by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
It appears the main event of Affliction “Trilogy” will not survive its original incarnation.
According to a report on Sherdog.com and multiple sources MMAWeekly.com spoke with Tuesday night, the Aug. 1 card’s headlining bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett will be scrapped just days before it was scheduled to grace the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Sherdog.com report cited multiple sources that said the California State Athletic Commission would not license Barnett due to a “positive test result,” presumably on the athlete’s pre-fight medical paperwork.
Barnett initially said he was unaware of the denial, but later added, “no matter what happens with this, I can assure you I will clear my name. This will not be something that I am defined by.”
Barnett’s manager, Shannon Hooper, did not respond to messages requesting comment on the situation.
Bill Douglas, Assistant Executive Officer of CSAC, wrote in an email to MMAWeekly.com that a “comprehensive statement” regarding the matter would be released on Wednesday.
Affliction representatives are currently working on a replacement opponent for Emelianenko, and sources have named Vitor Belfort and Bobby Lashley as potential replacements. However, Lashley told Sherdog that he was unprepared to step up on such short notice.
“I don’t know if I would want it right now,” said Lashley, who recently signed a deal with pro wrestling promotion Total Nonstop Action, which still allows him to compete in MMA. “Since the last fight, I haven’t really been into training again. That fight is next week. That would be something I would really have to take a look at. To just jump in there probably wouldn’t be the smartest thing for me right now.”
Additional sources told MMAWeekly.com that while middleweight Belfort had agreed in principle to step up two weight classes to face Emelianenko, he had not yet fully committed to the fight and was weighing his options Tuesday evening. However, the search for a potential replacement for Belfort is also underway.
Representatives for Emelianenko and Affliction did not respond to messages requesting comment.
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for further developments.