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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

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What to make of the Josh Barnett story regarding a reported failed CSAC drug test

By Zach Arnold | July 21, 2009

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Sherdog reports that either Vitor Belfort or Bobby Lashley will get a chance to face Fedor. If I’m Belfort, I take that fight immediately no matter what the outcome is. This would be a golden ticket for him and could you imagine what Dana White would be willing to pay him if he somehow pulled off the upset? UFC would mark out like crazy. As for Lashley, avoid this fight at all costs. No reason to take it. I disagree with Dave Meltzer’s assertion that Lashley would be in a no-lose situation taking the fight.

Fightlinker sums up the Barnett story in a simple manner.

Barnett was scheduled for day two of a two-day conference call session that starts on Wednesday to hype up the upcoming Affliction event. When asked whether or not audio of the conference call would be available to members of the media, the PR staff said ‘no audio.’

There is a bigger lesson to be learned here when thinking about this story. The lesson to be learned is that out-of-competition drug testing works and that drug testing right before and right after a fight is nice and everything, but it doesn’t ultimately catch a lot of the cheaters. Drug testing at events makes for nice PR more than it does make for great policy.

Which is something that Ivan Trembow has long-focused on and deserves a lot of credit for. Nevada was the first to push for out-of-competition drug testing, but the commission (lead by Keith Kizer) has been all over the place in terms of being inconsistent of enforcing the policy. You don’t know what events or if/when it will happen with the NSAC, whereas California (a bankrupt state I know much about) even in a bad fiscal situation managed to do out-of-competition drug testing.

So now that out-of-drug competition has allegedly busted a prominent fighter, let’s see which MMA writers want to step up to the plate and actually start asking legitimately tough questions to athletic commissioners about the implementation of out-of-competition drug testing. If MMA wants to be taken as a serious sport and athletic commissioners want to be fully trusted by the public as opposed to being little more than glorified PR spokespeople for promoters who pay a % of the event gates, then the focus by hardcore MMA fans and writers should be on enforcing a consistent out-of-competition drug testing policy. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Topics: Affliction, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 89 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

89 Responses to “What to make of the Josh Barnett story regarding a reported failed CSAC drug test”

  1. sheldon says:

    RE: 46 – Straka’s suggestion to give Tito Ortiz a boat load of money to fight Fedor is intriguing.

  2. Alan Conceicao says:

    Actual journalists have to live up to some sort of ethical standard. Message board posters don’t. Its pretty much that simple. If she does work for Zuffa, then she has vested interest in wanting Affliction gone. Why would I take her seriously?

  3. Meltzer didn’t say that himself. He said that Josh Barnett is stating that as fact.

    Meltzer also pointed out that the CSAC previously released information that Barnett was the first person to undergo OOC testing. Sherdog is also reporting the same thing.

    There is a conflict in what Barnett and the CSAC is stating.

  4. TOM says:

    Barnett needs a new doping coach. Send him my e-mail, Zach. He will not fail another drug test.

  5. Ultimo Santa says:

    Just to play Devil’s advocate…

    1. Barnett is smart. Definitely too smart to get caught TWICE for ‘roids.

    2. He knew the testing date in advance.

    3. The drug testing system is definitely flawed (no one has really even argued this point).

    Is it *possible* that Barnett was taking over-the-counter supplements that caused a false positive?

    I know he’s been caught with a positive before, but that makes it doubly strange that he would risk getting caught a second time, especially right before the biggest fight of his career.

    I would rather hear more evidence from both sides before jumping the gun (of course I know that’s what message boards are for, so go ahead and make offensive comments all you want…I’d rather just wait for facts rather than more speculation).

  6. David M says:

    Sounds fishy. Maybe he got Sherk’d and the CSAC screwed up again. Barnett doesn’t exactly look like a roider..

  7. Ivan Trembow says:

    Gotta love the irony of some people saying that a Fedor-Belfort heavyweight fight would be ridiculous due to the 25-pound difference in walking-around weight, when those same people didn’t say that the Lesnar-Couture heavyweight fight was ridiculous due to the 50-pound difference in walking-around weight.

  8. Ivan Trembow says:

    And for the love of god, Sherk did not get screwed by the athletic commission. He tried to blame it on contaminated testing equipment… as if that would explain why his “A Sample” tested positive for steroids in one testing location, and then his “B Sample” tested positive for the same amount of the same steroids even though it was tested several weeks later in a different location. What a magical coincidence that both labs were contaminated with the exact same amounts of the exact same steroids, several weeks apart!

  9. smoogy says:

    Cindy O is a credible source? You have to be joking.

  10. Wolverine says:

    Let Fedor fight Jay Hieron so there is the same difference as in Couture vs. Lesnar. Weight classes are just useless.

  11. 45 Huddle says:

    Ivan,

    There is a major difference and you know it.

    1) Randy Couture was the CURRENT Heavyweight Champion when that fight took place, having already defeated one 265 pound Top 10 Heavyweight (Sylvia) rather recently.

    2) Vitor Belfort has been training this entire time for Middleweight. You do different things to your body in order to get your weight down properly. Which means he will not be holding the frame of a Heavyweight.

