Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 108 - JOSH BARNETT
MMA FIGHTER, WRESTLER, ACTOR - JOSH BARNETT
"Actually, one of the things I think that is most important outside of ... I mean, not even framed within fighting or anything like that, but just for life ... is to travel the world and to see other cultures and to beat them up whenever possible." Josh Barnett, former UFC heavyweight champion, catch wrestler, actor
ABOUT JOSH BARNETT:
Josh Barnett joins the podcast for the second time on this episode. Josh is a former UFC Heavyweight champion and current belt holder for catch wrestling. Josh also is a coach of an incredible fight team, and we went out to the UFC gym in La Mirada CA to watch Josh train his team. Josh talks about traveling and fighting all over the world, the current state of MMA and what he thinks can be done to improve it, and his love of acting and cars.
ON THIS WEEK'S COMPANION TV SHOW:
This week on Fueled By Death Show, on Science we cover the recent history made in space exploration including the New Horizon's spacecraft making it to its destination, Ultima Thule, and sending back the first pictures. Plus, China has landed the first spacecraft on the dark side of the moon. then meet Angela Lodge, the Death Star of the Week. Our new segment gives us a chance to talk about stuff we have been digging in popular culture this past week, and then we get really mad when talking about decaf coffee on The Roast. Finally, get some new mug information on the Update including the 2019 Valhalla Java Mug.
Jeff: I gotta start it by asking, we're here at the UFC Gym in La Mirada?
Josh Barnett: La Mirada.
Jeff: Got that right.
Josh Barnett: It also means whale's vagina in a different dialect of Spanish.
Jeff: Gotcha, gotcha. And we just got done watching you with one of your classes. How many classes to you teach here?
Josh Barnett: I don't teach classes. I just have a fight team.
Jeff: You just have a fight team.
Josh Barnett: This was a group sparring session because my friend Ian is a coach. He's got a team, Fight Science, and he brought his team down, his professionals, to come and spar with my athletes.
Josh Barnett: So it was just a group training session. One of Ian's fighters, Terran [Werry], fights in the UFC. He's got a fight coming up, so Victor Henry, my guy, has a fight next weekend in Tokyo at the legendary Korakuen Hall for Deep against former multiple belt holder Takafumi Otsuka, a Japanese standard badass bantam weight, good wrestling background and about 35 fights. So serious business.
Jeff: Yeah. I see a lot of your fighters that your training going over to Japan and overseas a lot. Is that because you have connections over that way to get these guys fights?
Josh Barnett: It's just easier for me to fool them into paying us money to have us over. I've managed to pull the wool over their eyes.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Josh Barnett: Actually, one of the things I think that is most important outside of ... I mean, not even framed within fighting or anything like that, but just for life ... is to travel the world and to see other cultures and to beat them up whenever possible.
Dustin: A real Viking mentality.
Josh Barnett: But to go and travel and experience all these different things as much as you can, it really changes your perspective on many things. And to me, fighting in Japan is the best place to fight in the whole world. Nothing against my American fan base. I love the hell out of you. And my European and you name it, I'm happy to have you all. I've always had fantastic experiences with everyone from all around the world. But I've really, really enjoyed fighting in Japan. You know, I am biased, especially because of my background from the Japanese professional wrestling side. But, one, it's a great market with fighters his size over there, and most of the fighters I've been bringing to Japan. But I want them to have that experience. I want them to ... I want to take them to Japan, to Russia, to Brazil, to wherever I can ... to Costa Rica. I know there's fights down there. There's fights at all corners of the world, and if I can get these people the opportunity to go and see that world and experience this thing ...
You know what? Nobody makes really good fucking movies anymore like "Bloodsport" and "The Octagon," and all these ridiculous martial arts films that drew me in as a kid. I want these kids to live that story that I always envisioned for myself when I got into this back in 1996, that I would travel the world and be fighting in the kumite and whatever was available, because it really-
Dustin: Dojo versus Dojo, yeah.
Josh Barnett: It was a lot like that. You know, I had all these fights that are unsanctioned before I could really get situated in someplace that was honestly legitimate, but that's just the nature of it. There wasn't the opportunity, there wasn't all this infrastructure for that to be a thing. And there was no sanctioning really for any of these promotions and things like that either. So you just had to piecemeal it. But all around the world there's been fights forever, and I kind of want these kids to be able to go and live out, honestly, what seems like an '80s martial arts movie existence.
