Dubliner Dean Barry had been waiting a long time for his UFC debut, only to fall short in controversial circumstances.
The former WAKO Kickboxing champion fought his first professional fight in the Octagon on Saturday night but lost via disqualification to Mike Jackson.
It was a bittersweet debut for Barry, who has endured seven cancelled bouts so far in his professional career, and they're just the ones that have been confirmed.
The Tallaght native first signed a contract with the UFC over two years ago, but a mixture of visa issues and injuries to opponents delayed his UFC introduction.
Dean Barry's Disqualification
Barry had a strong start to the fight, appearing to hurt Jackson with a minute gone in the first round. But moments later, he caught Jackson in the groin with a spinning back kick.
Jackson gave plenty of theatrics as he took time to recover from the blow. He's built up a bit of a reputation for his melodramatics in the UFC.
Lmao he’s hilarious. pic.twitter.com/qjwqh9qqUw
— MS (@UFC_Obsessed) April 23, 2022
His last fight, against wrestler turned MMA fighter CM Punk, was heavily criticised by UFC President Dana White for showboating, with White calling him an 'idiot'.
Former UFC vet Paul Felder was on commentary duties and didn't seem to think he was badly hurt, although he did note it was a clear foul by Barry.
"I'm under the impression that if you can talk this much, get up on your feet. I've been hit in the cup hard in a fight and I can tell you, I wasn't having a chat with the ref about it."
Jackson resumed the fight and a minute later, Barry dropped him and chased a finish. But Jackson hung on until Barry committed another foul with 2 minutes to go in the round.
This time it was a clear eye-poke from the Dubliner and Jackson appeared to be pretty shook from it. Daniel Cormier gave his two cents on the incident.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) April 23, 2022
"Here's the question. Dean Barry was the better fighter to that point, right? But I guess we cannot base our decision on what was happening before the fouls."
"Because it wasn't one, it was three fouls, right? Early they warned Barry let's be careful, make sure we keep them up. Then we had the low blow. There were multiple fouls."
Jackson opted not to fight on after the eye-poke and referee Chris Tognoni disqualified the Irishman for the eye-poke, siding with the American in his decision.
Dean Barry posted several times on his Twitter and Instagram account after the fight, apologising to Jackson and his fans after the disappointment.
"Sorry about what happened tonight, it was an unintentional eye-poke," he said in an Instagram post. "I felt very heavy out there, it's not my weight class."
"I'd take the rematch in a heartbeat if they'd give it to me or just let me go back down to weight division and fight. I thought I showed enough out there."
In the same post, Barry believed Jackson 'took the easy way out' but has spoken out since that comment, saying he was 'upset and frustrated' after the fight.
It appears the Dubliner has deactivated his Twitter account for now as he's been the subject of online abuse from MMA fans and those who betted on him.
Barry was a heavy betting favourite heading into the bout, given the fact that Jackson had little MMA experience and had yet to earn a win inside the Octagon.
Despite the abuse, many fans have come out in support of Barry. MMA journalist Amy Kaplan confirmed he's now taking some time away from social media.
"Taking time away from social media. I dominated the fight and had a silly DQ go against me so have no (time) for trolls and horrible comments spending time with my family."
A lot of Irish kicking Dean Barry while he’s down. Leave the man alone Jesus Christ. We’ve all made a mistake or two.
— Shane 🇮🇪 (@ShaneMMAEIRE) April 24, 2022
Has to be an incredibly frustrating night for Dean Barry!
Anyone would sign for the UFC given the opportunity, and it was clear the UFC wanted the Jackson fight for him.
I agree w/ Artem. Get him another fight quickly at 155lbs. He was clearly en route to a win before the DQ https://t.co/DFDLqAHjzl
— Andy Stevenson (@andyste123) April 23, 2022
A lot of fans are hoping he gets a second chance in the UFC at a lower weight class. For more on Dean's backstory, read our interview with him a few months back here.