Strikeforce officials are probably hoping that both Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva win their respective semifinal round matches in the grand prix tournament Saturday night.
That’s based solely on the amount of trash talk that the two have exchanged over the past week, despite not facing each other.
Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov takes place on Showtime beginning at 10:30 p.m. (E/T) Saturday with the two semis in the tournament. Barnett takes on Sergei Kharitonov in the main event, while Silva contends with Daniel Cormier – who replaced Alistair Overeem in the field.
Barnett, who has an extensive background in professional wrestling, is one of the most unique talkers MMA has to offer. That is why it is of no surprise that he has provided plenty of sound bites.
Silva, though, isn’t backing down through the media, as the man known as “Bigfoot” is giving it right back to “The Warmaster.”
“In the beginning I found him to be an anti-social guy,” Silva said through a translator. “I talk to everybody, shake everybody’s hand, and he wasn’t like that. After I commented on that, he moved into commenting on my condition, and that’s not something he should do.”
Barnett responded as only he can.
“I didn’t know gigantism made you so sensitive,” he said.
Barnett tried to explain just how the problems between the two grew.
“What it came down to was, he didn’t know me enough to know whether I was friendly or unfriendly, and he just started going off,” Barnett said, tracing the beef to a post-fight press conference after the opening round of the tournament in New Jersey earlier this year. “Ten minutes before he got to the podium I was talking about how much he’d improved as a fighter and how tough he was, so on and so forth.”
“Then the next day I read the internet news and I’m going, ‘What?’ He was saying I hate Brazilians, saying I’m a jerk, saying all sorts of stuff when he doesn’t know me. But hey, I’m one to mess with somebody, so I said, sorry I’m not trying to be your best friend.”
Barnett has predicted that Silva will lose to Cormier, saying the better wrestler will take their contest. “Bigfoot” cites that has Barnett being scared to face him, even though he feels like Barnett will advance.
“I could go on about this,” Barnett said. “I don’t care about fighting him or anybody. Already I’ve given him too much press.”
Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov is set for Saturday night. FightLine.com will have you covered throughout the day with up-to-the-minute live reports, including ongoing coverage of the event.