Remember way back in July of 2009 when Josh Barnett (Pictured) flunked his pre-fight drug test to face Fedor Emelianenko? Well, that drama was finally put to bed Monday at a special California State Athletic Commission hearing.
The CSAC had refused to license the veteran for “Affliction: Trilogy,” which ultimately put an end to the upstart mixed martial arts promotion, but today conditionally approved Barnett assuming he can pass a random urinalysis before his next scheduled fight. Barnett will meet Daniel Cormier in the finals of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix on May 19th, which is expected to take place in the Golden State.
Although the commission voted 4-2 in his favor, Barnett’s character was brought into question during the meeting. After beating Randy Couture in March of 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada to capture the UFC heavyweight title, Barnett tested positive for three banned substances. “The Warmaster” was subsequently stripped of his hardware.
“We need fights here in California,” stated commission chairman John Frierson. “We need good fighters and we need good people.”
However, Frierson noted Barnett had passed a drug test as recently as February 29th and several others since single-handedly bringing down Affliction.
Barnett denied any wrongdoing when he failed his 2009 exam, instead pointing the finger at the unregulated supplement industry. He managed to circumvent the system by competing in Ohio and overseas in Japan until the dust settled in California.
“I want to make believers out of you more than anything else,” Barnett expressed. “So I hope to see you at the fight and I hope to change your opinions and to satisfy any of your doubts in time.”
Strikeforce is hoping HP Pavilion in San Jose will host the conclusion of their Heavyweight Grand Prix. However, with the Sharks still in the NHL playoff hunt the commission wasn’t able to solidify the venue at this time. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said during today’s powwow that one of the larger Southern Cali arenas would be their next option.