15 Questions for Patrick Barry

Beginnings

By Jack Encarnacao Jun 8, 2010
Patrick Barry is just like you. Yes, you, the devotee of Sherdog.com, ninjas and video games. You, who regarded with awe the larger-than-life stars of Pride Fighting Championships and, even in your adult years, nosh on Bagel Bites at two in the morning.

Even as a co-main event fighter at UFC 115 “Liddell vs. Franklin” on June 12 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Barry, 30, comes off as just another martial arts geek, just as excited to fight Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic as he is to score his autograph.

“I’ll tell anybody, if I get in the ring and I knock Cro Cop out, that’s awesome,” Barry said. “But also, if I get in the ring and he kicks me in the face, then I’m one of the guys that Cro Cop kicked in the face. I’ll be the first person on the planet to get Cro Cop to sign my face.”

In this in-depth interview with Sherdog.com, the six-year professional kickboxer, UFC heavyweight and former Shaolin monk understudy from New Orleans talks “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out,” how fighting scared is like riding a roller coaster and the damage he proudly does at fast-food drive-thru windows.

Sherdog.com: Do you remember the first fight that you were ever in and what happened?
Barry: I fought a guy named David Rochon down in New Orleans, my very first match. Out of all the fights I ever had, that had to absolutely be one of the weirdest experiences ever. I got in the ring, and I hit the guy in the stomach and he hunched over. And when he hunched over, I actually put my hand on his back and asked him if he was OK. And he [proceeded to] uppercut me in the face. So I hit him in the stomach again, boom, and he hunches back over. And I say, “Look man, I’m just trying to see if you’re OK.” And he, like, puts his hand up and smacks me again. And I was, like, “What are you doing?” I hit him in the stomach like two or three more times, and I kept saying, like I was having like a fit, saying “I’m just trying to see if you’re alright!” in the middle of a fight. That was an amateur kickboxing match, my very first kickboxing match ever.

Sherdog.com: Is your instinct still to check on an injured opponent?
Barry: I’ve done that a lot. This is also my weakness. I’m not a bloodthirsty animal. I’ve hit guys, and this is bad for me, but I’ve hit some guys with some real stiff shots and not followed it up. Like -- boom -- then kind of like look at them to see if they’re OK. Not OK, but if they’re dazed enough that the ref would stop the fight, versus some guy being unconscious, and, while he’s unconscious, me hit him six more times before the ref gets to him. That’s also bad because I’ve had guys in really bad situations where if I was to just bump into them a little, I’d finish the fight, and guys have gone from dazed to woken up. If you remember the Tim Hague fight [at UFC 98], when he stumbled back, he was out. He was like dazed. All I had to do was just touch him, but instead I backed up and looked at him. So by the time I got back to him, he was back awake again.

Sherdog.com: But you came on in the Antoni Hardonk fight at UFC 104 really strong. There was a definite streak to finish in that fight.
Barry: Well, right. But even in that fight, if you watch that last hit that hits him on the head, when he’s on the ground, I punch him and I go to hit him again and I stop. What if [referee] Josh Rosenthal would not have stepped in? Then that was my opportunity to finish the fight, and I didn’t. But like I said, I’m pretty good at telling when the fight’s over and when it’s not. It’s something that could be changed. I don’t hate anybody I fight. I’m not angry at anyone that I compete against. I need them just as much as they need me. We have to feed off of each other. If we don’t have fighters out there, then I don’t work. I think that there’s a classy way, and I get a lot of flack about this, there’s a classy way to be a good sportsman versus just being a brute. I’ve never been in a street fight, man. I’m about to be 31. I’ve never been in a street fight, not even at recess in fourth grade, never. Of course everybody in the world gets mad at somebody eventually, but I’m not a fighter. I play the game really well, but I’m not an angry dude at all.

File Photo/Sherdog.com

Barry is a fan of Cro Cop.
Sherdog.com: How did you get into fighting then?
Barry: To me, this is a real live video game. Like this is “Street Fighter” live action; it’s just a fun game. I’ve always wanted to be a ninja, so I get to be a real live ninja in life. For the most part, this is a real, live game. I’m not an angry dude. I don’t have to walk around and snarling and growling. And of course fighters have a very bad reputation. We’re drug abusers, alcoholics, illegitimate children. We smack women around. We get in street fights all the time. We’re angry dudes who can’t read. That’s just not what it’s like nowadays. We’re really civilized people. We just play the game really well.

Sherdog.com: What do you mean by always wanting to be a ninja?
Barry: You know, roam the earth and defend the weak and solve crime and just, like, hide in the shadows and have little secrets. Ever since I was a kid, I never idolized samurais. One guy with a sword versus 75 men on me with guns, and the samurai never turns his back? No, I was the ninja who you never saw coming, who shot you in the neck with an arrow from 200 yards away. I was like a sniper, you know, a ninja, like, in the shadows. You never knew. Very unsuspecting. That’s something that I’ve told everyone from day one. Don’t ever count me out. One, you never know what’s going to happen. Two, you never know what’s coming. I’ve got a very nice demeanor. I’m a good guy. I love this sport. I love the game, but the whole “don’t take anyone’s kindness for weakness thing,” it’s true. I’m terrified when I get in the ring, of course. That’s my strength, is fear against the guys I’m competing against. But you can’t sleep on me. I’m very good at what I do.

Sherdog.com: I remember hearing a quote from you that at one point Cro Cop was on your top five guys you did not want to ever fight. Who was one, two, three, four?
Barry: Sagat from Street Fighter, Mike Tyson, Ernesto Hoost, Jerome LeBanner, Mirko Cro Cop. I actually, like, had a list. At one point, I wrote it down. I was sitting in a class one day. My brother and I, before I started competing, we would watch K-1 fights and kickboxing matches all the time before I’d even started training. I was a secret ninja in my head, but I already knew these guys beforehand. I’d been following their careers already. I was, like, these are the scariest dudes in the world. Cro Cop was just an emotionless monster, and he was very unsuspecting. He didn’t look the part, being the smaller of all the guys. He would kill you, man, like, emotionlessly kill you.
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