Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Saturday, May 21, 2005
Mixed Martial Arts--- In a previous article, I wrote that due to his 3-5 record in the UFC, Phil Baroni did not deserve to be signed to a new contract in Pride without proving himself on smaller shows like anyone else would be required to do. I also wrote that it showed a lack of class for Baroni to refer to an Asian fighter as "Pork Fried Rice" while doing color commentary on a recent Pride event. In response to my article, the always full-of-class Baroni made a post on the Underground Forum (a popular MMA message board) that simply said, "Yo Ivan Trembow--- You're a [expletive]."

Numerous members of the message board responded to Baroni's post before I saw it, most of them saying that I didn't write anything about Baroni that wasn't true. A few people disagreed with my point that Baroni didn't deserve his new Pride contract, and InsideFighting editor Michael DiSanto disagreed with my assertion that it was wrong for Baroni to refer to an Asian fighter as "Pork Fried Rice." I responded to all of the posts on the topic with the following message:

"I stand by every word I wrote about Phil Baroni. I didn't say anything outlandish or outrageous in the article, and I'm not going to get into a name-calling session. The fact of the matter is that Phil Baroni has lost his last four UFC fights, and his UFC record is 3-5, which I think is a worse win percentage than Tank Abbott. Based on that, even with his promo-cutting ability, I didn't believe and still don't believe all of that warrants a new contract in Pride. I have nothing against him personally, but I certainly don't believe Pride should be in the business of signing up fighters with losing UFC records. If Baroni beats Minowa and that ends up being the beginning of when Baroni got his MMA career back on track, then hey, more power to him.

Also, I respect Michael DiSanto as a journalist but I disagree with him in this particular case. Michael wrote, 'Pride is a Japanese organization and Yoon Dong Sik is Korean, not Japanese. They're not the same nationality, and it wasn't on the Japanese broadcast. It's like Lee Murray (England) insulting a guy from Ireland and claiming all Europeans would be offended. You can't group them together as European. Americans may group all Asians together, but I'm quite sure all countries in Asia don't see themselves as one group.'

In response to what Michael wrote: Some Americans may group all Asians together... really, you think? Do you think that might be how an American fighter on a Japanese fighting event would end up using the name of a Chinese food dish to refer to a Korean fighter? I think you just made my point for me. Everyone is going to have a different reaction to someone making a comment like that, as far as whether they're offended or not. I don't think Baroni is racist and he seemed to legitimately be having trouble pronouncing Yoon Dong Sik's name and just ad-libbed. Nonetheless, the fact remains that it was the complete opposite of showing class, which is what I wrote in the article. Again, I stand by everything I wrote."

After I made that post, one of a vocal and ignorant minority of MMA message board visitors asked the question they always ask, which was, "Would you stand by your article to Phil Baroni's face?" In response to that all-too-common question, I made my final post on the subject with the following message:

"First of all, the answer is yes, and second of all, that is a ridiculous question and I always find it funny when I see people saying things like that on MMA message boards. As a journalist, it's my job to ask the tough questions and to criticize people where I feel criticism is due. If I didn't do that, I wouldn't be doing my job.

It makes MMA look so bad when you've got all these other professions with their own specialized press and nobody ever asks, 'I wonder if he'd say that to the Yahoo CEO's face, or if he would be afraid that he'd get punched out!' and yet people constantly say, 'I wonder if he'd say that to the MMA fighter's face, or if he would be afraid that he'd get punched out!' Sure, mixed martial artists fight for a living, but I think MMA fighters are professional enough that they're not savages who start swinging if you ask a question they don't like.

Some people on message boards need to get past the elementary-school logic of, 'Person A could beat up Person B, therefore Person B's opinions are invalid.' I think it's insulting to the sport of MMA for people to have that attitude."

Moving on from the Phil Baroni topic, tonight is the HBO replay of Winky Wright vs. Felix Trinidad, otherwise known as, "Wright Imposes His Will and Dominates for Twelve Rounds." Also on tonight's broadcast will be a live fight between Andrew Golota and Lamon Brewster. Hopefully Golota and Brewster will deliver an exciting fight, which the heavyweight division desperately needs after recent events. The most boring fighter in the world, John Ruiz, finally lost his WBA Heavyweight Title and decided to retire... but then the fighter who beat him, James Toney, tested positive for steroids, prompting Ruiz to decide to come out of retirement and re-claim his belt.

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