Josh Barnett is no longer under contract with the UFC.
According to a new report by MMA Junkie, Barnett requested his release and his contract does not carry any stipulations. Thus, this is considered a full separation from the UFC.
If you recall, the former UFC heavyweight champion failed an out-of-competition drug test stemming from a Dec. 9, 2016, screening.
It’s no secret that Barnett has had a history of failed drug tests, going all the way back to 2001 after he beat Bobby Hoffmann at UFC 34 when he was given a warning for a positive screen.
In his next fight, he beat Randy Couture to win the UFC heavyweight title in 2002 but tested positive for banned substances after the fight and was stripped of the title.
Back in 2009, he was supposed to fight Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction: Trilogy, but he tested positive for anabolic steroids ten days before the event, which was canceled as a result of it.
The agency announced back in March that Barnett only received only a public reprimand following arbitration in his USADA doping case, which means that he will receive no suspension and can return to the Octagon right away.
His legal team was able to show the arbitrator that the ostarine came due a tainted supplement. It should be noted that Ostarine is not approved by the FDA and is illegally sold in the United States as a performance-enhancer.
Barnett is the first fighter to test positive for a performance-enhancing drug and not get any kind of suspension since the UFC partnered up with USADA back in 2015.
Barnett (35-8) has had a great 20-year-long career, and he is coming off a third-round submission of Andrei Arlovski in September of 2016. Since returning to the UFC after a stint in Strikeforce, he went 3-2.
“It’s true that I have asked for my release, and we are discussing the terms now,” Barnett said to ESPN. “Zuffa (parent company of the UFC) has been fantastic and above-board since I re-signed with the company (in 2013). Every promise made has been kept, and I have no disparaging words for them. After everything I went through with USADA, and my vindication in that case, I don’t feel comfortable giving the control necessary to USADA that would continue my career in the UFC.”
It will be interesting to see which promotion he signs with next.