Former Affliction Entertainment and PrideFC star Josh Barnett has just inked a deal to join the popular Japanese MMA promotion, Dream. It’s believed the controversial heavyweight will make his debut at Dream.13 on March 22nd.
MMAWeekly.com confirmed the signing with sources close to the situation late Monday night, and an official announcement from the organization is expected within the coming days.
Barnett hasn’t been seen Stateside since single-handedly taking down Affliction’s humble mixed martial arts promotion with a failed drug test just one week before his highly-anticipated showdown with Fedor Emelianenko at “Affliction: Trilogy.”
After forcing Affliction to permanently close their doors last August, Barnett took a brief leave from MMA. He hasn’t been seen in a mixed martial arts bout since knocking out Pedro Rizzo at “Affliction: Day of Reckoning” in July of 2008 – although he did appear in at least one wacky pro-wrestling event in Japan.
Due to his LATEST positive drug test, Barnett submitted an appeal to the California State Athletic Commission to re-issue his license. Unfortunately, due to countless reasons under the rainbow, Barnett’s hearing has been postponed four times with the next pow-wow set for April 20th.
“The Baby Faced Assassin” holds an impressive 24-5 pro record and was considered one of the planet’s best heavies before his latest fiasco, however God only knows how many of his wins are tainted with steroid juice.
For now, it appears Barnett will continue to hide out in the Orient and wait for his next assignment. According to the report, no opponent has yet to be assigned, however many have declined to face Barnett for whatever reason.
Here are the fighters rumored/expected to participate inside the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan:
Josh Barnett vs. TBD
Katsunori Kikuno vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Jimmy Ambriz
Ryo Chonan vs. Andrews Nakahara
K.J. Noons vs. Andre Dida
Joachim Hansen vs. Bibiano Fernandes (Dream Featherweight Champion)