UFC heavyweight Josh Barnett laid a whooping on Frank Mir at UFC 164 on August 31, as he worked his way to a first-round TKO victory in his first return to the octagon in over a decade. After the win, Mir complained of an early stoppage despite clearly being temporarily knocked out, and Barnett feels that those complaints cheapened his win.
Mir made a big fuss after the stoppage, which led to crowd boos, and Barnett opened up about the reaction during a recent interview with Sherdog’s Beatdown Radio.
“I knew that he was right on the edge of being finished even up to 20 seconds before that,” said Barnett. “I could feel it really coming on. I could smell blood. As soon as I hit him with that knee and he just hit the floor, the boost was kicking in. I was just kind of going to absolute rampage all over him, and there was no way he was getting through that.”
“It was only controversial because Hinds stepped in right at the moment, right at the first absolute point he could come in there … to keep him from really getting hurt bad. Frank jumped up and made a huge stink about it, and that’s where the boos came from.”
“It does cheapen the win to some degree, but also what makes it difficult is that he gets up and says what he wants to say and I can’t just slug him and knock him out again. The problem with that is, the repercussions would be bad. I told him, I go, ‘Well, I understand why you’re upset and I’d be mad if I felt it was stopped early too.’ … There was a little understanding on my part, but I was also visibly — I was incredibly upset myself because I felt like I got robbed of the moment. I did all this training. We get in the ring. We’re not there to be friends. I put this man on his face, and all of a sudden all that time spent getting up to this point, I feel like that’s my time. I get to cash in for all the sacrifices I’ve put in … and I get denied.”
“I’m right in the title contention no matter where I’m at. Everybody knows that I can carry the gold.”
Barnett has a solid point.
If it were not for Mir jumping up and crying about the decision, the crowd would have been perfectly okay with the stoppage. In real time, it looked like Mir was out and Barnett could have finished him with a flurry of punches that would have left no debate about the finish, but the referee aired on the side of caution and you can never argue about that.