Sat, 30 May 2009
Phil Baroni talks to the Ringside Report a week before his big Strikeforce bout with Joe Riggs.
One of the most controversial and outspoken fighters in the sport, Baroni made his MMA debut on July 5, 2000 and TKO’d John Hayes just 0:45 into the first round at “Vengeance at the Vanderbilt” in Plainview, New York. Due to his charismatic personality and devastating punching power, the Long Island native would go on to become one of the hottest properties in MMA. However, after some tough losses in the UFC, Baroni eventually moved to Japan to fight in PRIDE events, where he recorded notable wins over the likes of Yuki Kondo and Ryo Chonnan before returning to the states in 2007 to provide closure to his heated Internet feud with Frank Shamrock.
In what would prove to be one of the top fights of the year (June 22, 2007, SHOWTIME PPV), Baroni suffered a second round TKO loss to Shamrock after Shamrock put him in a rear naked choke. Showing a warrior’s spirit, Baroni refused to tap, instead opting to pass out, forcing the referee to decline Shamrock submission victory.
Soon after the fight, the California State Athletic Commission announced that Baroni had tested positive for two types of steroids, Boldenone and Stanozolol. He was suspended for one year and fined $2,500. Baroni has denied the accusations throughout and mounted an appeal in hopes of having the suspension overturned.
While the suspension was never overturned, it was reduced from 12 months to six. He returned to action on March 15, 2008 in the ICON Sport promotion in Honolulu.
After a strong first round, Baroni showed signs of a fighter who was coming off an extended layoff and ultimately lost the bout at 1:45 of round 5 against Kala Kolohe Hose in a contest to decide the vacant ICON middleweight championship.
Baroni has reeled off three straight wins since moving down from the middleweight to welterweight division.