Sherdog.com is reporting that the CSAC will not license Josh Barnett to fight Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction “Trilogy” on August 1 due to a positive test result, however it’s unclear at the moment what exactly he tested positive for.
Whatever it is, Barnett seems to be denying he took anything that would have triggered a positive result.
Barnett said he had not been notified of any issues with his eligibility as of Tuesday evening.
“I took my test three weeks ago. I would have thought I would have heard something by now,” Barnett told Sherdog.com.
However, the former UFC heavyweight champion said he had not checked his phone messages recently and later added, “No matter what happens with this, I can assure you I will clear my name. This will not be something that I am defined by.”
So, as it stands right now, Fedor Emelianenko needs a new opponent since it’s doubtful this will get cleared up in the next week and a half. Two names are apparently already under serious consideration, but neither are names anyone wants to hear—Vitor Belfort and Bobby Lashley.
According to the report, Belfort has already agreed to face Fedor (MMA Weekly says he still be weighing his options) so he may get his wish after all, but as we all know, Vitor’s a middleweight now, so really what’s the point? No one wants to see that. Plus, they’d be breaking up the tremendous Belfort-Santiago fight. I know they’re going for name value here, but that’s not good enough of a reason to book a stupid fight while simultaneously sabotaging an awesome one.
Then there’s Bobby Lashley. He may not be anywhere near ready for Fedor, but at least he’s a heavyweight. It may not matter though, because a) he claims he doesn’t know anything about it and b) doesn’t really want the fight anyways.
“I don’t know if I would want it right now. Since the last fight, I haven’t really been into training again,” he said. “That fight is next week. That would be something I would really have to take a look at. To just jump in there probably wouldn’t be the smartest thing for me right now. A lot of people would say that might be a money fight. They figure, ‘If we give him enough money, will he do it?’ That’s what people tend to look at. I don’t want to get into fighting for the money so much right now.”
One of Sherdog’s sources claims Fedor will actually get to choose between the two, but considering Lashley’s comments, Belfort might be his only option.
I know it’s an incredibly difficult spot Affliction just got put in. Obviously, they don’t have the depth the UFC does, so we really shouldn’t come down on them for whatever they come up with, but what about Buentello or Yvel? They may not be top ten, but at least they’re both decent experienced heavyweights. Or even better (this would be ideal actually), perhaps Affliction could work out something with Strikeforce to borrow Fabricio Werdum since he just lost his opponent too? Both would be better solutions than Belfort in my opinion.
An official statement is expected from the CSAC tomorrow (Wednesday), so we should have more details then. I’ll update this post when more information becomes available.
Image via CombatLifestyle.com
Update: Tom Atencio has confirmed to MMA Fanhouse that Josh Barnett has tested positive for a banned substance and will not fight Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction “Trilogy.” Says the show will go on and he’s working on a replacement.
Update 2: Ariel Helwani is reporting that Brett Rogers and Ricardo Arona are also in the running to replace Barnett. Lashley’s manager says they aren’t considering the fight. No word from Rogers’ camp or Arona’s on their level of interest.
Personally, I think it’s a bad fight for Rogers to take. He’s got a lot of momentum from the Arlovski win and wouldn’t be in peak fighting shape. Even if he was, the chances of him beating Fedor at this point are very slim, so really all he would be doing is killing his momentum. Of course, there’s a huge upside if he somehow managed to pull off the miraculous upset. It’s a big risk with a huge reward, but I’m not convinced it’s a risk worth taking at this point in his career. Of all the names being thrown out there though, this is the one I’d be most interested in seeing besides Werdum.
Ricardo Arona is an interesting name that no one had mentioned yet. He actually took Fedor to a close decision early in Fedor’s career, but he hasn’t fought since Sokoudjou knocked him out over two years ago at PRIDE 34. He’s scheduled to fight in September in Brazil so he’s probably in decent shape, but coming off a two-year layoff to fight Fedor is less than ideal. I’m not crazy about it.
Update 3: MMAJunkie is reporting that Vitor Belfort has verbally agreed to fight Fedor and are currently working on the financial terms. Shawn Tompkins says Belfort is walking around at 205 and could easily put on 5-10 pounds by fight time. No word yet from Fedor’s camp.
Update 4: Fox Fight Game’s Mike Straka confirms Barnett tested positive for steroids.
Update 5: Josh Gross has an update on the figures being thrown around. Belfort wants a purse comparable to what Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski got paid to fight Fedor, which was $800,000 and $1.5 million, respectively. Rogers wants a figure approaching Sylvia’s purse. Ouch.
Update 6: Affliction just held a media conference call. Not much more was learned other than Barnett will fight it and the CSAC is testing his B sample. Not clear exactly what would happen if it comes back negative, but Affliction says they’re moving forward without him. Also, Fedor is willing to fight whoever they put in front of him. MDS from Fanhouse and the Savage Science blog have more.
Update 7: No Tito. He just got back into training. 10 days too short notice.
Ariel Helwani posted on Twitter that Shawn Tompkins said Belfort deal is done. No confirmation from Atencio though.
Update 8: The CSAC has released their statement on what Barnett tested positive for. It’s the anabolic steroid 2a-methyl-5a-androstan-3a-ol-17-one.
Barnett’s June 25 drug test came back positive for 2a-methyl-5a-androstan-3a-ol-17-one, an anabolic steroid. CSAC learned of the results July 21 and immediately denied a license for Barnett. CSAC also informed the promoter of Barnett’s August 1 bout against Fedor Emelianenko that the bout would not be approved.
“The license of Josh Barnett was denied pursuant to rule 303 of Title IV of the California Code of Regulations,” said CSAC Interim Executive Officer Dave Thornton. “That rule prohibits the use of certain substances, including anabolic agents, by any boxer or MMA fighter.”
Barnett’s test was observed in the presence of a CSAC representative and the sample was sent to the World Anti-doping Agency test facility at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on June 25 for processing. CSAC was notified of the results yesterday.
To clarify, 2a-methyl-5a-androstan-3a-ol-17-one is a metabolite of the steroid Drostanolone. Before everyone starts crucifying Josh, let’s not forget the CSAC doesn’t exactly have the best track record. We’re also still waiting to hear back on Josh’s B sample.
Update 9: Strikeforce has informed MMA Junkie that neither Brett Rogers nor Fabricio Werdum will be fighting Fedor Emelianenko.