I received another press release from the XFC today, this time on Scott Barrett. Barrett will face Chad Corvin in the upcoming "XFC 7: School of Hard Knox" event scheduled to go down in Knoxville, TN on February 20th.
I'll be there covering the event, doing a live blog and such. I have four interviews coming from various fighters on the card. Keep an eye out.
Check after the jump for full press release.
From a press release:
Knoxville, TN (February 10, 2009): It was November 2008. Undefeated heavyweight Scott Barrett – the 265-pound wrestler-turned-Mixed Martial Artist – was trading haymakers in training camp with Brad Baker to prepare for his December 5 showdown against Donavin Hawkey of the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. This wasn’t just any fight for the 25-year-old Barrett; this was one of the two international featured attractions on the XFC 6: “Clash of the Continents” supercard. Widely considered the second-best heavyweight in all of Africa, Hawkey was set to make his American debut after going 10-1 against African competition and winning five straight South African boxing championships. And if Barrett were to upend Hawkey, his status as one of the sport’s top young heavyweights would grow even further in stature. World titles, superstardom and long-term financial security were all on the horizon.
That’s when Brad Baker cracked Scott Barrett in the right eye socket with his fist.
“I remember that punch,” Barrett recalled. “Baker is a real tough guy; he was Forrest Griffin’s main sparring partner for years, so he’s used to these training camp blood brawls. But he immediately jumped back with a real sick look on his face and said, ‘I think I just broke my hand.’ He went straight to the emergency room and I continued my workout with someone else. Turns out he splintered a few bones in his hand and was in a cast for a long time. But I didn’t really think about the punch again ‘til one of the doctors at the pre-fight checkup asked me if my eyeball had recently suffered any unusual trauma.”
The medical examination revealed a detached retina – and Barrett was literally one shot away from permanent blindness.
“These prefight checkups are usually just a formality,” sighed Barrett. “And because my vision wasn’t compromised, I had absolutely no idea that my eye was damaged. I worked myself into the best shape of my entire life, I was getting ready to catapult my career to the next level… and now I’m told that not only can’t I represent the United States at “Clash of the Continents” – but my MMA career might already be over. Yeah, I was more than heartbroken – I was devastated.”
Instead of taping up his fists and battling in the cage, Barrett found himself in a hospital bed, undergoing laser surgery to reattach his retina. “It was a little spooky ‘cause you’re awake the whole time during the operation,” remembered Barrett. “You sort of stare off at the wall while they burn your retina back into your eye. Immediately afterwards I thought I had gone blind because I was so heavily dilated. But fortunately, the operation was a complete success. My eye’s as good as new now.”
Meanwhile, undefeated Chad Corvin of Elizabethtown, Kentucky battled South African heavyweight champion Rico Hattingh in the main event of “Clash of the Continents” – and annihilated the visiting fighter, splintering Hattingh’s nose in four places en route to a stunning 19-second knockout victory. Afterwards, Corvin was proclaimed one of the top heavyweight prospects in all of America, and MMA Unlimited Magazine writer Martin Smith listed Chad Corvin first in his “Ten Fighters to Watch in 2009” list.
When Barrett looks at Corvin, he sees what might have been. And what still might be.
“Having an opportunity to face Chad Corvin in the main event of the first-ever professional MMA fight card in Tennessee state history is an incredible opportunity!” Barrett exclaimed. “It’s my chance once again to push my record to 7-0 and reclaim all I nearly lost for good with that eye injury. I know Corvin’s story. I know that he can hit a man so hard, his nose will actually burst apart. I know that none of his opponents have even survived the first round. But for the first time in his career, he’s gonna face an opponent who can walk right through a punch that shatters a hand and detaches a retina – and continue fighting. No matter what he throws at me, my chin and heart will let me take it. I respect Chad Corvin, but I don’t think he wants this as badly as I do. And mark my words, eventually in the fight, that’s gonna be the difference.”
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Barrett was a football lineman and ran track in high school, prior to discovering wrestling his junior year. “Wrestling became my passion,” he smiled. Barrett captured the attention of college wrestling scouts as a senior, going undefeated in dual meets and winning the Georgia Games as a heavyweight. This helped earn him a scholarship to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, but he transferred as a freshman to Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, where he wrestled for four years. “I still love that community. And I have so many incredible memories in Knoxville! ‘Course, quite a few of them are from my time as a bouncer at O’Charley’s. Most nights were uneventful, but things would get rowdy on game day. I had to take a few guys down every now and then.”
After graduating, Barrett contemplated going back to school to earn a master’s in special education. “I volunteered at the Special Olympics in Atlanta, and those children really touched my heart,” Barrett explained. “Seeing what they’re going through – and how happy they are – kind of makes our problems seem sort of trivial.” But future plans are on hold for now as Barrett concentrates on his MMA career. “I have the rest of my life to be a teacher, but an athlete’s lifespan is limited. And I want to find out just how good I really am.”
When asked what a victory over Chad Corvin would mean to him, Barrett paused briefly before answering: “We’re two big undefeated heavyweights, and we’re both in our early twenties. But we’re already at a career crossroads. Whoever wins this fight will be recognized as the next big thing in the heavyweight division, and the loser will see his career take a colossal step backwards. So let’s see who’s the better man. My Tennessee friends and college teammates will be cheering me on, I’ve trained my butt off, and I’ve already had to overcome so much just to get here. I can’t lose this fight. I just can’t.”
XFC 7: “School of Hard Knox,” the first-ever pro MMA fight card in Tennessee state history, takes place on February 20 at Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena. Undefeated heavyweights collide in the main event when Scott “The Bear” Barrett battles Chad Corvin in a showdown between two of the fastest-rising prospects in the sport. Tickets are now available at the Thompson-Boling Arena box office and Tickets Unlimited outlets, including Cat's Music, Disc Exchange, and Fye Music.
About Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC): Xtreme Fighting Championships – better known to MMA fight fans worldwide as XFC – is the Southeast’s leading independent MMA promotion, and stages the largest live shows in the entire sport this side of UFC. Dedicated to launching the careers of the next generation of MMA superstars, XFC’s next mega-event, XFC 7: “School of Hard Knox” will take place on February 20, 2008 in Knoxville, Tennessee. XFC 7 will make history as the first-ever pro MMA event in Tennessee state history. For more information about XFC, please visit www.mmaxfc.com.