The California State Athletic Commission has granted Josh Barnett a license for his upcoming fight on May 19 for Strikeforce against Daniel Cormier.
At a special hearing held on Monday, the commissioners questioned Barnett, who had his license denied in the state after a positive drug test prior to his scheduled fight against Fedor Emelianenko in the Affliction promotion in 2009.
By a vote of 4 to 2, the commission granted Barnett a license for the fight with special conditions. The two commissioners who voted against the licensure were Mike Munoz and Eugene Hernandez.
The hearing lasted nearly an hour with the commissioners questioning Barnett about his positive test for steroids back in 2002 when fighting for the UFC, as well as his positive test in 2009 when the California commission denied his license for the fight with Emelianenko.
Barnett denied ever taking any steroids in 2009 and says getting the call that there was a positive test was like a punch to the gut.
“I can’t speak on the test itself, what I can say is I didn’t knowingly or intentionally ingest steroids. I did not take steroids. I do not know how a steroid got into my system. There could be a potential of a tainted supplement, there could be a potential of the machines perhaps not being cleaned in between usage, there’s a myriad of factors that could go into this, but I know for one, I did not take steroids,” Barnett said.
“Getting that phone call was, I just hope you don’t have to feel a feeling that sinking in your life.”
Commissioner Eugene Hernandez continued to hammer away at Barnett for the past positive tests, but ultimately the commission opted to grant him a license once the motion was levied by Commissioner John Frierson.
“The commission has voted to grant you a license, but they will require random biological fluid testing prior to your participation in any event in California. The timing of that biological fluid testing will be at the discretion of the staff,” read the decision from the commission.
Barnett did take a drug test prior to Monday’s meeting and the results came back negative for any performance enhancing substances. He will be subject to further pre-fight testing at the commission’s discretion.
While Barnett said his contract to fight Daniel Cormier on May 19 has not been signed, he understands that another positive test would be devastating and stated he ‘might as well take my boots and hang them up’ if that happened. Obviously, Barnett was more than confident that another test would not come back positive.
He also promised to make believers out of the two commissioners who voted against his license approval, and hoped to see them at the fight, which is currently scheduled for May 19, most likely in San Jose, Calif.
“This is a privelege not a right and I never saw it as such. I intend to make everybody on this commission as well as you Miss Chappelle happy with your decisions, but especially those Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Munoz, I want to make believers out of you that is more important to me than anything else,” Barnett stated.
Barnett will now prepare to face Daniel Cormier on May 19 for the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.