Phil Baroni doesn't always say the smartest things.
Look, I like Phil. He's always been one of my guilty pleasures in the fight game. Part of that is due to his fighting style, which, if we're being honest, hasn't always led him to success in the cage.
He goes balls to the wall at all times, and that often leads to him gassing out and being picked apart on his feet.
And then there's the entertainment aspect he brings to the cage, with the sequined robes, the outlandish sunglasses and the dancing.
Baroni was one of the first to bring the over-the-top buffoonery from the world of pro wrestling and incorporate it into mixed martial arts. Chael Sonnen's current act may not be a direct descendant of what Baroni did in his career, but at worst it's a sibling.
Baroni is no longer relevant in the fight game, if he was ever relevant in the first place. He got his shot in the UFC last year and promptly lost both of the fights they gave him. All told, he's lost seven out of his last 11 bouts dating back to his much-hyped fight with Frank Shamrock in 2007.
You're probably asking yourself why I'm talking about Baroni today, if he's really so irrelevant in the fight game. I'm talking about him because Baroni gave an interview to Fight Sport Asia in which he was asked his thoughts on the current performance-enhancing drug epidemic sweeping the industry:
Guys should be able to do what ever it takes to be the strongest. Getting choked and kicked in the head is really bad for you, worse than pot, TRT or steroids. I don’t care who’s the cleanest, I wanna see the strongest, the fastest and the most gnarly fighters.
I don’t want to see who is the best at passing drug tests. Overeem isn’t the only guy taking s***, he just got caught. I wanna see the baddest mother f****** going at it. That’s why pride was the best. I wanna see a 205 (ripped) Wanderlei Silva kill dudes!
I hear a lot of fans say pretty much the same thing Baroni did here, and it's almost always a stupid stance to take. In fact, I'd wager that 99 percent of the people who say they want to see fighters (or other athletes) legitimately using PEDs are simply doing it for a reaction.
And I think that's Baroni's angle here. It's a way to get attention, and that's something Baroni craves. Because there's no way a person of sound thinking and right mind would possibly want to see a version of this sport where the guys who can afford testosterone or HGH are the guys who win fights.
That's not a sport. Well, it is. But it's a bloodsport, and it would never be taken seriously by a society that still has a tough time accepting the violence in mixed martial arts.
We'd be relegated back to holding events on Indian territory. The UFC would be banished from pay-per-view. It would regress 10 years and undo all of the hard work that Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and Zuffa have done in trying to make MMA a product that is acceptable to mainstream audiences.
You can see why Baroni's statement is ridiculous, right? Because it is.
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