Josh Barnett is working towards receiving his UFC release.
The former heavyweight champion is reportedly working towards getting his release from the promotion after spending the last five years there. MMAJunkie was the first to report the news.
Barnett returned to the Octagon in 2013 has been out of action for nearly two years after having a drug test flagged by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), who oversees the UFC anti-doping policy.
USADA issued a ‘public reprimand’ to Barnett after he failed a drug test in December 2016 but he received no formal punishment after an extensive investigation proved that he was the victim of a tainted supplement and never knowingly took any banned substances. Still the entire process took 15 months to complete as Barnett had to stay out of action while waiting on an arbitration hearing that finally cleared his name.
It appears USADA is the main reason for Barnett seeking his release as he never requested to be re-entered into the drug testing pool following his case being settled.
By all accounts, Barnett maintained a good working relationship with the UFC but he opted not to deal with USADA again after missing 15 months of his career due to an anti-doping violation that was ultimately proven as not his fault.
UFC officials have not made a statement yet regarding Barnett’s pending release.