Chris Barnett discusses UFC 279’s cheek injury and weight issues


UFC 279 commentators zeroed in on the appearance of Chris Barnett’s face during his prelim fight with Jake Collier, expressing concern for what appeared to be a serious injury.

There was talk of nerve damage or a stroke. It wasn’t nearly that serious, though it certainly wasn’t fun for Barnett, who survived early trouble to make highlight reels with his trademark flip celebration.

“Jake had caught me in my [cheek], and literally a chunk of my [cheek] from the inside was just dangling in my mouth,” Barnett explained on The MMA Hour. “That’s what was going on with the left side of my face.

” I couldn’t even bite it. It was almost like trying to cut steak with a butter knife, keeping the mouthpiece in. I guess I bit down on one of those punches and bit a chunk there.”

The injury was healed almost as quickly as it first appeared.

“I couldn’t even show you the piece – you’d be like, ‘Yeah, whatever, you had a stroke,'” Barnett joked.

For Barnett it was yet another obstacle to conquer in another difficult fight week. At UFC 279, he became the second-ever UFC heavyweight unable to make the 266-pound limit for a non-title fight. Although he admitted that he was heavier than normal for his fight week, a doctor who oversaw the weight cutting process ensured that he did not gain weight.

According to Barnett, the trouble started when he was examined by a doctor enlisted for pre-fight physicals. He said the doctor took one look at his standing heart rate and immediately sounded the alarm. When he protested that when he “ties his shoes wrong,” his heart rate soars, an argument broke out between he, his coach and the doctor.

Barnett said he was still sweating when he moved from the UFC Performance Institute, where he was finishing his cut, to the UFC APEX where the official weigh-ins were taking place. When his weight cut was halted, he had 1. 5 pounds left to go, but the doc wasn’t budging.

“[He said], “If I was to allow you to cut this pound and-a-half I would be damning you to win tomorrow,” Barnett stated. I was thinking, “Jesus. Whoa. Hang on, man. ?'”

Is this serious?

“His favourite line was “I’ve done this since the Gracies.” And I was like: “Clearly, I can’t say anything but that .'”


Barnett lost weight, and he was forced to hand over 20 percent to Collier. But that wasn’t the only hiccup getting to the octagon. Five days before the event, he “totaled” his car in an accident.

“I said this to management, I was like, ‘You all better not say anything – I’m fine,'” Barnett said. They’re asking me if I’m sure. After the events at camp before, there was a chance that a plane would have struck me. So, I said, “Ah, they’re fine, let’s move .'”


As Barnett revealed before UFC 279, he faced a tragic situation when his wife was hospitalized while suffering from encephalitis before his fight at UFC Vegas 51. He refused to quit and continued training, but he lost a technical decision. His wife died in May after a two-month battle with the disease.

When Barnett rallied against Collier for a second-round TKO stoppage, his joy was uncontainable. He flipped on his back onto the canvas just like he did following a highlight-reel knockout by Gian Villante in UFC 268,. This delighted the T-Mobile Arena crowd in Las Vegas.

As painful as this might seem, Barnett stated that the flip does not do nearly enough damage to his body in fights.

“The cage is not concrete,” he said. It’s grass. It’s cushioned. It’s cushioned. I have seen people fall from the slam, and that shows how powerful these men are. It’s not difficult to get into the cage, plus I have a donkey here. Look, there’s a Megan Thee Stallion in my backyard.

“I have a move called ‘spank the baby’ that I used to do at the swimming pool, where I would jump up, land on my butt, and do a flip into the pool off of my butt into the water. I’ve been getting whippings – we’re good back there. Cast iron

The same could be said about Barnett’s resilience outside the cage.