Yesterday the news broke that Josh Barnett was being released from the UFC after a five year run in his second stint with the company. Now we get some clarity as to why.
After the former UFC heavyweight champion, Barnett’s most recent win over Andrei Arlovski in September 2016, he was notified of a failed USADA test thus resulting in his suspension.
Which brings us to now. Barnett told ESPN what ultimately is leading to the release.
“It’s true that I have asked for my release, and we are discussing the terms now. Zuffa [parent company of the UFC] has been fantastic and above-board since I re-signed with the company [in 2013]. Every promise made has been kept, and I have no disparaging words for them. After everything I went through with USADA, and my vindication in that case, I don’t feel comfortable giving the control necessary to USADA that would continue my career in the UFC.”
Barnett has been vocal about not being very trusting of USADA in the past so this doesn’t come as much of a surprise especially after what he went through.
Now 40-years old, it’s hard to imagine that Barnett will be fighting for much longer but he definitely still has interest in doing so.
Obvious possible landing spots include the likes of Bellator as well as the Japan-based promotion, Rizin. Barnett has worked with Bellator president, Scott Coker in the past during their time in Strikeforce and has also worked with Rizin’s president, Nobuyuki Sakikabara who manned the helm of Pride FC where Barnett fought a portion of his career in.
Of course, who’s to say that Barnett doesn’t end up fighting for both?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/21/2018.