Barnett Refuses to be ‘Ambushed’ By CSAC, May Skip February Hearing

Josh Barnett

(“You think it’s easy being the only reasonable person on Earth? I got news for you, it is *not* easy.” PicProps: MMAFrenzy)

MMA’s most infamous steroid cheat says he hasn’t quite decided if he’ll be present next month when the California State Athletic Commission rules on his application to be relicensed to fight in that state. Nonetheless, Josh Barnett still plans on competing in this year’s Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix, though the date and location of his first round bout against Brett Rogers is yet to be determined. With or without Barnett in attendance the CSAC will rule on his license come Feb. 4, according to executive director George Dodd, and that ruling will likely effect where the California-based promotion can hold events on which Barnett is scheduled to appear.

As of right now, we’d guess that we shouldn’t plan on seeing “The Baby Faced Assassin” compete in any of the “major” combat sports states like Cali, Nevada or New Jersey anytime soon, especially if he ghosts the CSAC next month. Naturally, Barnett is taking a typically nonchalant, borderline combative stance on the whole thing. Dig it: “There are still some things I have to figure out … with (legal) counsel and Strikeforce and also to hear something from the commission (about) what exactly they intend to do or want,” he told this week. “I definitely don’t want to spend my time and fly up there to be ambushed.”

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Barnett’s reticence obviously stems from his Dec. 2 appearance before the commission, which quickly clattered off the rails once it became clear that neither side was ready to do the damn thing. For his part, Barnett showed up alone, without any kind of legal counsel, apparently expecting to simply roll in and get relicensed, since his suspension for a positive drug test back in June of 2009 had expired. Shock of all shocks, it turned out the CSAC wanted to ask him some questions first and then advised him to request a continuance when it became clear that the fighter was on the verge of once again denying any wrongdoing in their state.

“I’m a little caught off guard by this because I was asked to come here,” Barnett said at the hearing. “I was asked to provide a (urine) sample to reapply. This is fine, but I do feel slightly unprepared. I did not bring any counsel. I did not come here to appeal. I just came here on my own to speak to the commission as an individual.”

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The whole thing was weird and more than a little embarrassing for both parties, but we’re still not sure how the word “ambush” might apply. From where we’re sitting – admittedly, on the sideline – it seems totally Pollyannaish for Barnett to think the CSAC would just stamp his fight passport, give him a hug and open the door to the Staples Center. After all, his last postitive drug test did cause the cancelation of a major fight show in that state. On the other hand, for a group that must routinely deal with what we might call “typical fighter bullshit,” the CSAC seemed completely unprepared for Barnett’s self-sabotaging bullheadedness. We would have thought they’d be used to seeing that type of thing by now.

Anyway, to be honest we have no idea if Barnett skipping out on the Feb. hearing is a big deal or not. The CSAC isn’t totally ruling out the possibility it might relicense him anyway and even if it doesn’t, Strikeforce will still be able to find some backwater state willing to let Barnett go in and tap out Rogers in a couple minutes of sluggish action. But regardless, isn’t this just another small piece of evidence that Barnett will always do whatever he can to screw things up for himself?

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I mean, get a lawyer, go to the hearing, say you’re sorry, get slapped on the wrist, get your license back. What’s so hard about that?

And if we were Strikeforce, would we advise Barnett to get his ass to the CSAC meeting and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help him God? Yes. Yes, we would, since there’s a good chance this joker advances to the final of our much ballyhooed heavyweight GP and we’d much rather schedule our first PPV event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose instead of some bingo hall in Biloxi. But that’s just us.