One of the biggest concerns about Strikeforce’s upcoming heavyweight tournament besides M-1’s constant shenanigans is whether or not Josh Barnett will be able to get licensed amidst his ongoing struggle to make nice with the CSAC.
“Barnett has his issues in California, guys, we all know it. We’ve all been through that dance and he’s got to go back and deal with it some more. But, you know, to me, here’s a guy that has been, uh, out of the cage or, you know, out of the ring for, in North America, for a year and a half and, you know, I feel like he’s paid his time, he’s paid his dues, let the guy make a living. You know and his history before Strikeforce is his past and, you know, we’re going to judge him on what he does now and six weeks ago he went to (the) California (state athletic commission) in Sacramento in the offices and, you know, he tested clean for all, you know, all their battery of tests that they ran on him and he’s not on suspension, so why can’t he fight? And, you know, some commissions still feel like, you know, we want to wait until he gets through the process in California but, you know, there are commissions out there saying, ‘Look, you know, have him come in, let him take the test, and if he’s clean then we’ll let him fight.’ So, you know, we’re going to work with those commissions that are welcoming him and us but Josh, guys, Josh is going to be part of this tournament and we’re going to move on and I think Josh has moved on and I think everybody should move on as well.”
Whether it’s going to be as simple as passing a urine test with these unnamed commissions Coker speaks of remains to be seen, but one state he probably won’t get licensed in anytime soon is Calfornia. CSAC executive director George Dodd explained earlier this month that Barnett had until Jan. 10 to schedule yet another meeting with the commission to get the situation ironed out.
“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.”
And guess what Barnett didn’t do? He didn’t contact Dodd to schedule his appearance. Barnett doesn’t want to waste his time getting “ambushed.”
“There are still some things I have to figure out with that with (legal) counsel and Strikeforce, and also, to hear something from the commission as well as to what exactly they intend to do or want,” he told MMAjunkie.com Radio on Monday. “I definitely don’t want to spend my time and fly up there to be ambushed.”
I don’t know what Barnett’s deal is, but the commission fully intends to rule on his status on Feb. 4 with or without him. The good news for Barnett and Strikeforce is even if the CSAC doesn’t rule in his favor (and they probably won’t judging by what a debacle this has turned into), it won’t preclude him from getting licensed in other states. They’re free to treat him like he’s any other fighter applying for a license even if they shouldn’t.