Insight: get to know Chris Barnett

2017-04-06 21:00

Taekwondo black belt B-boy in a teddy bear suit?! “Huggy Bear” Chris Barnett puts the fun into fighting.




Chris “Huggy Bear” Barnett (15-3, Barnett Taekwondo Academy) will face Myung Hyun-Man at Xiaomi ROAD FC 038 on April 15, 2017. Ahead of the match, he shared his Taekwondo background, his positive message, and what it means to fight much taller opponents regularly.

The American heavyweight is a rare ray of bubbling sunshine in what can be the harsh and intense environment of MMA. “Beast Boy”, or “Huggy Bear” as he's most recently come to be known, walks out to extremely happy music in a great big teddy bear suit. It seems very out of place, but Barnett aims to break the stereotype of the fighter to his fans, family, and friends.

“I've got a boy and a girl, and they know I fight and they love it. But my mom still won't watch my fights.  So I want to break the stereotype of the fighter. That's why I dance on the way out to the cage. I want everybody to have fun.”

Barnett's children may not be ready for the cage quite yet, but they do have a head start already. Aside from recently being Alistair Overeem's training partner, Huggy Bear runs his own martial arts school, the Barnett Taekwondo Academy.  And he comes from a long line of Taekwondo black belts in his family.

“I use lots of different styles, but I will always go back to Taekwondo. I started when I was just 4 years old. And now, my little girl is taking Taekwondo!”






For a heavyweight fighter, Taekwondo isn't exactly a base you would think of as natural. However, Barnett has shown a lot of success with it. He's been one of the most athletic heavyweights ever seen (just check out one of his B-boy videos here!), and always brings his A-game. Barnett has a 90% knockout rate!

“My base is Taekwondo and also wrestling, but even now, my favorite techniques are still all kinds of spinning attacks. Tornado kicks, backfists, you name it, I'll throw it.”

Barnett has shown people that his wrestling is top notch as well, he's got great balance and uses his low center and massive frame to smother his opponents. He has never been finished, not on the ground and not standing.

In the beginning of his MMA career, he knocked out Johnathan Ivey and Kenny Garner, and retired Mario Rinaldi. Later, he continued with big KOs over Travis Wiuff and Emil Zahariev – both in IGF – which made him an instant hit in Japan. Barnett faced famous prowrestler Shinichi Suzukawa and beat him twice, went the distance against one of Europe's best heavyweights Oli Thompson, and lost a contentious split decision versus Kirill Sidelnikov in the first Rizin.




Barnett's surprise when people see him fight live, is that he is not a tall heavyweight. At just 5'9”, he tweeted once before weigh ins, “I'm the tallest width wise!” Since he's stood up to the usually towering men in his division, he's proved that nothing will break his confidence. Not even his next opponent, Myung Hyun-Man, a Muay Thai fighter who is 6'3”.

“Sure he's tall, but everybody I fight is tall. I just hope he has a good and healthy camp. I can't wait to put on a show!”

And a show is what the fans are going to get at ROAD FC 038. From his hilarious and mood lightening entrance, to his all-out style in the cage, fans are definitely in for a treat when Huggy Bear makes his next performance. Perhaps there will be another career in front of a camera for the entertaining heavyweight in the future?

“I would like to act one day. But right now I want to fight. I'll fight anybody. Since my first fight, I was set up to lose, against a guy with over 80 fights. Guess what, I won, and I keep on winning. It means everything that my fans keep supporting me!”









ROAD FC announces global expansion into CHINA with 360GAME ROAD FC 027 on 26December
  ROAD FC global expansion into China with 360GAME ROAD FC 027 in Shanghai on 26 December, 2015  9 October, 2015 - ROAD FC announces global expansion into China with 360GAME presents ROAD FC 027 in Shanghai on 26 December, 2015.   During the official weigh in event on 8 October for 360GAME ROAD FC 026, ROAD FC CEO Jung Moon-Hong made the announcement that ROAD FC will be expanding operations into China.  ROAD Fighting Championship is South Korea's premier MMA organization which has held twenty-eight events since it was founded in 2011. After setting a bench mark of one event almost every month in 2014, ROAD FC embarked on a global expansion plan and held its first ever international event in Tokyo, Japan in 2015. This year will also witness more dramatic growth as ROAD FC will host its first show in China, in the metropolis of Shanghai, on 26 December. ROAD FC is currently negotiating a venue with a capacity of 18,000. 360GAME ROAD FC 027 will be broadcast live in China and internationally across multiple platforms, which ROAD FC CEO Jung revealed included: “China's State-owned broadcaster CCTV, local terrestrial broadcasters, and the internet portal of Tencent, we are scheduled to broadcast.”  Tencent is Asia's largest internet company and competes with the largest internet companies in the world.  Tencent's internet portal is one of the largest in China. ROAD FC's live broadcast in China on QQ will begin immediately with 360GAME ROAD FC 026 on 9 October. Event: "360GAME" presents ROAD Fighting Championship 026 Date: Friday, 9 October, 2015Place: Jangchung Gymnasium, Seoul, South KoreaMain event live at 20:00KSTLive PPV stream on at stream on Tencent at  Global expansion next event: Event: "360GAME" presents ROAD Fighting Championship 027 Date: Saturday, 26 December, 2015Place: Shanghai, China