Phil Baroni, one of the more colorful characters in MMA, was released by the UFC after losing to Brad Tavares at UFC 125 on New Year's Day, Fightin' Words has confirmed.
Baroni, a 34-year-old native of Massapequa, lost the two fights in his latest stint with the UFC, including at UFC 106 in November 2009 to Amir Sadollah.
In his fight against Tavares, Baroni (13-13, 3-7 UFC) managed to knock him down early with a strong left hook. But Tavares caught Baroni with a head kick later in the round that stunned the "New York Bad - -." Tavares moved in with strikes, had Baroni against the cage and finished him off with combination punches.
"Tough loss," Baroni told Fightin' Words in a text message. "I felt like I was dominating, but then I lost my focus after the pause and got head kicked. I should have ran and recovered, but I called him in. Too tough for my own good."
Heading into UFC 125, Baroni spoke of his renewed excitement for fighting. He switched his training camp to AKA in San Jose, Calif., under the tutelage of Javier Mendez. Baroni looked to be in great shape for his fight at middleweight, so expect to see him fight somewhere else soon in hopes of earning one last chance in the UFC.
"Back to square one," he said. "Try and fight back to UFC level promotion in the future. I felt good. I just made a mistake and he made me pay. Pretty disappointing."
Below is an emotional video with Baroni and MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani in the moments after the fight.