NEWS UPDATE: SHORTLY After going to publication Richie Smullen pulled out of BAMMA 32 fight due to injury
Tim Barnett is not your stereo-typical MMA fighter. In fact most of our conversation had very little to do with his upcoming lightweight fight against Richie Smullen on the BAMMA 32 Dublin card.
” MMA is something I choose to do within my life. I enjoy it. It doesn’t define me. The pressure of Win/Lose doesn’t define me as a person”
Tim steps into the cage, any cage, to have fun and defeat the man opposite. No more no less. As a result he feels his stress levels are lower. To date this philosophy has been a resounding success as Tim has racked up 5 wins as a professional. All wins to date have come inside the distance.
Prior to this, Tim had a highly successful amateur career with a final record of 8-1. Turning pro was a decision he took with his coach Jason Tan. It was a short conversation, the coach merely saying
Tim Barnett’s background is mainly in boxing and this is evidenced i suppose by the fact that 4 of his wins as a professional are by KO/TKO. However he soon became obsessed by MMA and credits the love of the sport to coaches Jason Tan and Peter Davis (ex Euro Muay Thai Champ).
” MMA has never been a chore. All i have wanted to do is get better and better. MMA has taught me how to lose my ego and become a better person. I have much bigger goals than MMA. I would say to anyone if you can find what you love you anyone can achieve”
Ideas such as staying present and letting go of ego are as much life goals as MMA ones. Tim is very vocal about making an impact both inside and outside the sport. Indeed it is refreshing to hear an athlete speak so open and honestly about their views of the world and what we as humans can do to try and change things for the better.
” I’m a firm believer in Karma. I want to be the Best Dad, Best Partner and best Friend i can be. I want to realize the idea of being my Authentic self. The pure authentic version of myself.”
Tim considers MMA an art form and that fighting is a way of expressing himself. He considers it a joy to be in the gym toiling and finessing his art form. In such a brutally unforgiving sport i wondered if he felt fear and if he did how he dealt with it.
” I was shit scared going into the cage against Rhys McKee, However the more fear i face going into the cage the more i seem to be able to let go off my own fears. My goals are inner peace. I do not seek approval from anyone other than myself.”
The outward bling and material excess of a Conor Mcgregor are not for him. Although he is a big Fan of the mindset of Conor Mcgregor.
” I will get to that level. However i won’t lose myself along the way. I’ll be on that Mcgregor Level of Fighting success. I only want to be involved with things (products) that are positive for the human race. “
What he was getting at here was the plethora of MMA stars that you see constantly holding or drinking Energy Drinks most of which he views as horrible for the human body. Tim actually named one brand in particular but i decided to omit the company. See a case of the blogger looking out for the fighter!!
As you can imagine Tim’s Heroes are people like Bruce Lee, Einstein and Teslo and he is a big fan of Colin Kaepernick from the NFL.
Like a lot of fighters at the BAMMA level of the game Barnett has need to supplement his income and he works as a personal trainer. Above any other fighter i ever met i would say that Tim Barnett actually enjoys his day job.
” I’m a personal trainer and train people from a variety of different backgrounds. I take a holistic approach Mind , Body and soul. I’m very spiritual and regularly do Yoga and meditate”
He was quick to mention a business man who he is training with who has been very helpful in him getting sponsorship. What he gives the universe gives back i suppose. In fact I think the very same guy was one of the people messaging me on Facebook encouraging me to write a piece on Tim. It would seem that Tim naturally engenders that sort of loyalty.
I have to admit too that he is the first fighter i got off the phone with where the conversation we had kept me thinking for a good while afterwards. It is clear to me Tim is well read and he admits to studying books all the time to help train his mind.
Sometimes you forget to ask questions during the course of an Interview and this interviewer often forgets to ask many. I would guess though that Tim has probably at least read a few chapters of Rhoda Byrne’s ‘The Secret’. I had asked if he had read Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ and he had. However I’n sorry i didn’t ask about Byrne’s book – as it is one of the cornerstones of how Conor McGregor first began to train his mind.
In terms of his upcoming fight BAMMA fight with Richie Smullen the conversation did swing back around to his bout on BAMMA32.
” If I win this I’ll be looking at the BAMMA World title next. It will be amazing to have two belts (he already has Lonsdale belt). I know all fighters say something like this but the fight is a blank canvas for me. I’ll just do me. It’s a challenge i think i will overcome. I do watch opponents fights in extreme detail. I’m watching to see if they swallow when they get hit, Or if they drop their shoulders. I’m looking at their eye contact. When they give me their tells i up the pressure”
As the Interview was drawing to a close i asked him about his goals . They are as you can imagine by now both simple and profound.
” I am striving for inner peace. Physicality gives me peace. It shuts down the thoughts and mental chatter ceases to exist. I want to show my daughter that you can go and do what you love whatever that is”
I don’t have much else to add except to say to Richie Smullen this boy has his homework done!. Richie has himself fought Rhys McKee to a draw and is a very highly regarded fighter. This Lightweight contest has the makings of a great bout and whatever happens i would be surprised to see it go the 3 rounds.
Good Luck to both men.