Jeff: iI think that's amazing.
Josh Barnett: We do work on jumping spin kicks.
Jeff: Good, good.
Dustin: Do you ever see yourself competing in Japan.
Josh Barnett: Oh, yeah, yeah. I'm trying to find the next place to go and ply my trade as a murderer of human beings. So I'm hoping to be back in Japan, if not just for MMA, but for professional wrestling. And the sky's the limit, man. It's a big world, a lot of faces to punch.
Dustin: Yeah. I mean, I feel like maybe I might be misspoken but I feel like if the UFC has another fight in Japan and doesn't include you it would be-
Josh Barnett: Well, I'm no longer a part of the UFC-
Josh Barnett: ... at this moment. I decided to take my future into my own hands, and I asked for my release. I am a total free agent, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to put the most interesting and screen worthy cap to this existence as an MMA fighter.
Dustin: Well, that's very exciting for you. Does it feel like you're almost reliving your younger days of just like ... It could turn out to be anything. It's really up to you at this point.
Josh Barnett: I want to have a movie made of my life at the end of all this, where in the beginning it starts out talking about the rise of the Sons of Arias and when the great Atlantis sank beneath the ocean. Let me tell you the tale of high adventure? Yeah. That's how I want my movie to start off. I feel like there's still a lot of adventure that exists around the world in terms of fighting, and I want to do it. I want to try to fight in a ... if I can find one, you know, like a one night tournament again. I want to do things, I want to be in places and fight people that maybe I would never get the chance to without the freedom that I have now to try and create these opportunities. And I'd love to defend my King of Pancrase title another time-
Josh Barnett: ... to put myself as the all-time most title defenses for the King of Pancrase.
Dustin: Oh, that's so cool.
Jeff: That's excellent. So when doing this with your fight team, do you find ... and I'm sure this is the case ... but do you find that this is helping you as a fighter, like to ... 'cause you say you're not necessarily teaching, but you're there with your fight team and you're helping them. Is that in turn helping you?
Josh Barnett: Oh, yes. And there's oftentimes when I'll have the kids teach. I call them "kids," these are all grown adults. But I'll have them teach in given situations, especially if I'm doing little seminars and things like that. I'll have them teach alongside me because it makes you have to look at what it is that you think you understand from a different way and to be able to then take that information and break it down so that somebody else could understand it. You have to have a very deep knowledge of that. And it's good to be able to break these things down and swim through them that deeply. It makes them more yours.
But I mean, I do coach these fighters. I am their coach and their manager. But there is the inspiration of leading by example, so that's big one. But honestly, this was only gonna be about three people at best, and then a bunch came a lot with a few of them, and I just inherited all these goofballs.
Dustin: Yeah, it's almost like Josh Barnett's foster home of fighters.
Josh Barnett: Yeah, kind of. It's a bit like that, yeah. I take all the ones that no one else wants, and I'm just better at getting them to eat all the gruel and ask for seconds. Very Dickensian. But, you know, with people like Cold Steel helping us out and supporting us, it's been fantastic.
Dustin: That's really cool. So they are supporting your team?
Josh Barnett: They do, they support the team, they include them in on a lot of things, and they provide some financial help here and there too, which has been great.
Jeff: That's very, very cool. Now you've got a lot of guys-
Josh Barnett: Not to mention they give us swords and knives, and we always need those.
Jeff: Am I crazy or did I see you wheeling Katanas recently for them?
Josh Barnett: You have recently seen me chop all kinds of stuff. I actually did some stuff for them, yeah.
Jeff: That's the best. What a great mutual relationship that is.
Josh Barnett: I'm not the kind of person that has any interest in endorsing things that I don't think are worthwhile, that I won't use and believe in myself. And I carry a Cold Steel on me almost every single day in almost every situation, because a knife is one of the handiest things to have. Their knives are the strongest out there on the market, which is really great, especially when you think about ... this is not a gimmick for a Cold Steel commercial right now.
Dustin: Cold Steel knives, ladies and gentleman! Endorsed by Josh Barnett himself.
Josh Barnett: I dip my blade in coffee every morning. So I stab them and I caffeinate them at the same time!
Dustin: Oh my God, that's great!
