Rose Namajunas och Pat Barry

Pat Barry möter kritiken mot Rose Namajunas hörna efter förlusten

Elin Sundqvist

Pat Barry som är både coach och pojkvän till Rose Namajunas fick tung kritik efter förlusten mot Carla Esparza under UFC 274. Nu förklarar han var som gick fel med den perfekta matchplanen.

Barry var en av huvudcoacherna och stod i Namajunas hörna under titelmatchen på UFC 274, där ’Thug Rose’ förlorade sin stråviktstitel mot Carla Esparza. Barry, som också är Roses man, reflekterade över prestationen och tillika besvikelsen i onsdagens avsnitt av The MMA Hour med Ariel Helwani. Matchplanen var att locka Esparza att attackera, och kontra när hon väl gjorde det. Och i Barrys ögon skulle den matchplanen varit effektiv om inte andra omständigheter kommit i vägen när Namajunas väl försökte ta hem spelet. Citaten är transkriberade av MMA Fighting.

If you make mistakes at this level, the consequences are pretty heavy. The consequences are pretty heavy, man. So we went into this fight with a strategy. We have Carla memorized, man. We know everything that she’s going to do before she does it. We know what it looks like, we know when to avoid, when to attack. This is a strategic, perfect game plan. And just so everyone knows, we went in there for the win. The plan was to win the fight. The plan was to do this thing in particular, and if you do this thing, people are going to start booing — they are going to start booing — but that’s only because they don’t know what’s going on. And when they do start booing, Carla is going to open up — and when she does, bam, there it is. That’s the game.

Barry menar att canvasen är för hal

Kärlek och kritik mot UFC blandas när Barry adresserar vad han tror var avgörande för att det planerade kontringsspelet inte lyckades. Men Berry nämner också den mentala aspekten, och hintar om en tro på högre makter som påverkade vilka förutsättningar som gavs.

In the fight, [Namajunas] did everything perfect, bro. Perfect. I love the UFC and I’ve loved everything that UFC does for everyone, and I love it, I love the organization. But I will say, in the fight, there’s three moments — but there’s two in particular — where bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, here it comes, this is the time, and when Rose went to throw the punch, her foot slipped. And I saw that. I saw it. I saw her foot slide. And when it did, I know my head went crazy. … And when the opportunity for that one thing that we trained for came again and she went — foot slipped a second time

I love UFC and everything they do, but this is, out of all the fights I’ve ever had, even back in my career, this is the slipperiest canvas you can ever fight on. Which, at that moment, when she had the opening for the kill, the second time, when she went for it and that foot slipped, I had a moment of clarity, man. I don’t know. Just all of a sudden I went from this crazy [demeanor] to completely just calm. Apparently, the world is trying to make this very difficult for you. Apparently, something is going on. Because of course Rose and her spirituality, and we look at things so I have to think a certain way because she thinks a certain way — something is trying to stop you from winning this fight.

Kanske har Barry en poäng när han berör den mentala inställningen, och kanske är det den som skiljer agnarna från vetet. Flugviktsmästarinnan Valentina Shevchenko pratade också hon nyligen i en intervju om det mentala spelet i fighting, men hade en något annorlunda inställning. När Valentina pratar om att eventuellt möta Juliana Pena och Amanda Nunes, så är det den psykiska aspekten hon värdesätter högst hos sig själv:

It’s a mental game for all fighters. We know exactly Amanda doesn’t have this mental game very strong in her previous fight. We can see that everyone can break their mental game, but I have a very strong mental game.

När kontringsförsöken misslyckades blev matchplanen viktigare

Matchen fram tills att Namajunas halkade en andra gång hade varit relativt händelselös. Men Barry menar att de båda tillfällena helt enkelt förstärkte Berry och Namajunas tro på vikten av att hålla sig till matchplanen. Istället för att bli avskräckta av de misslyckade försöken, ville de inte riskera att göra något i frustration som riskerade att försämra matchbilden.

As a coach, yes, we’re there to win fights. But we’re really there for longevity and happiness. That’s what my job is, man. Not only am I a coach, but as a partner, fiancé, whatever you want to label me as, that’s my job, is to make sure that Rose is happy, healthy, and safe for the rest of her life. So in that moment, I felt, ‘You know what? This is one of those scenarios where now that you’ve seen it twice and you’ve missed it twice, this is exactly the type of thing that’s supposed to throw you off your game and make you come out of your strategy. And when you do come out of your strategy and you really go for it, you might accidentally slip and throw yourself on the ground, and now you fell on the ground because you did something you weren’t supposed to do.’

