If you’ve ever been curious how UFC heavyweight Josh Barnett likes to unwind as he gears up for fight week you can already throw out any idea that he’s sitting in a coffee house listening to the latest Arcade Fire record.
Instead, Barnett prefers driving around in a classic muscle car while blasting some very intense heavy metal music at full volume. Since he also lives in Los Angeles, Barnett is privy to some pretty amazing live shows, which often involves heavy guitar riffs and the kind of screaming usually reserved for a horror movie.
As he was preparing for his upcoming bout against Travis Browne at UFC 168, Barnett’s iPod was filled with some new music as well as classic tracks from metal icons Mercyful Fate.
"The new Inquisition album is pretty good. It’s been out a little bit but tons of great riffs in it. The new Red Fang is good stuff. I’ve been listening to a lot of old Mercyful Fate recently, I don’t know why," Barnett told FOX Sports. "Well, I mean besides the fact that it kicks ass. Just been rocking stuff like Come to the Sabbath and Don’t Break the Oath, and Dangerous Meeting that’s a bad ass record."
Don’t be surprised to see Barnett at a local show either, sitting right in the middle of a mosh pit celebrating good music alongside his fellow metal heads. Barnett, who has become friends with some of his favorite bands including Bolt Thrower, who he routinely uses as his walkout music, loves to get mixed up in an old-fashioned mosh pit.
Call it extra curricular training.
"It does happen. Exodus shows, I was in a Between the Buried and Me mosh pit. I actually stage dived for that one," Barnett said. "I’ve been in quite a few All That Remains mosh pits. My biggest thing is no karate in the pit. If you come anywhere near me I’m going to take you out. That’s a given. Otherwise, I’ll circle pit like a champ the whole set long, no problem.
"Sometimes it’s a matter that I don’t think people are pumped up enough and I get agitated so I just start banging into folks and throwing them around."
Now you might think at 6’4" tall and over 250 pounds, Barnett would be the bruiser routinely knocking around all of the smaller concert-goers around him, but that’s rarely the case. Barnett mixes it up with everybody willing to crash into each other for hours on end, and while some might think it’s strange, there’s something therapeutic about a mosh pit and a kinship between all those involved.
"Mosh pits are supposed to be brutal but at the same time there’s like an unspoken brotherhood there among all the metal kids," Barnett explained.
The former UFC champion even took it one step further at a recent show for the band Every Time I Die. The members of the group count Barnett as a fan and a friend, so he’s invited back stage and on stage during their performances, especially when they play in the City of Angels.
At a recent show there was video footage caught of Barnett picking a fan up over his head before launching him like a javelin into a crowd of moshing metal heads. This wasn’t a fan who got a little too exuberant and tried to jump on stage with the band. No, this was a fan that actually asked Barnett â on multiple occasions mind you â to pick him up and toss him back into the crowd like a missile being shot from a cannon.
"It’s a good way to unwind. I was just at an Every Time I Die concert, hanging out with my buddies, having a blast. I picked up this kid and I’m walking around the stage with him in a torture rack and then chucked him off," Barnett said.
"I threw him off the stage the last time they played in town at the Roxy. He asks me to do it so I was like hell yeah. He was like ‘can you do it again?’ and I was like come on up here bud. So he came up on stage and I picked him up, and made sure to walk him around this time. I gave him a little parade. I try to throw him into a nice little pack of people. I chucked him about three rows the last time."
So if you’re ever at your local metal show where a mosh pit breaks out and Josh Barnett is in town don’t be surprised to see him right in the middle of the mix once again earning his nickname of ‘The Warmaster’.