Josh Barnett: But having a highly durable ... especially like I usually carry a code four, it's got a nice, thick back strap on it. If you're gonna use a knife as just a tool, it is far more useful that way when I know that, okay, the cutting part, no shit, right? But using that back strap for something or breaking something open or using it to turn and leverage, I'm not worried that this knife is gonna come apart in my hands and put a blade through my finger.
Jeff: The lock's not gonna let loose and close on your index finger.
Josh Barnett: No, so most of the time people are like, "Why do you have a knife on you?" I go, "There are millions of unchecked, unopened boxes waiting around every corner."
Jeff: It's the truth, it's the fricking truth.
Josh Barnett: Or plastic, vacuum sealed pressed packages lying in wait, ready to jump out of the shadows at any moment, and I need to be ready. So just my dad always carried a pocket knife his whole life.
Jeff: Yeah, mine too.
Josh Barnett: It's just a normal thing, and yeah it's a great tool for self defense if you know how to use it. But that's not something ... that's never really been anything I've ever had to have any concern with.
Josh Barnett: I'm not saying it's never happened. I'm just saying never, in general, that's not something that's ever an issue. But man, those boxes, those plastic packages-
Dustin: They don't stand a chance.
Josh Barnett: No, it's been great.
Dustin: Now you've got a lot of up and coming guys I've seen, you know, Alyssa Garcia have a lot of success recently. We've seen Victor Henry, slick as shit out there by the way, have some recent success especially in jujitsu tournaments and stuff like that. Who else should we be looking out for in your camp?
Josh Barnett: Well, Victor and Alyssa are both gonna fight on the DEEP card, August 26th at Korakuen Hall.
Dustin: So they'll both be on that?
Josh Barnett: On, the card, yeah. Alyssa is actually in Tokyo right now training with Mei Yamaguchi, who often comes down here and gets work with us whenever she's in town. And also the whole crew up at ACC, a good friend of mine, Abe Ani, has got a great gym out in Tokyo. But she's out there because I had her at ... she fought in Shanghai, China, won her fight in [inaudible], then I shipped her ass down to [inaudible] School outside of Bangkok, so she was there for 20 days training Thai boxing, living, eating, breathing it in a dorm. Then I flew her from there to Tokyo, where she's finishing her camp and we'll come meet up with her there. Also it's been great to just keep that annoying son of a bitch out of my hair, 'cause she is an aggravation.
Dustin: She's so fun to follow on Instagram, though, and it's really cool to see her go through all these training camps.
Josh Barnett: Between her and Victor here, everybody's like, "Oh, what? No, they're such good students." And they ... You don't live with them every day. You don't deal with all their crap and their garbage and their smart mouths and they're just ... ugh.
Dustin: Are you working with these guys every day?
Josh Barnett: Pretty much, yeah. And I also have a great relationship locally with California Mixed Martial Arts, which is my friend and student as well, Chad George. That's his gym. And so he's got a lot of smaller athletes. We were just there yesterday, and we go there often. And when we're out of town, myself and other fighters, I'll send the team down there. We've got a great working relationship helping build up each other's talent. Yeah, there's been a lot of work on the fighting stuff. Shohei Yamamoto is a Kyokushin World Champion as a junior and was the youngest person to ever compete in the World Open Kyokushin Karate Tournament, which is bare knuckle. You know, he was light 180 pounds fighting grown men, at like 19, fighting grown men that could be 6'7" and 260.
Dustin: Wow. How well do you think kyokushin translates into mixed martial arts?
Josh Barnett: Kyokushin can translate fantastically well, especially in the kicking and kneeing department, the delivery of power. But they have to learn to get their head off center line and be a bit more slick about avoiding the boxing work.
Dustin: Yeah, 'cause there's no punching to the head.
Josh Barnett: Their hands are often too low, and they're not reading the hands very much. They're great at getting out of the way of the tricks and trading kicks and strikes and angling even, but they get in the way of hands sometimes a bit more than they should. Also, they're used to really short sprint rounds. They'll come out, blast, and then that's it, whereas an MMA fight or kickboxing match [crosstalk]-
Dustin: ... two or three minute rounds when I went to tournaments and it was always ... It was always really brutal though. I mean I would see somebody get spin kicked, catch a heel in the orbital and then just walk out-
Josh Barnett: Get crushed. No, I've seen Shohei annihilate people before in kyokushin as well on tape. It's a great brutal karate style, and I'm glad to be able to help Shohei not, not disregard any of his kyokushin but anyway he should build upon it, so that he's using kyokushin effectively when he fights. And that's more important to me. You know, I've always said if some kid comes in and they have a TaeKwonDo background, I'm not gonna try and retrain all the TaeKwonDo out of him and try and teach him how to be something else. You spend all this time mastering something, let's just find a way to integrate it into everything we do. There's no point in throwing it away, that would be a waste.
