Josh Barnett did everything he wanted to do against Brett Rogers. He landed the better punches on the feet. He scored slamming high altitude take downs. On the ground he eased into the most dominating positions like a knife through butter. Most importantly, he ended with a submission and made him made tap out.
After the fight Barnett did what he wanted as well. He took the mic away from Commentator Gus Johnson -- thus smoothly avoiding any controversial questions. Barnett, a veteran with almost a decade of professional wrestling experience as well as even more MMA experience, is one of the best public speakers in MMA. He's known for his outrageous statements and willingness to bait the crowd. Playing the heel, if you will.
But not tonight. Tonight Barnett took the mic and literally pleaded for the support of fans. That's a bit of a stretch for the man who was described on air as "the only man in MMA history to fail three drug tests". Barnett's been stripped of the UFC title -- of which he was the youngest ever possessor -- and brought entire promotions down with his inability to get licensed for fights.
All that makes him an unlikely candidate for fan favorite. Frankly, I'd expected Barnett to bait the crowd as he's been known to do. Judging from responses to Barnett's speech on Twitter he'd have been better off doing just that. Some fans were angry that Barnett seized the mic, but more seemed bummed out by the content of the speech.
Take Away: Josh Barnett has his work cut out if his goal is to win over fans.