Josh Barnett Issues Statement After Arbitrator Rules He is ‘Not a Drug Cheat’

Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett has been on the sidelines since Dec. 9, 2016, when US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) officials announced that an out-of-competition drug test had been flagged as a potential violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy.

USADA on Friday issued a statement indicating that an independent arbitrator had found that the violation stemmed from a contaminated substance, ruling that Barnett deserved no further punishment than a public reprimand.

“Barnett, 40, tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on December 9, 2016. Ostarine is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List,” USADA officials wrote in its statement on Friday.

Josh Barnett“Given the source was established to be a contaminated supplement, along with the athlete’s care and diligence concerning the nutritional products consumed, the arbitrator determined that a public reprimand was appropriate.”

Though Barnett was effectively cleared of any intentional wrongdoing – the arbitrator went so far as to declared Barnett “is not a drug cheat” – he spent 15 months under a provisional suspension, unable to compete in mixed martial arts.

Following USADA’s statement announcing the arbitrator’s findings and Barnett’s punishment of a public reprimand, Barnett issued a statement of his own, indicating that he plans to continue with his fighting career.

“I proved my innocence, as I stated from the beginning, and now I can look towards getting back in the ring in the neat future,” Barnett wrote on Twitter.

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“The time I lost though can never be regained. It should not have had to come to all of this. Ever onwards…”

Barnett last fought in the UFC Fight Night 93 main event on Sept. 3, 2016, in Hamburg, Germany, where he submitted fellow former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. Arlovski has fought four times since he lost to Barnett.