Dustin: 'Cause there's a lot of useful stuff in TaeKwonDo, even though somebody is a master in TaeKwonDo and just a master in TaeKwonDo gets in a street fight they might not survive.
Josh Barnett: Correct. But you know, it's about using the time that you've spent mastering these things and, you know, it's easier to make a small adjustment than to start from scratch. It's even like when I'll deal with wrestlers and judo players that often are right lead forward, but they're right handed people. So like an old student of mine, Megumi Fujji, when I started working with her, she had zero striking. So the first thing I did is well, everything you do grappling wise, wrestling wise all comes out of her right lead. So you're gonna be a converted southpaw. 'Cause there's no point in trying to teach you how to do all the stuff that you're already great from a whole different stance than it is for me to teach you something that you've never done before from this stance. It doesn't matter. You don't throw jabs in crosses anyways, so I'll teach you from here. It won't be different to you.
Dustin: I mean, Bruce Lee thought that the strong hand should be lead hand.
Josh Barnett: That's true.
Dustin: 'Cause you throw the jab the most, and the most hand you use should be your dominant hand.
Josh Barnett: And the Soviets used to make everyone a converted southpaw.
Josh Barnett: And the Cubans were also in that whole-
Dustin: 'Cause it's harder to read?
Josh Barnett: They felt like it was ... One, most people wouldn't be used to dealing with southpaws. And two, you could have your strong hand forward, especially for amateur boxing, that was the whole point.
Josh Barnett: 'Cause there weren't any pro Soviets.
Dustin: Right, that's true.
Josh Barnett: Capitalism doesn't work with the boxing in the Soviet system. In Soviet Russia we box you.
Jeff: We box you.
Josh Barnett: Yeah, in gulag. And the amateurs are doing quite well. All of them have fights coming up. In fact, I've had ... one amateur has had six fights, seven fights now in a year. I keep him active, active. Johnny Robles has ... he's a featherweight, 145-er is an amateur. Mainly that's because most amateur fights, the weigh in is the same day. So I'm not interested in having these kids cut a bunch of weight for anything.
Dustin: That's dangerous, especially when that blood brain barrier doesn't rehydrate for, what's it, 74 hours or something like that?
Josh Barnett: Exactly.
Dustin: And then concussions can lead to some serious issues.
Josh Barnett: That's how people get hurt the worst, you know, weight cutting is the most dangerous thing, not PEDs, not any of that. It's weight cutting is what gets people really hurt. And the idea that a guy could walk in a ring, who's better at dehydrating and re hydrating, with 20 pounds on his opponent, that's way more dangerous that anything I can think of.
Dustin: Yeah, yeah.
Josh Barnett: But so yeah, me and Joe Rogan are 100% on the nose about that. I've felt that way for a long time. Weight cutting is the most dangerous and the thing that's gonna be the cause of most injuries and potential death in all of the sport.
Dustin: And it doesn't make for exciting fights, 'cause guys get gassed out.
Josh Barnett: Yeah. [crosstalk]. That weight cut goes down and all of a sudden you start fatiguing massively because you're just not hydrated or getting ... people start getting knocked out on the regular. You know, the less water you have in your system, the less functioning your internal organs and your muscles are. Also, the less, like you said, blood/brain barrier all that, there's less cushion in the head. You're gonna get knocked out more easily or, not just knocked out, but you have a higher likelihood of brain trauma because it just doesn't have the protection, the concussion protection.
But anyways, as I go off on a tangent there, Johnny is walking at 145 pounds. Doesn't even really cut any weight at all, and yet he's the king of the cage featherweight champion. He just won the IFS 150 pound MMA title. He's going to fight for two more titles here coming up: Fighters Rep Four in September, and in October or early ... or is it August ... I got two more dates. Anyways, he's been tearing it up. The thing is when it gets to the point where it's ready to take him pro, he's gonna be a 125-er.
Dustin: When do you know when somebody's ready to go professional?
