After two dominant wins in early 2011, Scott Barrett was the hottest heavyweight free agent in MMA. After flirting with several different promotions Barrett made waves in the MMA community when he announced he was signing with the XFC last August. At XFC 14 ‘The Bear’ was matched up with former training partner Carmello Marrero in one of the most anticipated bouts on the card. That night, in October, should’ve Barrett’s coming out party. But a broken hand in the first round ruined any chance he had of coming out on top. At XFC 18 Barrett will face heavyweight submission artist Gabriel Salinas Jones in the co-main event, in what looks to be the biggest fight of his career.
“My back’s against a wall,” explained Barrett. “I have to beat Gabe in Nashville if I want to get my career back on track. I’m coming off a loss on HDNet in front of all the XFC fans and I know I have to perform and do what I do best… and that’s beat people up. I’ve been busting my butt at the Hardcore Gym in Athens and Adam Singer has me ready to rock and roll. I’ve been itching to fight since I broke my hand and I’m counting down the days until XFC 18.”
Despite the loss at XFC 14, Barrett made an impression on the fans in attendance that night in Orlando and all over the world watching on HDNet. With a broken hand Barrett pushed the pace against Marrero for three rounds but when it went to the judge scorecards, the UFC veteran came out on top due to more effective striking.
“It was a tough fight,” said Barret. “Carmelo has beat guys like Cheick Kongo. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but as soon as I broke my hand in that first round I knew I was in trouble. I couldn’t go for any takedowns and I had to throw my gameplan out the window. I went out there and pushed him around the cage despite the hand and I thought I had done enough to get the win but you know what they always say; Never leave it in the hands of the judges. Looking back at it, I see things I should’ve done and I’ve learned from it. I’m really excited to get back in there in Nashville and fight a tough opponent like Gabe.”
After the grueling fight with Marrero and spending the night in the hospital after XFC 14, something funny happened. People were recognizing Barrett around his hometown in Athens, GA. But Barrett wasn’t getting recognized for his Fight of the Night performance at XFC 14, he was getting recognized because of ‘The Voice’.
“I stopped by the store once I got home after the fight and a guy walked up and said I looked really familiar,” recalled Barrett. “I told the guy I just fought on HDNet and that’s probably why he knew who I was. He then started laughing and said I was the guy with no neck. I looked at him a little funny and he explained that the announcer said I was the man with no neck. So I just laughed it off. The next day I went out to eat and one of my buddies walked up and made a crack about me not having a neck too. After that I went back and watched the fight and saw what everyone was talking about.”
During his fight at XFC 14 “The Voice” Michael Schiavello referred to Barrett as “The Man with No Neck” and for one reason or another, it stuck. And as Barrett tells is, it doesn’t matter how famous the person is who gave him his old nickname when “The Voice” calls your fight people pay attention. “I’ve been ‘The Bear’ for years,” explained Barrett. “Actually Forrest Griffin gave it to me during training one day. He said wrestling me was like wrestling a bear. After that, is sorta stuck until Schiavello got ahold of me last year. Remind me to bodyslam him when I see him in Nashville. It’s great fighting on HDNet in front of millions of fans but when one of the most famous announcers gives you a nickname you are just stuck with it. Every couple of days someone will say something about my neck. I never really thought much about it before but now I think I have a complex.”
Whether he’s ‘The Bear’ or ‘The Man with No Neck’ XFC President John Prisco is excited to have Barrett back for ‘Music City Mayhem’ in June. “Scott is an animal,” explained Prisco. “Scott and Carmello had a war at XFC 14 and when the bell rang I wasn’t sure who had won. Carmello outboxed him but Scott appeared to push the pace for most of the fight. It really is a shame he broke his hand in that first round. A few days after the fight, Scott called me and said he would be ready to fight again in a month. I laughed and told him he had to let his hand heal properly before I could use him again. He kept trying to convince me otherwise, but that’s the kind of fighter Scott is. He just wants to fight and I’m going to put him in there with someone who will test him. Gabriel Salinas Jones is no joke. He will take you down and submit you. Scott is known for his wrestling and nasty ground and pound but he hasn’t been to the ground with someone like Gabriel before. This is going to be a great fight and I can’t wait to get to Nashville to see how it shakes out.”
XFC 18 : Music City Mayhem will take place on June 22nd live on HDNet at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, TN. For more information on the XFC & Music City Mayhem, visit www.officialxfc.com. Be sure to follow the promotion on Twitter (@officialxfc) and on Facebook (/officialxfc)