UFC

Extra drug testing required for Barnett

Josh Barnett celebrates after defeating Frank Mir
Josh Barnett has been licensed for UFC 168, but will require extra drug testing.
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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Josh Barnett will be subject to extensive drug testing both prior to and after his UFC 168 matchup with Travis Browne on Dec. 28. The Nevada state athletic commission requested it as part of Barnett’s license approval at a meeting held on Thursday at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas.

Barnett, who appeared with his attorneys at the hearing, agreed to the request for extra testing due to his past drug test failures. He flunked tests for steroids in 2001, 2002 and 2009.

From now until Dec. 28, he will undergo enhanced, World Anti-Doping Agency lab-approved drug testing with random screenings. As part of his license agreement, he will also be subject to random urinalysis screenings through the end of 2014, whether he fights in the state or not.

“At this point, this is sort of your last hurrah in front of this commission,” commission member Skip Avansino told Barnett before laying out his motion.

Barnett quickly agreed with all of the requests made of him.

“To my understanding, I would be the first actual random tested, WADA-certified tested athlete in the sport of mixed martial arts,” Barnett said, adding how ironic it would be that given his history, he would be the first to take part in random, year-round testing.

The UFC, which was represented at the meeting by vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner, agreed to pay the nearly $20,000 cost for the enhanced testing.

The agreement followed a somewhat tense start, with several commissioners questioning Barnett about his past indiscretions, including his failed 2009 test, which came in California, but after Nevada had relicensed him three years prior, a fact which several commission found embarrassing.

Barnett acknowledged that he’d made several mistakes in the past, but maintained that his 2001 and 2002 failed tests were due to legal supplements that were later reclassified as steroids, and that his 2009 test was due to contaminated supplements. He also said he would participate in any drug testing to prove he was clean and qualify to fight in the state.

The commission noted he had already passed an Oct. 15 drug screening.

The commission also requested that Barnett’s opponent Browne enroll in the enhanced testing program as well, but it was not clear if his participation was mandatory.

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