Josh Barnett: I just do. I watch how they perform in the gym against other viable competition. I watch how their understanding of the technique and the training and the philosophy of why we implement things, our strategies. I pay attention to all that. And it could be a guy that only fights amateur just a little bit, and it could be a person that I think needs more experience, you know, to get over that hump for themselves to become capable of competing at that pro level in terms of having the right head space and being acclimated well enough to incorporate all the skills that are necessary at that higher level. I mean, I'll be honest, there are plenty of guys that are terrible pros, where some of these amateurs are actually getting tougher, more technical fights than some of these other pro shows are doing at the lower level. But the thing is, you know, once you start winning, eventually you're gonna have to fight the better people. What's the point of only being able to beat the bums, if you can't take it all the way to the upper level?
Dustin: So you like to keep guys amateur until you know-
Josh Barnett: It's just all completely arbitrary.
Josh Barnett: It's all based on my own guts-
Dustin: Gut feeling, yeah.
Josh Barnett: You know Victor Henry, when I first started working with him, he had lost his last amateur fight. He was 3 and 2 overall as an amateur, something like that. I hadn't worked with him all that much and wasn't his head coach when he was fighting as an amateur. I think I only worked with him for two amateur fights, or he was involved at coming to CSW from his old coach Jimmy Romero brought him. Jimmy brought his team down to CSW to get more work in, more sparring to be in that environment. You know, I would help out here and there, and when Jimmy didn't' have the time and the resources to keep the team going, I took Victor under my wing and went from there.
The first thing I did is I turned him pro. He's like, "Uh, are you sure?" I'm like, "Yeah. No, you are better suited to fight pro than you are to fight amateur." 'Cause amateur often has reduced rules and far reduced round times, which in my opinion is actually really counter productive, because you don't get enough ... It would be better to have three and five minute rounds for amateurs with no ground and pound to the face than it would be to have these two and three minute rounds at best, and have people just go out there, sprint, and try to wale on each other on top.
Josh Barnett: Because you know, to me amateur athletics is to build skill and to get experience and also to make it a safe enough environment that any Joe Schmo who's putting the time in and has the capability can go out and compete and then go back to work and not look like they just got mangled by, you know, optimist prime-
Jeff: Yeah, you don't want to be punching your ticket when you're an amateur.
Josh Barnett: Bad Bear the 30 weight. Yeah, so Vic, I just said, "No, you're gonna fight pro." You can heel hook people and do this and do that, and he's going, "Okay." So I turned him pro, and the first guy I get him a match with has ... I think the guy had like five MMA fights, but he had like 20 kickboxing matches and Vic's just like, "What?" I go, "Don't worry about it. I got you." And Vic TKOs home or submits him, choke. Then the next guy he fights has more fights in him again, and he knocks him out with a high kick. And we just keep going and going and going. You know, I've taken him to Japan, he's one of two people to ever submit for . He's defeated 50 fight veteran Hideo Tokoro by knockout. He had a great performance and really gave Shintaro Ishiwatari in Pancrase a real run for his money for the King of Pancrase and lost by decision. I mean, it was a really close fight. So you know, I've taken him to a 13 and 4 record so far.
Jeff: Wow, that's awesome.
Josh Barnett: And we're trying to get over that hump and get to the big opportunities here.
Jeff: What are the big opportunities?
Josh Barnett: The ones with all the money.
Josh Barnett: It's mainly that.
Jeff: It's a stupid question, sorry. I wanted to go back a little bit. Speaking on the sport itself, you know, it's become so much more popular and so much more better ... is the way I can say it ... but more more involved.
Josh Barnett: People are far more skilled and far more knowledgeable.
Jeff: Yeah. And kind of touching back on what you were saying, though, one of the scariest things that I see as, you know, just an outsider in the sport is weight cutting.
Josh Barnett: Yeah.
Jeff: I think that is terribly detrimental to not only the sport but the people involved in the sport as well. Do you think, as someone how really believes as well, do you think there's something that can be done? Can be changed?
Josh Barnett: Oh, sure. ONE FC has like a hydration test system that they do. [crosstalk]. The California State Athletic Commission is tracking people's weights from weigh in to fight day, and then judging based on that, deciding like, Oh, well, we're gonna say you shouldn't be fighting featherweight anymore because you showed up at like 170 in the ring.
Josh Barnett: So either you're cutting way too much weight and you shouldn't be in that weight class. Things like that are definitely a step in the right direction.
