Barnett’s Relicensing Still a Question Mark


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

Josh Barnett file photo | Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com


When Josh Barnett was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission in July 2009 for allegedly testing positive for an anabolic steroid prior to his ill-fated bout with Fedor Emelianenko, it triggered a one-year nationwide revocation of his license to fight. That ban expired in July 2010 and, while Barnett has yet to be granted relicensure in California, other states are now free to license him.

It appears that could soon be the case, as Barnett was Tuesday announced as part of Strikeforce’s upcoming eight-man heavyweight tournament, which also includes Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva, Brett Rogers, Andrei Arlovski, Sergei Kharitonov and heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. The three-round, single-elimination tourney will feature five-round bouts, with the events being televised on Showtime.

“It took us three months to put all this together,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told Sherdog.com. “Fedor wanted to do this tourney.”

The tournament begins on Feb. 12 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., where two quarterfinal matchups -- Emelianenko-Silva and Arlovski-Kharitonov -- will take place. Barnett’s quarterfinal bout against Rogers, as well as Overeem-Werdum, is likely to happen sometime in April, Coker said.

“We are in the process of negotiating with a couple of venues, and date, but we’re just not ready to announce them just yet,” Coker added.

One possible hitch to this dream lineup is Barnett. With the former UFC champion’s status still up in the air due to a series of miscommunications with the CSAC, the “Baby-Faced Assassin” will still need to be granted a license somewhere in the U.S. in order to compete in the tournament.

Speaking with ESPN.com, Coker stated that he had contacted multiple state commissions who said that they would license Barnett if the fighter were to furnish a negative drug test, similar to what he gave the CSAC prior to his Dec. 2 hearing.

Two states Barnett likely will not be fighting in, aside from California, are Nevada and New Jersey.

“Nevada isn’t on that list,” Coker told Sherdog.com. “Let him go appeal to any state that has a commission. Josh has some work to do in California. But he’s paid his dues. Let him make a living and go to work. But I don’t think he’s going to be fighting in California.”

Nick Lembo, legal counsel for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, spoke exclusively with Sherdog.com.

“It’s real simple. He’s not currently licensed in New Jersey,” said Lembo. “He does not have an application in with the state of the New Jersey. I don’t have any comment other than we don’t have an application, and I won’t make any comment about a non-applicant.”

With at least two months before his date with Rogers, Barnett still has time to appease a state commission with random drug testing and other demonstrable acts of reformation. After allegedly testing positive for steroids three times, it may take that much for Barnett to be able to fight in the U.S. again.

Since his most recent suspension was handed down by the CSAC, Barnett’s follow-up hearing with the commission has been postponed four times.

George Dodd, CSAC executive director, said that Barnett is currently “on the agenda” for the commission’s next quarterly meeting on Feb. 4 in Los Angeles, but that Barnett’s chances for a obtaining a California license are dwindling with each rescheduled hearing.

“I think the commission is getting to a point where it’s wasting our time. It’s on the agenda. They got a continuance to the second one. In the third one, he didn’t appear, but his lawyers appeared and he was in Japan [doing pro-wrestling],” said Dodd. “He’s on the agenda for Feb. 4. If he doesn’t contact me by Jan. 10, he won’t be going in front of the commission. If everybody could just get together, we could get this taken care of.”

Dodd added that counsel from the California State Attorney General’s office will be present to question Barnett, who has maintained throughout that he did not use illegal substances prior to his latest positive test.

At the Dec. 2 meeting, Barnett initially seemed willing to be cross-examined on his steroid use. Seated to his left was Alfredo Terrazas, California Assistant Attorney General, who had obviously prepared to question Barnett on his past usage and Barnett’s ongoing defense that he did not use any banned substance.

Before Terrazas questioned Barnett, however, Dodd and other commission members urged Barnett that it would not be in his interest to go through the process without having his own legal counsel present.

“I’m a little caught off-guard by this,” Barnett told the commission. “I feel slightly unprepared and didn’t bring counsel. That’s a very large point that was not brought to my attention.”

