CINCINNATI – Former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry returned to kickboxing on May 3, and at GLORY 16, he suffered a brutal knockout loss. That prompted one former UFC heavyweight champion to call UFC President Dana White.
The UFC executive said that Brock Lesnar, one of Barry’s former training partners, wanted White to encourage his friend to call it quits.
In a little more than two years, the 34-year-old Barry has suffered four knockout losses. Lesnar, the WWE star who ruled the UFC’s heavyweight division from 2008-2010 after making a move to MMA, apparently had seen enough. Worried about the fighter’s brain health, he pleaded with White to step in.
“Brock Lesnar called me and begged me to make him retire,” White said. “He said, ‘I don’t consider too many people my friend, and I consider Pat Barry a friend. Dana, you’ve got to get this guy to retire.’”
The May 3 loss to Zack Mwekassa was certainly brutal, and it came just five months after Soa Palelei thoroughly blasted Barry in his final UFC and MMA bout.
White, though, explained the obvious to Lesnar: He has no control over “HD,” who announced he was leaving the UFC in January to make another run at kickboxing.
“I said, ‘Listen, he’s a grown man, Brock. He’s a grown man. What am I going to do? There’s only so much I can do,” he said.
White said there are other factors at work. While the sport’s top talents and most marketable stars can make millions, even fan favorites such as Barry (8-7 MMA, 5-7 UFC) who never become top pay-per-view draws still want to grind out a living. Often they try to squeeze out every dime they can in a sport that offers such limited timeframes to cash in.
That, White said, makes it easier for him to encourage fighters such Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin to call it quits, but it makes it much more difficult for the Pat Barrys of the world.
“It’s different with guys like Forrest and Chuck – guys that I’ve had that relationship with for a long time, and guys who’ve made a lot of money,” White said. “That’s the difference. Forrest and Chuck are multi-millionaires.
“It’s easy to make them quit. It’s a lot tougher to make a guy quit who has to make a living.”
Ultimately, White said, he’s not the one who should be responsible for such decisions. He believes other should be heaving the tough talks.
“At the end of the day, it’s state athletic commissions that should step in and help a guy like Pat Barry retire,” he said. “Or the people who care about him.”
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