Known for his fighting inside the cage, former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett won a legal fight against USADA Friday, setting a blueprint for how future accused fighters can better document their supplement intake.
An independent arbitrator ruled that the 40-year-old should have only received a public reprimand and not a suspension for his December 2016 out-of-competition test failure for ostarine. The color commentating voice of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV is now eligible to return to action immediately.
He also makes history as the first fighter to test positive and not get a suspension since USADA took helm of UFC’s anti-doping program in 2015.
Barnett kept track of his supplements and his legal team were able to prove the ostarine came from a tainted supplement. In his ruling, the arbitrator (Richard H. McLaren of McLaren Global Sport Solutions) said that “On the evidence before me, the Applicant is not a drug cheat” and said that while he did ingest ostarine, he did so unknowingly.
Barnett tweeted, “I proved my innocence as I stated from the beginning and now I can look towards getting back in the ring in the neat (sic) future. The time I lost though can never be regained. It should not havr (sic) had to come to all of this. Ever onwards…”
What will be interesting to see if whether there is a lawsuit over the loss of fight income he could have earned over the 16 months he’s been on the sidelines dealing with this and/or legal fees. When writer Jonathan Snowden asked how on Twitter how UFC and USADA might compensate him for the time missed, Barnett replied, “Good question…”