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Negotiations between UFC and Josh Barnett hit major snag

Dana White - UFC 156 Media DayHeavyweight Josh Barnett has butted heads with the UFC for years. However, it looked like the former champion and world’s foremost MMA promotion were willing to let the past be after Barnett’s name was recently mentioned in connection with ongoing talks to sign with the UFC and give the company legitimate claim to the best roster of heavyweight talent ever assembled under one umbrella.

While such may have been true at the time, it appears things have deteriorated since to the point Barnett appears likely to ink a deal elsewhere. According to multiple reports, Barnett and the UFC have agreed to a few of the basics but come to a stalemate on one particular matter. No word has been offered on what the issue actually involves.

“Once we have an acceptable deal with someone, we will close, sign and hopefully fight within a few months,” said Barnett’s manager, Leland LaBarre, in an interview with MMAJunkie. “We’ve had a discussion with every major organization you’ve heard of and some you haven’t.”

Barnett has racked up a 32-6 record with 27 stoppages over his 15-year career. He has come out triumphant in nine of his last ten tilts including victories over Brett Rogers, Jeff Monson, Pedro Rizzo, and Sergei Kharitonov.


  • Dufresne says:

    As talented as Barnett is, I’m not in a huge rush to see him in the UFC. Any fighter who has popped for roids three separate times makes me nervous and it’s not even my reputation or money on the line. The only way I’d sign Barnett is if I could include a clause in his contract that called for random drug testing throughout his training camps leading up to a fight.

  • darth_irritable says:

    The issue is that the UFC requires drug testing.

  • Kamakosmo says:

    “We’ve had a discussion with every major organization you’ve heard of and some you haven’t.”

    Derp….What ‘Major Org’s’ have we not heard of? WFATDE? (World Fighting Alliance That Doesn’t Exist)

  • Richard Stabone says:

    It’s gotta be financially related. Josh was paid $250K for the final SF event, and the UFC just doesn’t guarantee that type of money to guys like Josh Barnett. The UFC is probably telling Josh he can exceed that in the UFC via more lucrative sponsorship deals, win bonuses, potential OTN bonuses, or even PPV % if he’s able to earn a title shot… and Josh is probably saying, nah just guarantee me X amount per fight.

    I’m obviously only speculating, and might be way off on the details, but one way or another it’s gotta be tied to $$. The UFC can always use more depth in that division but at this stage of his career I don’t care much either way.

  • MCM says:

    I’m thinking it’s got more to do with the Pro Wrassling gig than anything else. Josh makes a pretty good penny on wrestling in Japan and we know UFC doesn’t like fighters having extra curricular activities on the side. My armchair guess is that Josh said “If your gonna make me give up %50 of my fighting career, reimburse me for it.”

  • climbarock says:

    Does anyone really care? Barnett has had a nice run against B level fighters but he’d get trounced in the UFC. He could provide a little depth to the division, but there’s no f’in way he’s contending for the title. Not to mention he’s a repeat steroid cheat. So, yeah, he should probably go make that easy money in Japan.

    His schtick is obnoxious. It was supremely satisfying to see Cormier whoop that ass.


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