“You obviously thought this was a rubber-stamp [process for renewal],” said Commissioner Eugene Hernandez.

Barnett disagreed, saying that it was merely a misunderstanding.

Asked by Sherdog.com what Barnett would have to do at the Feb. 4 meeting in order to be relicensed, Dodd was succinct.

“Josh will not be licensed in California until he appears before the commission and answers questions about past steroid usage, and also [addresses] the question of rehabilitation to have his license renewed,” Dodd said.

However, Dodd said, what other state commissions decide is entirely up to them.

“Josh did his year, though he did fight overseas. That’s why you leave it up to each commission,” Dodd said. “If New Jersey called me up and asked, ‘What’s the situation?’ I’d tell them the same thing. It’s up to your commission to determine what to do.”

This item was updated at 1:30 p.m. ET to clarify comments made by Nick Lembo.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 8 days ago
  • 27 views

The Nevada State Athletic Commission today handed down a two-year suspension and other punishments to now-retired UFC fighter Chael Sonnen following a pair of failed UFC 175 drug tests.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

  • 2 days ago
  • 12 views

The California State Athletic Commission issued medical suspensions to all the fighters on Saturday’s UFC on FOX 12 card, with nearly a dozen getting terms longer than the minimum.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

  • 24 days ago
  • 53 views

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) is moving forward with its actions against retired UFC fighter Chael Sonnen. According to a report from MMAJunkie.com, the UFC's home governing body is waiting to find out if the former light heavyweight and middleweight contender will appeal its ruling. The NSAC sent Sonnen its complaint on June 27. Per the commission's regulations, Sonnen has up to 20 days (which, in this case, would be up until July 17) to respond. From there, he would either accept read news >>

  • 8 days ago
  • 26 views

The Nevada State Athletic Commission granted UFC middleweight competitor Vitor Belfort licensure to compete in the State of Nevada. He is expected to face Chris Weidman on December 6 in Las Vegas. Vitor Belfort is once again licensed to compete in the State of Nevada. The Nevada State Athletic Commission unanimously granted the former UFC light-heavyweight champion licensure to fight in Nevada if the Brazilian agreed to three non-negotiable conditions. Firstly, the fight would not take place bef read news >>

  • 8 days ago
  • 19 views

After appearing before the Nevada State Athletic Commission seeking re-licensure to compete following a failed drug test, Vitor Belfort has been approved for a conditional license to return to mixed martial arts. The hearing was aired live on UFC Fight Pass. The conditions of his license were threefold: He will submit to random enhanced drug testing at the NSAC's discretion, he will only fight in Nevada upon his return and his return will not come before December of 2014. Belfort has been one of read news >>

  • 8 days ago
  • 16 views

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada State Athletic Commission today handed down a largely light punishment to retired UFC star Chael Sonnen. Sonnen was suspended for two years with no fine. He is required to pay the costs of his drug testing program and for the costs (hotel, flight) of bringing in the NSAC laboratory expert. Sonnen also must work with the commission on educating other fighters under their jurisdiction. The commission meeting, which Bleacher Report attended in person, took place at the Grant read news >>

  • 8 days ago
  • 115 views

Following Wednesday’s Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing that suspended Chael Sonnen and granted Vitor Belfort a license to fight Chris Weidman at UFC 181, fighters took to Twitter to react. read news >>

  • 8 days ago
  • 313 views

The Nevada State Athletic Commission put together a star-studded hearing Wednesday. Serial woman abuser (who moonlights two or three times a year as a boxer) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was the biggest name in attendance. "Money" showed up to ask for the Commission's approval to move forward on starting his own boxing promotion: Mayweather Promotions. Logically, that should have resulted in serious questions regarding his history of out-of-the-ring violence (which most recently surfaced in May when hi read news >>

  • 7 days ago
  • 40 views

Watch as former UFC standout Chael Sonnen appears in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wednesday, July 23, to talk about his two failed drug tests. read news >>