After losing quickly in the opening round to Karo Parisyan at Bellator 122 last Friday, I believe it’s time for Phil Baroni to call it a career.
Many would argue that time came for Baroni years ago, but an athlete will continue long after they should have retired as long as they can rationalize it.
Injuries, surgery and learning Muay Thai kickboxing in an attempt to broaden his repertoire would be Baroni’s rationalization for continuing to fight these last few years.
Baroni entered the cage at Bellator 122 looking to reinvent his career, sporting a look different from that which MMA fans remember, but with the same confidence he’s always possessed.
Confidence is always admirable in a fighter, but it doesn’t win bouts on its own. And it seems that Baroni has little left other than confidence if how he’s performed in his last three bouts (all losses) is any indication.
The fight game has seen its examples of fighters persevering as they get to their mid-30s and beyond, and every fighter who is still active at that age wants to be one of those fighters.
Sadly, most fighters don’t end up so lucky. And Baroni is one of many such fighters.
What Baroni has likely lost thanks to his latest losing streak was a .500 career record.
Baroni has flirted with a .500 winning percentage for the majority of his MMA career and after Baroni’s last win, which occurred around three years ago, his record stood at 15-15.
It’s kind of hard to blame Baroni because by the time he got to 15-15, he had been through so many ups and downs with his career, not just with wins and losses, that he was probably too used to it.
Plus, his last win to date came TKO in just sixty seconds against Rodrigo Ribiero at One FC 5. Why wouldn’t he think he could make one last big run after losing five of his previous six and then getting that kind of win?
But it wasn’t to be as a decision loss to Hayato Sakurai on New Year’s Eve 2012, a first-round TKO loss to Nobutatsu Suzuki at One FC 9 and last week’s first-round loss to Parisyan have all illustrated that Baroni’s time in the sport has come and gone.
When the day comes that Baroni finally hangs his gloves up for good, gone will be one of those fighters that relished the opportunity to get in the ring or cage and slug it out, a kind of fighter that doesn’t exist much anymore in MMA.