barrettvsandersonThere can form within one person a duality; a fracture of identity where such extremes exist that different personalities are required to keep sanity in check. In this way, one personality can divorce itself from the thoughts and actions of its counterpart, like oil and vinegar sharing the same bottle. While this compartmentalization of life may seem in itself crazy, this is a coping mechanism for people who, by necessity or desire, must exist in two worlds. For most people, this boundary is intangible, brought on by circumstance, but for undefeated professional fighter Peter Barrett, the boundary is very much physical. Three steps, a door, and a wall of chain links that keep Slippery Pete safely away from spectators, and keep his victims within arm’s reach.

“I have a dark side. I deal with impulses all the time.” Peter Barrett shared with me, speaking on the inception of his alter ego.

Unlike the ad nauseam Beast Mode mentality of the average athlete, who gets fired up in the weight room and simmers down before the sweat has even dried on the dumbbells, Barrett’s switch is one easily thrown but having a tendency to get stuck in place, courtesy of some good old-fashioned American practice.

“My friends would joke that you couldn’t compare your partying to mine because I was wired differently. I would always go bigger and harder and longer with everything. Slippery is the side of me that was forged in my party years and has been refined to a cage fighting, bad MFer.”

If Slippery were a plant, being liberally watered during college in Colorado, his roots thirst for whiskey, having been raised Irish Catholic like much of the Boston area. Though his parents divorced when he was young, the split did little but grow a massive family of step brothers and sisters; remaining connected with his father, though living with his mother and two brothers. The Irish have never been known for their easy hand or outward displays of affection, and Peter worked in the family restaurant even as a boy, earning spending money one washed dish, peeled shrimp, or emptied trash can at a time. It’s a work ethic that has carried him far, not just with his meticulous gym routine, but in his day job, working as a buyer for a whole sale company.

It’s a life that Barrett balances well, yet his ability to walk this razor’s edge came from watching his father slip and fall many times in his formative years, costing the elder Barrett nearly everything.

“My dad’s been in and out of rehab since I was in junior high. Thankfully he’s clean now, but it cost him his business, that my grandfather built.”

The best method of learning isn’t necessarily through experience, but through watching others and avoiding those mistakes yourself. With the prospects of frequenting those same bars; having those same issues with the law; brooding over the same regrets, Peter would make the decision to aim higher, attending a private school to keep his nose in books, rather than bottles, and ultimately earning a dual degree at a Jesuit college. These years would see Peter bloom, not just academically, but also athletically, wrestling in high school before turning to the equally brutal sport of rugby in college.

Life outside of college wouldn’t suddenly cool down however, and Barrett saw himself pulled in an interesting new direction that spoke to that caged killer within.

“I got into fighting because I live and die on the extremes. Fighting is my escape. It lets me tune out and tune in, and it turns out I’m really good at it”

Sporting a sterling professional record of 5-0 with all finishes, and the majority in the first round, it’s hard to argue with Barrett’s assessment of his skills. Splitting time between Daniel Gracie’s Juniko schools as well as the legendary Sityodtong Boston, Barrett is constantly sharpening the axe, and has some plans for his opponent on April 9th. What’s in store for Jeff “Candyman” Anderson?

“Highly-calculated violence.” Barrett answers. “Everything I can control is in place, all the details have been covered, and now I get to go do what I do. Knock MFers out.”

As that win column swells, there is a certain expectation in the fight world to do more: Take bigger fights, and dish out more punishment. Rather than a vice on his mind however, that pressure of all-eyes-on-Slippery acts more like a wind at his back.

“The only pressure there is, is to continue to perform in the same way I’ve been performing. You know, people come and expect me to show up and decimate my opponents, and I embrace that pressure. I love that stress added into my fights.”

While it’s Slippery doing the dirty work in the cage, plain old Peter Barrett has as critical of an eye on himself as his opponents.

“Every time we get back in the gym after a fight, I work on my weaknesses, because martial arts are all about learning and evolving; by reflecting on my fights and seeing what I like and what I don’t like about my performance. While there’s stress externally to maintain that record, a lot of my motivation comes from internal forces that push me to be the best I can be, and to continue to grow.”

If Slippery Pete gets his way in the cage, the biggest growth will be the pool of blood forming under another vanquished adversary; six down and the entire fight world to go.

~ Mike Hammersmith

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