SAN JOSE, Calif. – Josh Barnett (31-6 MMA, 2-1 SF) immediately went to the hospital after a grueling five-round fight that saw Daniel Cormier (10-0 MMA, 7-0 SF) earn a unanimous-decision victory to win the Strikeforce world heavyweight grand prix.
Barnett broke his left hand in the first round of the fight and had it set in a splint by a doctor, who said it was not a "spiral" break, manager Leland LaBarre told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) early Sunday morning.
An orthopedist now will determine the extent of the damage, after which the fighter and his rep will decide what's next.
Barnett revealed the injury in his post-fight speech while praising Cormier's performance, which aired on Showtime as part of "Strikeforce: Heavyweight Grand Prix Final" from HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. LaBarre said his corner was unaware of it during the fight.
Asked whether a UFC crossover was possible – Cormier and Barnett are the sole heavyweights listed on the current Strikeforce roster – LaBarre said, "Due to extenuating circumstances, anything's possible." But he declined to reveal whether Barnett's contract allowed for a move.
"Per his contract, I think that [Strikeforce parent Zuffa] would happily find an opponent that makes the most sense," he said.
Barnett was in good spirits during his visit to the hospital, LaBarre said, and did not require a CT scan despite punishment that included a head kick and punches that left him woozy in the third round.
Two judges had Cormier winning a clean sweep on the scorecards, 50-45, while one saw it 49-46 for the Olympian.
Cormier also suffered a broken right hand during the fight and is expected to undergo corrective surgery.
LaBarre said a timetable for Barnett's recovery would be premature until the fighter sees a hand specialist. He said there was damage to a bone below the index finger but was unsure of other damage.
The loss snapped an eight-fight win streak for Barnett that stretched more than three years.