The Biggest Star in Professional Sports capped his breakout UFC 268 weekend—where he knocked Gian Villante into retirement with a spinning/wheel/tornado/hook kick and celebrated with a triumphant front flip/butt drop—with an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Monday. You know, like you do.
Naturally, Chris Barnett kept it 100.
100 percent adorable!
Sorry … sorry. These outbursts of enthusiasm aren’t like us. It’s just that this Barnett attitude is downright infectious. We can’t get enough of it.
Take this for example: Turns out, Barnett’s mom and dad are blackbelts in the taekwondo and reacted to their son’s KO of Villante exactly the way you’d expect a couple of lifelong Martial Arts Parents might do. They thought it was cool and all, but they had some pointers—for both Barnett himself and the MMA world in general.
“Literally, my mom yelled at me when I got home,” he told Helwani, with a special shoutout to the Big Homie Steven Marrocco for the transcription. “She was like, ‘Why do they keep calling it a wheel kick? Why do they keep calling it a tornado? It’s a spinning hook-kick. I was like, ‘I’m sorry.’
Now, see, Barnett Family, that’s our bad. It can be a struggle at times to apply the proper nomenclature to the proper technique when so many of these motherfuckers are out here fighting like life is a damn video game. We’re sorry in this instance for not exactly nailing it. Also, Chris Barnett, as The Biggest Star in Professional Sports, it’s not your responsibility to apologize for our incompetence, but we appreciate the gesture.
Barnett’s father, who had been his longtime coach and worked his corner for many of his fights, has been unable to accompany his son on recent trips to the cage after suffering a stroke. But that also didn’t stop him from dadding out of control about his son’s recent performance.
“He’s still one of my biggest critics, which is awesome, because he was mad at me that I put my hand down for the spinning hook kick,” Barnett said. “He was like, ‘If you would have done it clean, it would have been down, but good knockout, I guess.”
“Good knockout, I guess.” Goddamn it, is it getting dusty in here?
Plus, there’s this stuff about Barnett grappling with his newfound fame and how it’s going to affect his online life.
“Man, things just ain’t the same for gangsters,” he said. “It’s wild. It’s drastically changed. I literally gained 100,000 followers overnight. I was trying to keep up with my Instagram, and I’m at the point now where I’m ready to delete all of it. I can’t keep up with everything.”
How does he do it? How, whenever we think “The Beastboy” has reached max levels of relatability and likability, does he continue to one-up himself with Every. Single. Public. Appearance.
Look, if Barnett is going to keep on being so delightful and life-affirming all the time—telling fucking heartwarming stories about his family that are also lightly tinged with that particular melancholy we all feel for our aging parents—we don’t know if we’re going to be able to take it. We might self-destruct. Our bodies might turn to pure energy as we ascend to a higher realm of consciousness.
Dare we even dream that Chris Barnett is really this good and pure? Might he finally be The One?
Co-Mainiacs, you know how it usually goes in this sport. Lot of shall-we-say undesirables running around. You’ve heard us talk about it at length. Every time some new, potentially fun person comes along we think might have what it takes to become one of our Capital G Girls or Guys, we do some digging, only to find out they are very vocal about their belief that puppies make a tasty snack, or we discover they were once a vicious and notorious sea captain who is wanted in several maritime districts due to their cruel treatment of their crew.
Well, that last thing might actually be pretty cool. We’re keeping our minds open on that last one.
We hate to keep singing this same old refrain: But it seems like a fool’s errand to get our hopes up over Barnett. In the coming days, will we learn something terrible about him? Will the UFC even understand what they have in him? Or will they just turn around and make him fight Greg Hardy or some other terrible bullshit that will just make everybody go on Feeling Sad About MMA?
You know what, maybe that would actually be for the best. Because if Chris Barnett just continues being this amazing, we honestly don’t know if our cold, black hearts will be able to take it.