by FIGHT! contributor Rhett Butler
Pat Barry didn’t always dislike K-1 icon Ernesto Hoost. In fact, “Mr. Perfect” was Barry’s hero.
Growing up in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans, Louisiana, Barry was wowed by Hoost’s devastating, lightning-quick strikes. When the nascent kickboxer was offered the chance to travel to Holland and train under Hooser in the legendary VAS Gym, he couldn’t believe his good fortune.
“I turned pro and had a few professional fights against guys that I absolutely shouldn’t have been able to beat and was walking through guys easily like it was nothing. But it was scary I had found a calling of something that I was just great at. I was turning into a real live ninja and like I said I was just eating people alive,” said Barry. “Then one day a guy who is still a great friend of mine until now, saw what I was capable of doing and asked if I wanted to go to Amsterdam, he would sponsor me to go train with Ernesto Hoost himself! I told him, yeah I would love to do that and that’s when I totally made the decision that this is 100% what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.”
After battling in the U.S. tournament circuit, Barry began to do battle on various continents eventually making it to kickboxing’s biggest stage, K-1.
“When it comes to kickboxing there’s nothing bigger or better than K-1. It’s the Super Bowl of kickboxing and I worked my way up to getting there pretty quickly,” Barry said. The fighter spent five years training in Amsterdam and built a 5-5-1 record in K-1 but never felt the warmth or support he needed from Hoost.
“He’s a very negative guy he seemed as if he was always against me and five years of being in Amsterdam with him it just seemed like he wasn’t picking up on that. It’s like look man I don’t work this way, I don’t work with negative reinforcement,” Barry said. “He was not willing to change that or to alter anything, so I left.”
Barry not only left VAS, he left K-1, moving on to the World Combat League, where he racked up a record of 3-1 in 2008, while simultaneously launching a career in MMA while training under Duke Roufus in Milwaukee, Wisc. Now with two Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts under his belt, the heavyweight is preparing to face Hoost protégé and former VAS teammate, Antoni Hardonk at UFC 104.
“Antoni and I are friends,” Barry said. “people don’t know that. I trained with this guy for like 4 or 5 years straight. He’s a great guy, he’s like one of my closest friends in Amsterdam but it’s Ernesto who I have a problem with. It’s Ernesto and I who that have a beef and its an absurd little kid beef, I don’t even know what the problem, is. Dude just didn’t give a f*** about me, he didn’t care man. I was like hey, I’m leaving man and he was like, ‘so.’ I was like wow after five years and all you say is, ‘so,’ you don’t give a s*** about me at all man. That’s a good thing, if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now, if it weren’t for him I would not be at where I’m at now, man.”
That little kid beef will be settled by grown men on Oct. 24, when Hardonk and Barry square off.
“This is not just a fight this is not just a fight between me and Antoni, no, no, no, no,” said Barry. “This is a fight between me and Duke (Roufus) versus Antoni and Ernesto (Hoost), I like to look at it like that.”
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