Scott Coker has addressed potentially signing Josh Barnett.
The Bellator MMA president was asked about the former UFC heavyweight champion during Tuesday’s press conference where the promotion announced their big September 29th card.
He told Danny Segura of MMAFighting.com that the promotion is already in talks with Barnett after it was revealed last week that he had departed from the UFC.
If you recall, Barnett and Coker have a history of working together as they were in business while under the Strikeforce banner. Barnett fought in Strikeforce, which Coker was president of, between 2011 and 2013 where he competed four times with a record of 3-1.
Barnett’s final bout under the promotion’s banner came back in May of 2012 when he Barnett competed in the final of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix where he was defeated by Daniel Cormier via a unanimous decision.
“Yeah we’re talking to his manager now actually and we’d love to have Josh on our roster fighting some of the heavyweights that we have and I think he’d be a good fit,” Coker said (transcript courtesy of MMANytt).
Barnett requested his release from the UFC 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.
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.