Now she’s on top of you and she’s got you in a scenario where you don’t want to be, and now you’ve got to battle yourself and you’ve got to battle Carla. And Carla is a two-time UFC world champion, which means she’s one of the best fighters on the planet.

Barrys resonemang stämmer ganska väl överens med Esparzas analys av matchen, då Esparza trodde att bland annat rädslan för nedtagningar förhindrade Namajunas att försöka kapitalisera i fighten.

Barry var rädd för att Namajunas skulle tappa fokus, och menar att vi sett det för

Barry refererade till Namajunas match mot Jessica Andrade för att göra exempel av vad som kan hända om Rose tappar fokus. Rose blev illa tilltygad i båda matcherna, i synnerhet genom den brutala slamen i andra ronden mot Andrade under UFC 273 som avslutade Namajunas första era som mästarinna.

Teamets mål For UFC 274 var att säkerställa att samma avbrott i fokus inte skulle kunna påverka fighten mot Esparza. De förväntade sig bara aldrig att hon skulle genomföra matchplanen för bra.

Every time the camera goes into Carla’s corner in between rounds, you can hear her coach Colin Oyama saying exactly what they were expecting: ‘Any minute now, she’s going to break. Any minute now, Rose is about to do that thing. And she when she does it, you know what to do.’ They were waiting. She waited for Rose to do that thing that Rose does, and she was going to take advantage of it. They were waiting for that, and we knew that. We knew. This isn’t the moment where you flip out and start doing whatever it is that you want to do, because you might find yourself in a bad spot. You have to have control.

Now, where I blew it is all of the training to have control, all of the training that I did, all of the training that we put together, to stay in control of your emotions, stay in control of yourself — we never once went over how to come out of that. Because at the end of Round 4, myself, when I got in the ring, and people are going to have comments always, when I got in the ring, I pretty much said, ‘Hey man, I think we’re up 4-0. You can feel free to kind of let go a little bit now and freestyle.’ … That was the whole training camp, is not to [freestyle]. The whole training camp was not to do that, expecting her to do it.

So now we get into the ring, we get into the fight, it’s about to start Round 5 and we’re pretty much saying, ‘Hey, we’ve seen what we need to see. We know where you are and what you’re capable of. You can open up now.’ And it was almost as if you could see Rose go, ‘Ah, ah, no, no, no. No, you’re trying to trick me.’ We’re not. She was so prepared to stick to the game plan that she actually stuck to the game plan when we were telling her, ‘Alright, you can ditch it and go to something else now.’ She stuck to it. She stayed completely disciplined. She stayed completely disciplined the entire time, and so did Carla.

Barry om kritiken mot honom personligen

Mycket av kritiken dagarna som följde har inte bara riktats mot Rose själv, utan även mot Barry och i mindre utsträckning Trevor Wittman (Namajunas coach). Vissa kritiker har ställt sig frågan om Namajunas skulle klarat sig bättre med Wittman mer aktiv, och Barry nedtonad. Men Barry sade på onsdagen att varken han eller någon annan i teamet engagerar sig i kritiken.

It’s fine. I’m fine with [what] the world thinks of me, no matter what. Like, no matter what it’s my fault, right? ‘Pat, you shouldn’t be talking. You shouldn’t be nothing.’ I’m the closest person to her. I know what I’m looking at more than anyone else. I know what I’m looking at when I see — I know what I see when she’s in there, more than anybody. More than more than anybody, man. I’m 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like, I know what it is that I’m looking at. I know what it is that I feel. I know pretty much where Rose is at any point in time, based on her facial expression. People are going to say that, but those are the same people that I have to ask, like, what if Rose would’ve jumped in the air and started doing spin kicks and gotten taken down and crucifixed and elbowed in the face. Now what?

That’s why what the world says about Pat doesn’t matter to Pat. It doesn’t matter to Rose and that’s why it doesn’t matter to Pat. If it mattered to her, if it bothered her, what the world said, then that would probably be a thing. But it doesn’t.

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