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Muscle Sport Magazine

StrikeForce Releases Phil “NY Bad Ass” Baroni; Opens Door for UFC Return

Phil “The New York Badass” Baroni has been released by world championship mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion STRIKEFORCE.

The 33-year-old Baroni, a native of Long Island, N.Y, has lost four of his last seven bouts.  In his last appearance, a welterweight (170 pounds) matchup with Joe “Diesel” Riggs at St. Louis, Missouri’s Scottrade Center, Baroni sustained a one-sided defeat by way of unanimous judges’ decision.

“We wish Phil the best of luck and hope he can revive his career,” STRIKEFORCE Founder and CEO Scott Coker said Thursday. “If he can, maybe one day, he can return and fight for us.”

Baroni’s most noteworthy fight in STRIKEFORCE was also the first STRIKEFORCE middleweight (185 pounds) MMA championship bout in history on June 22, 2007.  Refusing to tap out, Baroni was choked unconscious by four-time world champion Frank Shamrock in the second round (4:00) of action.

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Baroni, a former amateur bodybuilder, fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and although he had a tough reputation, was able to only amass a record of 3-5-0. On September 27, 2002, Baroni knocked out former UFC champion Dave Menne but tapped out for the only time in his career versus against Pete Sell, a much lesser opponent.

Moving on to Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championships, Baroni started out with several knockout victories and then was choked out in a grudge match with Frank Shamrock in a cross-promotion event with EliteXC. Steroid allegations for Baroni followed when his ‘A’ specimen tested positive for boldenone and stanozolol. Questions arose when his ‘B’ sample came back negative. H ended up with a reduced suspension of six months and a $2,500 fine.

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In nomadic fashion, Baroni fought in ICON Sport, EliteXC, PFC and Cage Rage, with a match in the latter becoming something of a viral instant classic.  After a vicious combination floored Scott Jansen, a brother of the British native somehow made his way into the cage with the cornermen and attempted to headbutt Baroni. Two more wins followed before the loss to Briggs.

Even though UFC president Dana White tried to convince Baroni to retire when he first left the prestigious MMA league, he must see something in the 33-year-old now that was not apparent then. According to sources, Baroni has verbally agreed to a UFC contract.

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About STRIKEFORCE

STRIKEFORCE is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history.  The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265.

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Since 1995, STRIKEFORCE has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.”  In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of STRIKEFORCE, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.

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