Pat Barry is never one to be coy. If he's feeling anything in the human spectrum of emotions, you're going to see it. Nowhere was that more on display than outpouring of grief, sadness, joy and anger following his stoppage win over Shane del Rosario Saturday at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale in Las Vegas.
Like many other Americans, Barry was in shock over the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. So abhored and stunned by the entire event was Barry that in his post-fight comments next to UFC commentator Joe Rogan that Barry implored those in attendance and watching on TV to hug and spend more time with their children.
Barry wasn't feeling a wave of emotions in an intense moment of victory. The issue had been troubling him since it happened. In fact, he believed the UFC cancelling the entire finale fight card was the right call. And that was ok by him, because he was going to get on a plane to go back home.
"I remember I started getting messages from people," Barry told Ariel Helwani Monday on The MMA Hour. "Somebody tweeted 'the UFC should cancel the event in light of the incident.' When I read that I went, 'yeah, that would be cool.'
"Not that they should or shouldn't, " Barry continued, "but when I read that I was thinking 'That'd be a great idea because then it wouldn't be my fault because I am leaving right now. Hopefully they cancel because then that would make since as to why I'm in an airport right now flying home.' I wanted to just get home. I didn't want to be there."
The event was not canceled, and despite his reservations about competing, he pushed through onto fight night. As the world saw on Saturday evening, Barry prevailed and did so with authority. While Barry is quick to note the horror in Connecticut is an unspeakable tragedy, the scale of it all managed to distract him enough that he never got his typical pre-fight nerves. "It took my mind off the fight, so I didn't have the 'get an ulcer-anxiety-stress' towards the fight all day because I didn't have it on my mind," he said.
Despite being out of it for most of the weekend, Barry's on better legs now. He finally got home, which is where he wanted to be the moment he heard the news of what happened. And while his concern for what happened hasn't waned, he has at least had a small chance to reflect on the matters most immediate (if not most important) to his personal life: how he performed as a prize fighter.
All things considered - from the mental distractions to the offense of Shane Del Rosario - he is walking away with a positive review for himself.
"I got taken down. I don't want that," Barry noted. "That's going to be a negative. I did hit the ground, so we get some points deducted for that. But other than that, I stayed calm on the ground. I defended four submissions and I had two of them myself."
In Barry's self-evaluation, he notes several times he nearly went for submissions before abandoning them on the corner advice of coach Trevor Whitman. He listened and believes doing so was the right call not just because he won, but because of how he won. "The way the fight ended is a lot better than the way it would've ended if I would have submitted him," he said matter of factly.
As for what's next, Barry is sanguine. He's healing from his injuries, spending time with his girlfriend Rose Namajunas while training her for her next fight and biding time until his next bout comes along.
Who would he like to fight next? As Barry puts it, everyone is a bad match-up for him, so why get specific?
"Everybody's a bad match-up for me," contends Barry. "If I'm fighting, oh, that's bad. Anyone, anyone." Still, he's up for the challenge if the UFC calls. "As long as it's human, I'll be up for the task."