Josh Barnett: I know some people say, Oh, day of weigh ins people will just get hurt more. I go, then that's just what's gonna happen for a bit, because until it becomes a detriment for people to do something, they're just gonna keep doing it.
Josh Barnett: So 'cause these fighters are trying to find any way they can to get an edge to win. You won't understand it until you're in that kind of high pressure situation where it's almost win at all costs at all times. And it's knowing that you have a limited window to even work in that environment, right? It's not like, Well, if I don't win this big case today I'm not gonna be a lawyer anymore.
Jeff: That's a good point. Lawyers should start fighting each other.
Josh Barnett: Yeah.
Josh Barnett: I really do, if lawyers ... What is it, Thucydides said that when you separate your warriors from your scholars you'll be a .... you will be ... your soldiers will be ... no, your soldiers will be cowards ... will be ruled by fools and defended by cowards or something like that.
Jeff: That's nice, yeah, that's a good one. Is there a reason why you have taken on a lot of smaller fighters? Being a bigger guy in the heavyweight-
Josh Barnett: I want to feel like I'm a much bigger person than I really am. I also have inordinately small glasses so I feel like a giant at home when I drink stuff. "Oh," you know.
Jeff: That's a good answer, I like that, I like that.
Josh Barnett: Yeah, I think MMA if any ... with how everybody is so much more skilled, there's the gyms, and the process of being an MMA fighter is so much more streamlined and structured, and the fighters are so much more game ready. It's like they understand the system that they're gonna compete in to such a degree that there's a lot of builtin gaming of that system towards what a person might feel is the best tactical approach to getting your wins.
Any competition, any system always has that ... is always gonna get gamed. You start playing Monopoly, you start figuring out, Well, this isn't against the rules, but it's a benefit in my ... So with the 10 point must system and the five minute rounds, you can see people actively just trying to out strike each other for a bit and then score a few take downs. Then even if they're on top, they don't ... they don't need to do damage.
So to be honest, in my opinion for MMA to really take it to the next level now, one, they need longer rounds. Five minutes is just not enough time at the high pro level for these guys to get much things going. You know, all of a sudden there's a bit of back and forth, even kickboxing, and then a take down happens, and that's it. There's no more damage done. It's just a take down and then so a judge will go, Oh, ten to nine. They go, Oh, okay, and then all of a sudden that was the deciding factor in a fight. And that's not interesting, I think, for your fans to watch after you've seen a hundred of these things. So I would say a 10 minute round at the very least.
Dustin: So like the old school PRIDE style?
Josh Barnett: Yeah, more like that. A 10 minute first with two minute break. The other thing is, there at the very least need to be knees to the head of a grounded opponent to keep things moving and more active.
Josh Barnett: We need to get rid of the 12 to six elbow rule.
Dustin: That's silly.
Josh Barnett: It makes absolutely no sense. This is illegal, but if I lay straight on my back and do it ... Like, it's the same elbow. It's moving in the same direction.
Dustin: It's ridiculous.
Josh Barnett: I don't understand how that's a problem. The other thing is I think that getting rid of the 10 point must system and going to a total overall fight judgment would be a better plan as well.
Dustin: Do you ever see that happening?
Josh Barnett: I don't. I think that with the ABC and other things from boxing related combat sport foundations, they're never gonna get rid of that. To them, that's the way to go. They don't really know how to do anything else different, and so ... I mean, hard to say when you've got people getting paid on the regular to just keep things the way they are not create any difficulty. Right? I mean, what's their incentive?
Dustin: What if we see somebody like ONE FC pick up a different system, and then it catches on, and then-
Josh Barnett: I don't know if ONE FC uses a 10 point must system, but I'm ignorant on that.
Dustin: Yeah, I don't know myself.
Josh Barnett: But Rizin does not use a 10 point system.
Dustin: Oh, nice. Yeah, okay. That's cool. What do you think about soccer kicks to the head?
Josh Barnett: I'm 100% for them and stomps, too. But I said at the least knees to the head of a grounded opponent are a necessity to keep everything moving and to keep this thing flowing.
Dustin: And it makes it realistic, because if you're in a fight, you're on the ground, somebody's on top of you, they're gonna knee you in the fucking head.
Josh Barnett: 100%
Dustin: That's what's gonna happen.
Josh Barnett: I know I am.
Jeff: I think something has to give with the sport because there's so many more eyes on it. It's so much more of a popularity contest at this point [crosstalk]-
Dustin: And I think we're at a plateau with it now, too.
