UFC Still Open to Signing Josh Barnett, but Fine if He Decides To Do His Own Thing

February 13, 2013
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Josh Barnett

Josh Barnett

Former UFC heavyweight titleholder Josh Barnett recently revealed that he turned down an offer made by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but the offer is still on the table if he wants it.

UFC president Dana White told members of the media following the UFC on Fuel TV 7 pre-fight press conference on Wednesday that they’re still open to Barnett becoming part of the UFC roster of heavyweights.

“I haven’t dealt with him at all.  Joe Silva (UFC matchmaker) was dealing with him.  I know there’s an offer on the table for him.  If he wants to take it, it’s been offered.  If not, he’s always been his own guy anyway,” said White.

Barnett fought five times in the UFC Octagon, debuting at UFC 28 in November of 2000.  He captured the heavyweight title at UFC 36, defeating Randy “The Natural” Couture by technical knockout.  He was later stripped of the title after testing positive for a banned substance.  He never returned to the UFC.

He went on to win the Pancrase Open-weight Championship in 2003 and was runner-up in the 2006 Pride Open-weight Grand Prix as well as the 2011 Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

White is fine with whatever decision Barnett ultimately makes.

“It’s up to him.  He’s a big boy.  He’s been around for a long time.  He kind of flies by the seat of his pants I think anyways,” said White.

“Even after he won the title, I mean, imagine if Josh Barnett had stayed in the UFC his whole career, what he could have accomplished? The money he could have made, and all the things that could have happened.  He’s his own guy.  He wants to do his own thing.  I’ve got no problem with that.”

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  • Just sign Barnett. The UFC hw division will not be the same without him.

    • Cereal Killer

      It will be exactly the same without him.

      • The same minus a top 5 hw. Josh Barnett could make a lot of interesting fights in the ufc.

        • Cereal Killer

          Not quite top 5 and we got the guy that just kick his ass! Not saying I don’t want him, but he needs the UFC more than they need him.

          • Anthony Lopez

            Highly disagree. He’s going to make money either way. The UFC’s HW division however, definitely needs him. And even if you don’t agree he’s top 5, he’s damn close

          • Cereal Killer

            Barnett hasn’t beaten a single guy on the top ten list. Just saying.

          • Timothy Malone

            Nogueira is top ten and Barnett beat him

  • DamianCross

    The headline should read “MMA Shocker: Dana White gives honest and subdued comment for the first time ever”

    • b-soc

      I was thinking the exact same thing!

  • The UFC is probably asking him to sign over all rights to his brand ect. like they do with all their fighters. If I was Barnett I would refuse to do that. The UFC HW division needs Josh Barnett, in his last fight with Cormier he fought the final 4 rounds of their fight with an extreme broken hand, I think Barnett would win in a rematch.

    • Cereal Killer

      Then go fight… nowhere? As far as MMA, there is only one HW division now.

    • rampage

      i agree they probably gave him a lowball offer and said theres 25 people waiting to take your place. lol

  • Timothy Malone

    I was a Josh Barnett fan but now I’m becoming annoyed with him. Obviously we dont know the details of the contract but if he doesn’t fight in the UFC then I doubt I will be interested in watching him anymore.

    • eric

      And thats exactly whats wrong with most fans. Just like you they’re ufc fans and not mma fans. Saying you wont be interested in him if he werent in the ufc just shows you’re a typical zuffa zombie and if you were to make that statement to any fighter they would bitch slap you.

      • Timothy Malone

        I am an MMA fan. I like to see the best MMA fights. What fights outside of the UFC are you pumped to see with Josh Barnett? It doesnt make you a zuffa zombie to recognize the best fighters are in the UFC. That’s just the facts.

        • DamianCross

          No, that’s just marketing. Just because Zuffa claims they have the best fighters doesn’t mean that they do. There are strong fighters all over the world, and MMA is interesting at all levels and genders.

  • Stefano ‘Zwonimir’ Sega Nogaro

    sick of the fact that every fighter must go to UFC to face top competition despite the fact that UFC doesn’t give better contracts compared to the competitors …

    Bibiano Fernandes that prefer ONE FC and Dream to UFC is just an indicator, hope that Barnett will move to Japan fighting with Satoshi Ishii and CroCop.

  • See you in Japan Josh…That’s where you like to be anyways so you can dominate the 2nd and 3rd tier guys. He doesn’t seem to like being thrown around like a school girl with the big boys in the UFC…Cormier showed him where he stands with this group of Heavy weights.

  • Ekellz

    You all make good points.. But here’s a few truths. I don’t know what they offered him, but obviously they don’t see the marketability or drawing power of him YET, to give him more than whatever they offered. Barnett has stated several times that he’s a fighter first and would fight for a bag of chips given the opportunity to step in the ring with another man and smash him. The man lost in his last fight, were frankly, he looked bad. No matter the reason (broken hand etc..). And I don’t care what he does in Japan, CLEARLY, the toughest competition is here in the US. No MMA ighter will get more money, fame, and prestige than being a UFC Champion. I’ll admit, maybe certain guys feel they should be making more, blah, blah, blah.. I feel that way about my job too. But at the end of the day, you’re performing on THEIR stage, which costs an incredible amount of money to maintain for the good of EVERYONE, under its banner. Do the executives make more than everyone else.. SURE! Because they took all the monetary risks to keep it going when they were losing boatloads of money early on.