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Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett Flagged by USADA for Possible Violation

Another UFC fighter has been flagged for a possible anti-doping violation by the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA).  Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett has been notified of a potential doping violation.  This stems from am out of competition drug test from December 9.

Barnett (35-8) is no stranger to running afoul of drug testing violations as he has failed multiple tests over his 20-year MMA career.  In 2002, Barnett won the UFC heavyweight championship by defeating Randy Couture at UFC 36 but was later stripped of the title because of a positive drug test.  In 2009, Barnett was set to face Fedor Emelianenko in a bout for the Affliction promotion (now defunct), but the fight was called off when Barnett tested positive for anabolic steroids ten days prior to the fight.

USADA notified UFC of the potential violation on Tuesday.  UFC did release a statement on their website as follows, but did not offer further details of the violation.

The UFC organization was formally notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Josh Barnett of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on December 9, 2016.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed.

Consistent with all previous potential anti-doping violations, additional information or UFC statements will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.

Barnett’s last bout was against Andrei Arlovski in September, when he won via submission in the third round.  Barnett has only fought three times since 2014, but in 2016 he has submitted 13 samples for drug testing.

Bill Says:  Everyone is entitled to due process in these kinds of situations, but at 39 and depending on exactly what he popped for Barnett may be done in UFC.  At the least, he will be serving a lengthy suspension.  Barnett calls New Japan Pro Wrestling alongside WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross on AXS TV, and has worked in pro wrestling in the past, so he does have options outside the Octagon if his UFC career does end over this.

About Bill Wentz (1543 Articles)'s Senior Columnist, writing with the site since 2009 and a lifelong wrestling fan dating all the way back to the early Wrestlemania years. As a strongly opinionated fan, you can get my thoughts regularly on Ring Rap Audio and Around the Ring on Thursdays, as well as in "Wentz's Blog" in print. Look for my live show reports as well for MMA, WWE, ROH, and more. Outside of wrestling, I have a strong obsession with trucks, winning awards statewide with a truck dubbed the "Brahma Bull Edition." Interact with me on Twitter @Bill_SoonerFan or by email at

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