Interview with Connor Barry above
Connor Barry’s 6-3 professional record is far from his entire story.
He fought most of his amateur career with no gym affiliations. As a professional, Barry suffered two controversial losses, one ending in a disqualification. The other was stopped in the third-round by TKO after previously going through two close rounds.
On top of that, the 25-year-old last fought 16 months ago. A long lasting shoulder injury required surgery and his recovery took longer than expected. The latest obstacle is the COVID-19 pandemic. Recovered from his injury and ready to return to action, Barry is waiting for regional promotions to come back from the pandemic.
The pandemic is a new type of adversity, but the 25-year-old has already seen a lot.
“I’m glad I’ve faced so much earlier on, honestly,” Barry said.
“This is a sport, there’s going to be bu** s*** decisions, there’s going to be judges’ decisions that are going to be bu** s***, there’s going to be referees that make bad calls. I’m used to it, I’m not getting frustrated by it.”
“I was lying to myself”
Nothing was given to the Massachusetts native.
Despite training in a friend’s basement with little to no wrestling experience, Barry earned a 6-1 amateur record. It was around then when Chris Piscione of Team Flo welcomed Barry to his gym when no one else would.
Barry started training there two times a day, everyday. Since the gym was located in Lowell, he even skipped some of his college courses at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Before meeting Piscione, Barry continued to train, but struggled with drugs and alcohol. There were days Barry recalls when he couldn’t tell if he was drunk or not.
Being a fighter is something he pictured since he was 15 years old. It wasn’t till he joined an actual gym that he decided to commit himself completely to the sport.
“I was lying to myself. I kept saying to myself, ‘I’m going to make it any ways and I wasn’t doing the work and at one time I remember it all clicking,” Barry said. “Piscione and Team Flo at the time was only like two minutes from my house, it was great. If I felt like if I wanted to do drugs or drink, whatever, I would just go to the gym, train, hang out with my friends, it would be a nice social environment.”
While still rolling at Team Flo, Barry started training with Shawn Graham at FAF in Holbrook. Now, Barry splits time between those gyms, but calls Defensive Edge MMA his second home.
Barry’s professional career started out three-consecutive victories before suffering his first defeat. One loss turned into two after he was disqualified for an illegal elbow against Taylor Trahan at Combat Zone 64 in November 2017.
He rallied with back-to-back wins, including a first-round arm bar victory over now-UFC lightweight Peter Barrett at Cage Titans 39 in June 2018.
His win streak came to a halt with another controversial loss to “The Ultimate Fighter” season 27 runner-up Joe Giannetti at Cage Titans 42 in January 2019 . Barry and Giannetti went back-and-forth in the first two rounds before Giannetti caught Barry in a triangle during the third.
He defended the triangle for over a minute when Giannetti decided to throw strikes from his back to the top of Barry’s head. Barry appeared to be slipping his head out when the referee called the fight.
It’s a stoppage that still frustrates Barry to this day.
“If you’re in a triangle for two minutes and you haven’t been put out yet in the triangle,” Barry said. “I don’t think I have ever really been beat, beat, that I can say like, ‘Oh man, I just got f***ing smoked.”
“Little road block”
Barry most recently earned a first-round TKO against Jesus Cintron at AMMO Fight League 6 in March 2019. He still can’t help but think if his two most recent losses went the other way.
Barry could be sitting at five-straight wins, including two victories over UFC veterans.
Barry said., “I would have thought if those two went a little bit differently, I would probably be right where I want to be right now, either with a contender fight coming up, the UFC, something a little bit bigger than the stage I’m at right now.”
Barry’s shoulder injury is something he dealt with for quite some time. It stemmed from years of ware and tear.
He even said his shoulder would dislocate 30 to 40 times a day at one point.
After the surgery, Barry anticipated a six-month recovery. Instead, it took him almost a year to recover. He booked a fight with Rocky Long at AMMO Fight League 8 this past March, but the event was canceled the day of the fight due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve been out of the game a bit longer than I was hoping to,” Barry said. “Everyday we still think about it, it’s still my goal, so it’s just a little road block I guess.”
“Bad blood fight”
Barry is hoping to return as soon as possible. He is already receiving a callout from Jim Manning for Cage Titans.
Even a catholic priest asked him to take the fight according to Barry. With Manning having a better record than Barry at 6-1, Barry is willing to give the priest what he asked for.
It might help Barry out too.
“I think it will be a little fun one to do, go in there, have a little bad blood fight,” Barry said. “Hopefully that will get me to where I need to go.”
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.