Pat Barry symbolises all that Dana White asks for in his fighters and will be sorely missed in the UFC. Albeit not one of the ranked contenders at heavyweight, Barry was always involved in entertaining fights and, win or lose, left it all inside the Octagon. Though he seemed like a shadow of himself in his last two losing performances, Barry’s humour, entertainment value and general like-ability can’t be matched.
Barry held a 8-7 record as a professional MMA fighter after transition from kickboxing, where he enjoyed significantly more success. However, when breaking down Barry’s record, the numbers don’t speak for themselves and there is certainly an untold story. Sometimes records can disillude the less educated of fight fans, who look at the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Danny Garcia and Saul Alvarez as comparative records. MMA records are very different to boxing records.
After a destruction of Dan Evensen, ‘Hype or Die’ lost his second fight under the UFC banner, against Canadian Tim Hague, though he was able to rock Hague several times on the feet. He showed his world class kickboxing skills in the losing effort, and can blame inexperience in all dimensions of MMA as the main reason for the loss. After having success on the feet, Barry was easily taken down by Hague and the imposing, much larger, heavyweight was able to grab a guillotine which led to a loss for the American. An educational loss for a young fighter, similar to Lesnar’s loss to Mir in the early stages of his UFC career.
Barry’s next performance against Antoni Hardonk showed more of the promise in the early stages of the Hague fight. He was matched up with a talented kickboxer and passed with flying colours, winning Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night honours in the process. The promise that was taken away by Tim Hague suddenly re-emerge with the win over Hardonk.
Then, at UFC 115, ‘Hype or Die’ showed just what sort of fighter he would become in his MMA career – an entertainer. On the feet, there were few better in the heavyweight division, but once the fight hit the ground, he struggled. This was frustrating from a fan’s standpoint, but made the reasons for being a fan of Barry very simple – win or lose, he entertained. On 12 June 2010, Pat was matched up with former K1 champion Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Fillipovic in easily the biggest test of his brief mixed martial arts career. He dropped Cro Cop on several occasions, which was impressive in itself as Cro Cop was expected to have a striking advantage. However, fatigue showed in the later rounds and the Croatian used his experience to get the fight to the mat and submit ‘HD’.
Barry followed up with a decision win over Joey Beltran in an impressive performance, before perhaps the most memorable fight of his career. After the main event between Rick Story and Nate Marquardt fell apart, Barry’s fight with French striker Cheick Kongo was promoted to the main event of UFC on Versus 4. Kongo was rocked early and often by the K1 champion, with commentator Joe Rogan claiming that the Frenchman was out on a couple of occasions, but he was able to counterstrike Barry like a scene from Rocky, winning the fight via first round knockout. Barry showed the holes in his game, but also showed that he can cause trouble for just about anyone in the division.
He alternated wins and loses in his next four, winning Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night honours in the process, before his recent two fight skid which led to him asking to be released from his UFC contract. It is now rumoured that the 34 year-old will return to his roots and compete in kickboxing once more, after claiming that MMA fighters are now too concerned with wrestling and clinching.
Pat ‘Hype or Die’ Barry may not have been a contender, but he was an entertainer – and entertainment is a dying art in the sport of mixed martial arts. I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.