Jeff: That's what I mean.
Josh Barnett: It's oversaturated.
Josh Barnett: And it's not just that it's oversaturated. It's the same product over and over and-
Jeff: ... over again, yeah.
Josh Barnett: So it needs to ... It's not that changing these things is gonna make it a different produce, per se, it's still fighting, it's still MMA, but the idea is creating the ... What you want to hope for is that you can create the most dynamic environment that keeps things from being gamed into a straight linear path too much. And then the only other way to work with that is to make sure to have really qualified judges and referees that can continue to apply things with the correct spirit of intent and keep things moving and streamlining. That way when someone figures out a way to, say, stall something out and kill ...
Like there's fighters that will get a bit of an advantage on a scorecard and then what they do is they kill the rest of the fight. They just basically make it like, "I'll land 10 shots and then I'll just do my damnedest to make sure you only land two." It's like, oh, that fucking sucks. That is not what anybody wants to see. You're not really trying to fucking beat this person. You're not trying to win a fight, you're trying to win a contest-
Jeff: They're trying to put a cheat code in.
Josh Barnett: And you're trying to just get these guys and gals on the outside in their blazers to go, "Oh, well, I mean, if that's all we have to go off of then that's what we're gonna go with." And technically they're not stalling, they're not cheating, they're not breaking the rules, they're not ... No, dude, you're trying to make it mostly a non fight that you have just a little bit more of. I mean, that's ... it's a robbery to anybody who pays $70, $80 to go sit in the fans and watch people give it their all. I'm not even talking about just wanting to see people get fucking railroaded and wrecked. I mean-
Jeff: They want a good fight. They want to be entertained.
Josh Barnett: And you want to see people being able to bring out and let loose, unleash their absolute best self with their best abilities. That's what it comes down to.
Jeff: Yeah. I don't know. I truly believe something has to give.
Dustin: I think, you know, we're just starting to see a lot of stuff out there. We're starting to see bizarre stuff like bare knuckle MMA fighting-
Josh Barnett: Bare knuckle boxing, yeah, going back to the ... Maybe there'll be bare knuckle in the MMA again, I'm down for that. I don't have a problem with it.
Dustin: I just think we see a lot more-
Jeff: Blood sport.
Josh Barnett: Try to survive, [singing]. Yeah.
Jeff: Oh, I can't wait for it. We're gonna make it happen, I'm telling you.
Dustin: So when's your next martial arts movie coming out?
Josh Barnett: You know, I don't know at this moment. I've been so busy with all the commentary work with Jim Ross for New Japan Pro-Wrestling. I'm doing the live shows and doing the action in the studio for Access TV every Friday at 8:00. That's kept me super busy, the team's kept me super busy, car projects, that always keeps me busy when I can find the time.
Dustin: What did you drive here?
Josh Barnett: I usually drive a 2009 SRTA Dodge Challenger, six speed.
Dustin: The Challenger, yeah, nice.
Josh Barnett: But I have a '75 Firebird Formula that's-
Dustin: That's Jeff's car.
Dustin: We were eyeballing one on the street.
Josh Barnett: It's coming along. Hotchkiss has done some incredible work on it. People like MagnaFlow and Wilwood Brakes are behind it. But I need to get some little things done here and there, and I need to get paint and body done. But it's just a matter of time, you know? It's the car's in solid shape, it's just a little of this, little of that. Find the time to get it done. And then let alone if I've got my own time to sit there and work on it, I mean that seems like nothing that's possible. The only amount of time I could get is just enough time to get right into the middle of something and then just laeve it completely. You know, that's as far as I can get.
Josh Barnett: But yeah, there's car projects and hopefully some time next year I'll find some time to get back in the room and actually get back on film. I do really like acting. It's a blast. I'm such a fan of movies of all eras.
Jeff: As a curiosity question, what do you like the most about acting?
Josh Barnett: I like that you get to be a part of this story, this whole process, and that at the end of it all you can see this other world, this creation, that everybody came together and made and see it unfold in front of you. And even when you're doing it and you're doing these different stunts and shooting this scenes like, man, this is fun. You know, this is fun to do this running around, swinging at each other. I've got swords and guns and whatever ... Or being on the set and feeling in this different environment. And then you go and you watch it on screen and see it all come together and you're like, Oh wow.
