Barber “Accepting Reality” After Loss At UFC 246
Losing was a foreign concept to UFC flyweight Maycee Barber, who felt the first sting of defeat at UFC 246.
”The loss has not shifted my goals in the sport at all,” Barber wrote in a prepared statement sent to MMA Fighting by her father and coach Bucky Barber following her loss to Roxanne Madaferri inside T-Mobile Arena. “It has added more goals to the pre-existing ones. I’m still gonna be the youngest champion in UFC history.”
In the early stages of her prelim fight against Modaferri, the 21-year-old tore her left ACL, which will see her not only undergo surgery next month but be sidelined from six to nine months as she rehabs.
”I am hoping to make my return and fight again by the end of 2020,” Barber wrote.
”Roxanne is a phenomenal competitor, so I don’t doubt she will still be taking care of her business,” Barber wrote of the popular fighter. “She and I will cross again, and I’ll have the opportunity to prove to everyone what my team and myself already know.”
Barber told MMA Fighting that she initially tried to fight through the pain suffered after awkwardly stepping on her opponent’s foot in the first round. The wunderkind of the UFC felt she’d be able to recover and stop Modaferi the same way she stopped JJ Aldrich n her last fight.
”I realized that the muscles surrounding my knee were starting to want to protect it,” Barber wrote as she was preparing for the next round. “Round two started, and I realized the pain had gotten worse (and the) instability had gotten greater. I don’t remember a lot, but I remember being slow and seeing her jab come and wanting to step back. With that half a second extra of thinking, she caught me with the jab. I still stepped back, but my leg wasn’t there. The stability had left me.”
”I couldn’t connect to my brain to my leg,” she wrote.
”I was doing everything I could to disguise the fact that I had been compromised,” Barber continued. “I feel like the fact that the doctor completely gave away that I was dealing with something. It also made the injury more prominent to me when I was trying to push it out of my head for the fight. Had it been me fighting, if I would have seen the doctor stepping in and checking someone’s knee, that would instantly be the thing that I target.”
When Nevada State Athletic Commission doctor David Watson subsequently told referee Jason Herzog that Barber had suffered “a small, partial ACL tear” and was “fine” – a conversation picked up by broadcast mics – Barber didn’t fully hear the prognosis. In retrospect, she believes the doctor’s only job was to ask if she was able to continue.
”I feel as though the doctor should have come up to me and ask me if I was good, and then listened to my response,” the young fighter said of Nevada Athletic Commission doctor David Watson, who told referee Jason Herzog that Barber suffered “a small partial ACL tear. “I personally have never seen anyone sat down in the middle of fight and had a doctor (check) their knee stability, and then proceed to get up and announce to the ref and everyone else there was a small ACL tear and that (the fighter) was ‘fine.’ I knew something in my knee was torn and I wasn’t fine, but I knew that I could be in the fight, and then after the fight was over, I could cry and deal with it.
”There is absolutely no benefit or reason for the doctor to check me if he was going to let me continue, and there most definitely wasn’t a reason to announce the injury and let me continue knowing full well that he had just ‘shown my hand.’”
”If I’m ever in true danger of permanent damage, I trust my corners to make the right decision,” Barber continued. “My knee was trashed already, and I wasn’t taking serious damage otherwise. Let’s look for a way to win, there’s still time.”
“What a life, and I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing. Losses happen, injuries are real, and champions overcome all. I’ll be back and better than before. This is the life I chose, and I want to live every part of it.”