Josh Barnett approves of USADA’s new revisions, but does not expect to see him fighting under USADA jurisdiction anytime soon.
Barnett (35-8) recently signed with Bellator and is set to headline Bellator’s Salute the Troops event in Honolulu, Hawaii opposite Ronny Markes (19-7). “The Warmaster” has had bad blood with USADA and spoke with Bloody Elbow about USADA’s policy changes.
“I’m glad they did it. It’s the most sensible and efficient and effective thing they’ve done. Surprisingly so because bureaucracy generally do not make any adjustments whatsoever. When they do it’s so hastily and clumsily done it does more damage,” Barnett said. “It’s about implementing a fair and just system across the board. To give everyone the same playing field.”
“I read [the revisions] and I think they appear to be very, very reasonable to be honest. They are far more real-world pragmatic. Which to me, if you’re trying to do such a system, that should be a consideration of the utmost importance. As for how that plays into my feelings about my own struggles with them, well, if anything it just reaffirms what I believed from the very get go,” he continued. “I wouldn’t say it’s a positive thought but I’m glad something has been done to help make things more clear and more streamlined and more pragmatic for those who are going to be working USADA. Hopefully, they won’t have to go two years battling with these people to the point where they have to take them to court.”
Moving forward, the former UFC heavyweight champion would like to see some sort of retroactive pardon for those penalized under the old USADA policy.
“They’ve employed these standards. If these are now the acceptable way of implementing their system, what does that mean for all the people they have penalized in the past?” Barnett asked. “For one, I believe they probably have samples that they can test... or at least they have data on it. If it falls under their current guidelines — and also with things they’ve done with Jon Jones and other recent high-profile, high-dollar interests, then they need to retroactively apply those across the board. That means remove those suspensions, remove those penalties.”
Barnett would also like to see some money: “In a perfect world, in my opinion, these people owe me money. But what are you gonna do?”
Whether or note USADA changes their policy won’t affect Barnett much in the long run. That is because he has no intention of every fighting under their jurisdiction again.
“From my own personal experiences with them, and one individual I was actually in touch with: no. From how I know people operate, especially within bureaucratic systems, no, I really wouldn’t. I don’t trust that they would be fair and impartial in their implementation,” he asserted. “There is no way I will ever put my career in their hands ever again.”
Barnett fights Markes at Bellator’s Salute the Troops event in Honolulu, Hawaii on Dec. 20. He will host his third official Bloodsport wrestling-MMA hybrid event on April 2 at The Cuban Club in Tampa, Florida.