(“Why yes, Dana, the blonde gentleman in the lower left *is* my doctor. What of it?”)
The Sam and Diane relationship between Josh Barnett and the UFC continues to forge ahead, Potato Nation. Fortunately, we have more than an outdated UFC.com profile to go with this time. During the media scrum following the UFC 158 press conference earlier today, Dana White was questioned by MMAMania about the likelihood of seeing “The Warmaster” back in the octagon, and the UFC President was surprisingly optimistic:
I have not (spoken with Barnett). It’s probably going to happen.
There you have it; absolute and undeniable proof that Barnett is back, baby. And here you thought we were just tugging your respective dicks this whole time. Shame on you.
On a serious note, bringing Barnett back to the UFC despite his past transgressions seems like a good move by the promotion for a multitude of reasons. There is surely a great amount of risk involved in the deal, but consistently entertaining upper echelon heavyweights like Barnett are not exactly a common occurrence in MMA. Throw in his marketability, experience, business savvy, etc. and there’s no way the UFC can turn him down. That being said, expect Barnett to take a decent sized pay cut should he sign with Zuffa, because there is no way in hell they will be paying him 250k to show.
Plus, Barnett seems to have finally smartened up with the whole “steroid” thing that saw him stripped of his newly-earned Heavyweight title at UFC 36 (Author’s note: Well, there was also that time he killed Affliction, but just go with me here), so at least some of Dana’s concerns should be quelled for the time being. That, or Barnett’s just found some next-level shit that no test can detect yet. In either case, if Dana can so easily forgive Overeem, Diaz, and Sonnen for their personal issues in the past, he should be able to do the same with Barnett. But only time will tell, of course.
In the meantime, let’s put on our matchmaker pants and get to work. Who would you like to see Barnett paired up with first should he actually make it over to the UFC?