won the fight. If they want to score the round, they should score them different. It shouldn’t be the 10-9 boxing because it just doesn’t make sense. You see some bad judging decisions because that scoring system doesn’t translate into MMA.


So you miss the fame and you wish they would bring in the scoring system that Pride had? Not so much the fame…the respect. There wasn’t that much fame because it was kind of an underground sport back then. It was the respect I had from my peers. My peers being the fighters, the promoters…it wasn’t even a sport…it was more of a close-knit, small sport–which I’m glad its bigger now and there’s a lot more going on but—I miss winning fights and being a top fighter and being respected and doing well. I’ve had some bad losses as of late.


Whatever happened to your UFC 111 fight with Marcus Davis? No, I’m not fighting him. The fight was offered to me but I really couldn’t be ready for the fight. The way I’m training and my training camp and my preparation–I also went to New York after the fight and got real fat right now–eating in New York. And I was in Hawaii. For a month, I wasn’t even home for over a month. I did zero training that whole time, so there’s no way I could be ready for that fight. I already I told them I couldn’t do. I think it would have been an exciting fight for the fans, but I’m not ready and I just learned the lesson to not take the fights if you’re not ready.


You’re from New York, are you looking forward to the time when MMA makes it out there? Do you think it will happen any time in the near future? I don’t know. It’d be cool. It’d be nice. It’d be a lot better to win a fight in New York. I’d really like to win my next fight no matter what. If I had a fight in New York, it’d be really important for me to win that. I really wouldn’t care as much if I’m not fighting. It really wouldn’t matter to me. I’d also like to win. My goal is definitely win a fight. If I’m fighting, I definitely care about MMA in New York. It’s stupid that it’s not legal there. Its legal anywhere else in the world. It’s good for young guys. There’d be more shows in New York. A lot of the shows are in Jersey and in the tri-state area. So the amateur guys and the up and coming guys cant get fights. Guys like me and Matt Serra, MMA wasn’t legal in New York…So it’d make it easier for those guys, but its not that big of a deal. I mean how many shows are they really going to do in New York? What–one show a year–maybe two? It would be nice, but it’s not that big of a deal


Coming from New York, where did you have to go to really ‘make it’? Did you have to go out to Vegas… Jersey. A lot of fights are in Jersey.


Shane Carwin vs. Frank Mir, who will take it? I think Frank has a lot more tools, and he’s working out real hard. He’s looking huge right now. I think that Frank’s a better all-around fighter. I think that fight should go to Frank.


So what’s the deal with Team Hammerhouse? Can you tell me the truth about that? There’s no gym Hammerhouse. There’s no gym in Ohio. There’s no–you know Coleman’s out here in Vegas training me. He’s staying at the Palace Station. There’s no team. I never went to train with Team Hammerhouse. It’s just bullshit. Coleman’s just a good marketer. He’s telling me he wants to open up a Hammerhouse gym in Ohio. He’d like to do that some day. It was just a bunch of guys fighting under a flag you know what I mean? They didn’t train together. I never really trained with Coleman. He’s way too big. He would corner me and we’d have conversations on the phone. It’s not a gym. It was something in Japan that they marketed. They just made the team more than what it is. There is no Hammerhouse. Hammerhouse is a punching bag on Coleman’s porch. I’ve seen pictures of it. It’s just an old punching bag. I’ve never even been to Coleman’s house.


You’re training for a fight, you’re done for the day and it’s Friday night. What would we find you doing? For a fight on a Friday night? Relaxing. Watching something on TV–watching the fight tapes or whatever. Nothing good. You look forward to just having one workout on Saturday. Saturday night you look forward to not working out on Sunday. That’s an exciting Friday night before during training camp for me anyway.


If you’re not training for a fight and its just a regular Friday night, what would you be doing? I live in Vegas, but the club scene is so old for me now. I don’t feel like getting dressed up. I’m lazy. You’ll find me at a bar. Drinking. [Laughter] Like a fat pig. I’m trying not to do that anymore.


There’s been rumors that you are supposed to be on the new EA Sports MMA game. No, it’s not true.


What if EA Sports jammed you in the game without your consent, how would you feel about that? It’d be cool to be on a sports game. I’m not in the UFC game anymore. I used to be on the cover of the old UFC game. You can see how, times have changed–where I am right now in my career. It’s kind of depressing. You never hear of a fighter making a great comeback. Of course, it’s hard to do. What makes a fighter great is confidence. It’s hard to make a comeback. You never really see it, and that’s the reason. Losing confidence and then they’re not the same fighter anymore. Hopefully that’s not the case with me though.


In your fight with Joe Riggs, I noticed that you were screaming off stage at someone. What were you saying? I was telling him to ‘shut the fuck up’. [Laughter] He was like a media guy telling me where to stand or whatever. Joe Riggs got in my face so I got back in his face. He was telling me to back up. I just told him to shut the fuck up.


If I have a friend who wants to get ‘I am the best evah‘ tattooed on his arm, what would you say to him? [Laughter] Get it. Get it.


One last question, I noticed on your Twitter is that you were kind of ragging on Lake Havasu a little bit. Not a big fan of Havasu? You ever been there?


Yeah. I have some friends that live there, so I’m kind of a fan. It didn’t seem like you were. It was ok. I like it. It was fun. Looking back, it was fun. I just shouldn’t have been there drinking and hanging out. I wasn’t there on good nights. I was there on like–I don’t know what nights I was there. I was there for like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday so….A lot of the places were like old people hanging out the same places as young people.
Published on January 30, 2010 at 8:38 am
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