“The New York Bad Ass” sounds off about Frank Shamrock and the fight between the two that is now in jeopardy
Phil Baroni isn’t one for mincing words. In the past, he has used them brazenly to call out opponents and get under their skin and berate anything or anyone that got in his way. Now, he’s simply using them to get a lot of frustration off his chest.
The beginning of 2007 finds “The New York Badass” entangled in one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of mixed martial arts. On December 8th, former UFC middleweight champion, Frank Shamrock, officially announced to 8,700 fans on hand for Strikeforce’s “Triple Threat” fight card in San Jose, California, that both he and Baroni had officially signed agreements to face one another during a Strikeforce card set for sometime in April.
The following week, however, Shamrock showed up as a featured guest at a press conference assembled by Pro Elite, a start-up fight promotion boasting a television deal with Showtime network. The press event revealed that Shamrock would take on another 185 pound fighter, Renzo Gracie, during Pro Elite’s first event scheduled to unfold at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Mississippi on Saturday, February 10th.
Suddenly, Shamrock vs. Baroni was placed in jeopardy by the dual commitment that Shamrock had apparently made. While Strikeforce has repeatedly claimed that it holds the exclusive rights to promote Shamrock’s next fight, the sticky situation has left fans perplexed and Baroni, not surprisingly, irate.
Q. What do you think about this fiasco with Frank Shamrock?
A. I think he‘s an idiot. He is unbelievable and full of shit. First he’s going to take the fight. Then he isn’t. Then he is (again). It’s absolutely ridiculous. His mouth is writing checks that his ass can’t cash. He’s just using my name to promote himself.
Q. Has it changed your opinion of him as a fighter or a person?
A. I had heard nothing but bad things about him before I ever dealt with him. Now I know those things were true. He’s not a good guy at all. He’s a scumbag.
Q. What reasons do you think he has for his recent actions?
A. I have no idea. He signed a contract and, now, he’s trying to get out of it. He has no morals and you can’t trust him. I respect him as a fighter, but not as a person.
Q. Do you believe he’s running scared and doesn’t really want to fight you?
A. I don’t know what he’s trying to do. I don’t understand why he agreed to fight me in the first place if he was going to try to back out (afterwards). Yea, I don’t think he wants to fight me. He needs to put his money where his mouth is.
Q. Given the current situation, do you think the fight will happen?
A. I hope so, but I don’t know. I’m the one gettin’ screwed here. I had to put off a couple of fights to be able to fit this one into my schedule.
Q. If it happens, how will Frank’s trash talk affect the way you fight in the cage? Will you be more aggressive than usual?
A. If he shows up, I’m going kill him. I will beat him down and wipe him out.
Q. What is your status with both Pride and Strikeforce?
A. I’m still in Pride, but have permission to fight in Strikeforce. Actually, I have contracts with both organizations.
Q. What’s your plan for 2007 as far as your career goes?
A. I’m going to train harder, get in better shape, and stay active. As soon as I get this thing over with Shamrock, I can focus on other fights.
Q. You have both served as commentators for a couple of Strikeforce events. With all the trash talkin’ that has gone on between you two lately, could you sit next to him and cover an event, or would that be impossible now?
A. I don’t like him and I don’t want anything to do with him.
Q. If the fight with Shamrock doesn’t happen, whom would you like to fight and why?
A. It doesn’t matter to me. I have fought some of the best fighters in the world and I’ll fight anyone they put in front of me. I’m not worried about it.
Q. Anything you would like to say directly to Frank in this interview?
A. Don’t waste my time! If you have the fortitude, show up and face me like a man! I’ll be there ready to fight.