CSAC Refuses to License Josh Barnett; Bout With Emelianenko Off for ‘Affliction: Trilogy’

(“Mostly-natural, baby!” Photo courtesy of MMA Mania.)

Bad news for MMA fans ā€” and disastrous news for Affliction’s MMA promotion. Sherdog is reporting that the California State Athletic Commission will not license Josh Barnett for his fight against Fedor Emelianenko at next Saturday’s Affliction: Trilogy event due to a “positive test result.” We’re assuming that means steroids and not Hep B or something, though the CSAC promises to release a detailed statement today. Barnett, who was stripped of his UFC heavyweight title in 2002 for anabolic steroid use, was surprised by the news: 

ā€œI took my test three weeks ago. I would have thought I would have heard something by now…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.ā€

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Now, Affliction must hustle up a new opponent for Emelianenko to beat the crap out of at the event. The front-runner is Vitor Belfort, who has been preparing for a middleweight match against Jorge Santiago; Belfort has reportedly agreed in principle to take the fight, according to sources close to the negotiations. It was also rumored that undefeated ATT product/pro wrestler Bobby Lashley was also offered the fight, though he might be a little too smart to take it:

“I don’t know if I would want it right now. Since the last fight, I haven’t really been into training again. 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.ā€

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If Affliction’s future as an MMA promotion does indeed depend on this event, the outlook just got a lot more dismal. More details to come…