Chris Barnett details cheek injury and weight issue at UFC 279

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UFC 279 commentators focused on the appearance of Chris Barnett’s face during his preliminary bout with Jake Collier, expressing concern over what appeared to be a serious injury.

We were talking about nerve damage or a stroke. It wasn’t that bad, though it certainly wasn’t fun for Barnett, who survived early trouble to create highlight reels with his famous flip celebration.

“Jake had taken me in my [cheek]and literally part of my [cheek] inside was just hanging in my mouth,” Barnett explained on MMA hour. “That’s what was happening with the left side of my face.

“I couldn’t bite it because it was like taking a butter knife and trying to cut a steak with the mouthpiece, trying to get that piece of my [cheek] it was hanging. Guess I bit down on one of those punches and bit off a chunk there.

The wound healed as quickly as it appeared.

“I couldn’t even show you the room – you’d be like, ‘Yeah, whatever, you had a stroke,'” Barnett joked.

For Barnett, it was just another hurdle to overcome in another tough fight week. At UFC 279, he became the second heavyweight in UFC history unable to reach the 266-pound limit for a non-title fight. He took responsibility for coming into the week to fight heavier than usual, but added that if not for an overzealous doctor monitoring fighters’ weight cuts, he would have gained weight.

According to Barnett, the trouble started when he was examined by an enlisted doctor for pre-fight physicals. He said the doctor took a look at his permanent heartbeat and immediately sounded the alarm. When he protested that when he “ties his shoes wrong” his heart rate skyrockets, an argument broke out between him, his trainer and the doctor.

Barnett said he was still sweating as he moved from the UFC Performance Institute, where he was finishing his cut, to UFC APEX where the official weigh-ins were taking place. When her weight cut was halted, she had 1.5 pounds left to lose, but the doctor wouldn’t budge.

“[He said], “If I were to let you cut that pound and a half, I doom you to lose tomorrow,” Barnett said. “I was like, ‘Jesus. Wow. Wait, man. Is it that bad right now?’

“His favorite line was, ‘I’ve been doing this since the Gracies. And I was like, ‘Clearly, I can’t say anything about that.’

Thus, Barnett lost weight and was forced to give up 20% of his bag to Collier. But that wasn’t the only hitch to the octagon. Five days before the event, he “totaled” his car in an accident.

“I said that to management, I was like, ‘You better not say anything – I’m fine,'” Barnett said. “They’re like, ‘Are you sure?’ After what happened in the previous camp, a plane could have hit me and I thought: ‘Ah, that’s fine, let’s continue.’ »

As Barnett revealed ahead of UFC 279, he faced a tragic situation when his wife was hospitalized with encephalitis ahead of their fight at UFC Vegas 51. Instead of stepping down, he continued to train and ended up suffering a technical decision loss. His wife died in May after a two-month battle with illness.

When Barnett rallied around Collier for a second-round TKO stoppage, his joy was out of control. Much like he did after a Gian Villante knockout at UFC 268, he flipped to the canvas, delighting the crowd at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

As painful as it sounds, Barnett said the rollover didn’t even come close to the damage he took in a fight.

“The cage is not concrete,” he said. “It’s not grass. It’s amortized. I know some of these slams, you see people getting knocked out of the slam – it just lets you know how strong some of these guys are. The cage isn’t that tough, plus I got a little donkey here, man. Pull up, I got a Megan Thee stallion here.

“I have a move called ‘spanking the baby’ that I used to do in the pool, where I would jump up, land on my butt and do a pool jump from my butt into the water. I got whipped – we’re good there. It’s cast iron. »

The same could be said for Barnett’s resilience outside the cage.

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