Heavyweight star Josh Barnett has turned down a contact offer from the UFC according to his manager Leland LaBarre.
“We agreed on guaranteed compensation,” LaBarre told MMAfighting.com. “In fact, we never even countered. We accepted their original offer.
“However, there are some outlying issues — one in particular — that as of this point we were unable to agree on.”
LaBarre wouldn’t be drawn on what that issue was or whether it was something that could still be resolved.
If Barnett is playing hardball with the UFC then that could be a strategy that’s doomed to failure as there’s already no love lost between the former UFC heavyweight champion and Dana White, and given the UFC president’s notoriously short fuse there’s a strong chance that he’ll permanently pull the plug on further contract talks rather than meet him half-way.
I’m curious to know what the term is. Barnett certainly dances to the beat of his own drum so it could be a number of different things, but I must admit my first thought was that it might be drug related.
Barnett was caught using steroids back in 2001 in the UFC thought he escaped with just a warning. However, he was then stripped of his UFC title back in 2002 after again testing positive for steroids and hasn’t fought for the promotion since. Later, a fight with Fedor Emelianenko for the Affliction organization back in 2009 had to be scrapped after he tested positive for steroids during a pre-fight drugs test.
With that chequered past in mind it could be that the UFC are asking for additional drugs testing within Barnett’s contract and that’s proven to be the stumbling block.
On the other hand it may just be that Barnett wants to continue to do the occasional pro-wrestling gig in Japan, something that wouldn’t be allowed under the standard UFC contract.
Whatever the reason it’s now looking far less likely that Barnett will ever set foot inside the UFC’s Octagon again and that’s unfortunate as he would be a welcome addition to the roster.