MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani has a very, very interesting interview with Phil Baroni. Baroni, of course, was forced to pull out of his UFC 118 fight with John Salter with a collarbone injury. Helwani speaks with Baroni about many things. Baroni talks about his injuries piling up, how he has to have a real job to support his recovery from injury (his wife holds two jobs) and how he is determined to be "the greatest comeback story ever."
Here's an excerpt:
Did you try to fight through the pain so you wouldn't have to pull out of the fight?
Yeah. I think I hurt it on Wednesday morning, so I took the rest of the week off and got it shot with cortisone. I ran over the weekend and started regular training on Monday. It was grinding and hurting when I wrestled and I was very uncomfortable training. I felt I had to protect it. I needed to push hard that last month. I couldn't have an another injury holding me back. I've been pretty banged up last few years. My left shoulder is dead. [It's] been dead since before [Frank] Shamrock fight. I can't jab fast or hard with it, and it's killing my stand up. It's really slow too. Fast hands have always been an advantage for me, and I have not had fast hands since.
Now with collarbone joint half dislocated, I can't punch at all with my left arm. It sucks and it's is very frustrating. But I need to win this next fight. I mean, really, it's no secret the position I'm in. It sucks and it's scary. I don't like it. I hate it. It's hard to deal with. It's always on the back of your mind. I need this. My family needs this. I want to be at my best; give it my all and be 100 percent, and if it doesn't work, at least I can say, 'F**k, I lost,' but not, 'I should have, could have or would have.' And if I lost and got cut, I would still be fighting, trying to earn my way back into a big show.
Considering how important this fight was, how difficult was it for you to pull out of it?
Very difficult. First off, I really want to fight. It's a big show -- first one in Boston. It would have been great. The card is huge, and maybe I could have a good fight and get on TV. Get some exposure. I need it now badly. I'm left out of a lot of sh** nowadays. I'm forgotten at the expos and appearances. Just everything with the UFC. I wanted to win a big fight, look impressive and get considered again. I wanted to say, 'Hey Dana, I'm still f**king here. I still can fight.' I wanted to say it to everyone: the fans, the media. I'm still Phil f**king Baroni. That used to mean something. I want it to mean something again. I want to say, 'Hey Strikeforce, you made a big mistake letting me go. You f**ked up. You blew it. I'm still somebody, and I still bring things to the table that not many fighters do.'
I just want to be a contender. I want respect from my peers, the fans, media and the promotions. I wanted to say, 'I'm still here, don't f**king forget about me. I'm not dead yet. I want to be a contender -- I want to matter again. I want to be the biggest comeback story ever -- a Cinderella Man. It's not depression, but I'm going through my share of problems like a lot of people in Vegas and across the country with foreclosure, money ... everything. I'm almost in the same position I was 10 years ago, but now the window of opportunity is closing. I don't want to be here when it shuts with none of my goals accomplished and all my dreams dead. I still have a little time, and I want to shove them all through the window with me. It's a million-to-one shot, but, hey, Rocky did it.
This is a very interesting interview that shows the perils of being a prizefighter and what happens what things don't play out exactly as planned.
You can read the entire interview here.