I mean I'm not even ... I don't know how far the acting thing is gonna go for me, per se. I didn't envision that I would ever be Harrison Ford in "Bladerunner." But if I could be even Brian James ... He's got that whole opening scene. [crosstalk]. It's amazing! He's done "The Fifth Element." You know, God ... he's ... a myriad of films, just tons of them. And the guy worked a lot, and he's been in all these awesome, amazing films. I just ... If I could be that guy, if I could be a super awesome character actor to a degree that can deliver great scenes and have a presence onscreen that people remember and love and be a part of movies like "Bladerunner" or something ... I mean, obviously that's long and gone, but ... I mean, that's my favorite movie of all time, the final cut. You never know when you could be a part of that. You could be in that movie that becomes someone's favorite movie of all time.
Jeff: Well, you've got the look and I think you could play a good heel and you'd probably have no problem playing the bad guy.
Josh Barnett: You know what? I don't think I'd have any issue with that. I could easily do the whole "Game of Thrones" and Viking stuff, any sword and sandals type thing. [crosstalk].
Dustin: Especially [inaudible], right, that's like a no brainer.
Jeff: Of course. I think you have the best mentality for that, because it's something that you love to do, you want to do more of it, and that's the two ingredients for doing it-
Josh Barnett: Raping and pillaging, I know, right?
Dustin: I know, right?
Josh Barnett: Both ingredients.
Jeff: Both ingredients, that's the best. I can't thank you enough for taking time to talk with us here. It was great. This is our first time in LA.
Josh Barnett: You enjoying it?
Dustin: We love it, man.
Jeff: We're enjoying it.
Dustin: We were complaining about how much traffic is not affecting us. Because we hear so much about the LA traffic.
Josh Barnett: Just wait.
Dustin: That's what we keep on thinking-
Jeff: People keep telling us-
Dustin: But we're so used to New York City traffic, which is very stressful, white knuckle, no room between cars.
Jeff: Everybody's nicer here.
Josh Barnett: You're here, you know, on vacation doing your thing. If you lived here day in and day out it would be a different story, but that's always kind of the case. Yeah, but at least with New York, at least in Manhattan, right, you have the subways and all that, which is kind of handy.
Jeff: It is, it is, but a lot of times when we go down for like business and stuff we're in a car.
Dustin: In a car with all of our equipment-
Josh Barnett: Piled into that hellhole that is the New York City streets. [crosstalk]. I love LA, though. [crosstalk]. Let's see, what is it? I think Napalm Death and Cattle Decapitation are playing here soon.
Josh Barnett: There's gonna be some metal over the next couple weeks, so given the opportunity you should find yourself in a pit somewhere.
Dustin: Where's a place to go for metal music in LA?
Josh Barnett: There's a few. The Regent in downtown has been like a hotspot to hosting metal bands. Five Star Bar for smaller shows. The Union, they're kind of all and around. In Orange County you've go the Observatory. In Santa Ana they host a lot of metal stuff. And often if someone plays LA, then they'll go and play Orange County the next day, and vice verse. Brick by Brick in San Diego. What else would be a good LA spot for metal? Well, on Tuesday nights at Footsies in Eagle Rock you've got heavy Tuesday. My friends, they just DJ metal music all night long.
Dustin: Oh, that's awesome.
Jeff: Nice, that's awesome.
Josh Barnett: Pretty badass, that's great. And there's another metal night at a bar in Koreatown, but the name escapes me. I think it's on Mondays. I think it's at the Chacha Lounge every first Wednesday or something. You've got Born for Burning, which is a DJ night.
Jeff: That's excellent.
Josh Barnett: Yeah, so there's all kinds of cool stuff going on.
Dustin: Well, man, thank you so much for having us here. It's an honor to meet you in person and get this interview in person. It was great, man.
Josh Barnett: Well, glad to make face with you guys and to chat with everybody at Fueled by Death.
Jeff: Yeah, damn right.
Josh Barnett: We're all caffeinated here.
Jeff: We're all caffeinated and we're gonna keep you that way.
Dustin: We wouldn't have made it if we weren't, trust me.
Josh Barnett: Well, as a Seattlite, I feel like, you know, my blood is mostly coffee.
Jeff: For sure.
Josh Barnett: Yeah. Thank you so much.
Jeff: Your welcome.
Josh Barnett: Cheers.
Announcer: This has been "Fueled by Death Cast," a Death Wish Coffee Company podcast production. Thanks for listening