    3. Vitor Belfort went on record saying he didn’t even want to fight at LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT anymore. And now all of a sudden there is talk about him competing at Heavyweight?

    If the UFC pulled this, people would be complaining for months.

    Fedor needs to be fighting Heavyweights, not Middleweights.

  12. Ivan Trembow says:

    I’d much rather see Fedor fight Brett Rogers than Vitor Belfort, I just find it ironic that people are complaining about the weight difference IF they didn’t also complain about a twice-as-big weight difference. Belfort did say in recent weeks that he wanted to fight Fedor, but otherwise wanted to focus on the middleweight division.

    Saying, “OMG! Heavyweight vs. Middleweight!” just demonstrates an ignorance of weight cutting in MMA (ie, how much the average middleweight fighter weighs going into a fight vs. how much a fairly small heavyweight weighs going into a fight). Another example would be if a fight was signed between Anderson Silva and Fedor, which is a fight that the UFC is interested in, according to the Wrestling Observer. The storyline going into that fight would be, “OMG! Heavyweight vs. Middleweight!” even though Fedor and Silva are within ten pounds of each other in weight-at-fight-time and even though it would be Silva who would actually have the longer reach in that fight. But never mind that. “OMG! Heavyweight vs. Middleweight!”

  13. ajz123 says:

    It hasn’t really started yet, but when will people start to criticize Fedor accepting a fight against an unworthy opponent? My bet is DW gets the ball rolling on that. I personally would rather him not fight at all than fight Belfort or Lashley, or even Werdum. He has absolutely nothing to gain. Another first round annihilation would be entirely dismissed as meaningless. Thank you Josh Barnett. If I were Fedor, I wouldn’t be your friend anymore.

  14. Mark says:

    One hilarious name Affliction was tossing about according to Meltzer was apparently Daniel Puder. You know, the guy who got 15 minutes of fame for armbarring Kurt Angle on a “shoot” fight on WWE television, then demonstrated submissions on Costa Rican models for BoDog’s godawful TV show a few years ago? He would be destroyed in the blink of an eye. What the hell was Affliction thinking, nobody remembers who he is in 2009.

  15. 45 Huddle says:

    Is Puder even still fighting?

    According to MMAJunkie, Rogers & Werdum have been ruled out. Which means it’s likely going to be Buentello, Lashley, or Belfort. None of them are acceptable.

    Ivan,

    There are a reasons for weight classes. If there were not, they wouldn’t have them. It would be one thing if Belfort had been successful at the higher weights, but he was not. He failed at Heavyweight, so he cut to Light Heavyweight. He failed at Light Heavyweight, so now he is cutting to Middleweight. And now they want him fighting the best guy two weight classes above? And after he wouldn’t even acceptt a fight at Light Heavyweight due to the weight difference? No way.

  16. Mark says:

    Yes, he fights on Strikeforce undercards as heavyweight off and on. But against people only the locals know mostly. So going up against Fedor would be suicide.

    Lashley flat out turned it down early according to Meltzer. Smart move.

  17. 45 Huddle says:

    Let me also point out why too much competition in MMA is a bad idea. Unlike the Josh Gross’s of the world who think fighters should be spread out across multiple promoters and with really no brand name recognition (like the UFC)…. It is times like this that showcase why having the top fighters in as few of companies is the optimal solution for both fighters AND fans.

    When fighters get injured in the UFC they typically find good replacements for them (especially at the main event level). They are able to do this because they have so many top guys under contract.

    If Strikeforce and Affliction were one company, with all that talent under one roof, this would not be an issue. Werdum or Rogers would step in and make it at least a legit Heavyweight contest. But Strikeforce has their own agenda and Affliction has theirs. Each promoter does. So when Barnett can’t keep the needles from his behind, we get Fedor vs. a Middleweight likely to happen. That is not fair to Fedor. That is not fair to the fans who purchased tickets to the event.

    I often get bashed for saying we need as close to a centralized MMA company as possible. One company to rule them all, with a union for the fighters to give a proper checks and balances.

    This fiasco is exactly why.

  18. robthom says:

    Lol! I knew he’d weasel out before showtime one way or another!
    Looks like we’ll be subjected to 10 more years of barnett’s phantom top 5 ranking.

  19. Steve4192 says:

    Jeff Monson has apparently thrown his name into the hat.

    I would much rather see Affliction go out and sign someone like Monson rather than screwing up TWO fights by slipping Vitor into that slot. I want to see the Phenom use Santiago’s dome as a speed bag.

  20. Mike Rome says:

    I’d rather see Belfort than Monson. At least Belfort has a puncher’s chance at the beginning of each round, Monson might actually convince me not to buy this show.

    Someone call Ray Mercer

  21. Steve4192 says:

    Alan,

    Love the ‘echo chamber’ metaphor. I forgot all about that rant. I had to go back and look it up. I guess the Kimo thing really did prove my point.

    The hilarious part of the Kimo mess is that OMA (who started the rumor) is a well known troll on the UG. How ANYBODY took his word as gospel is beyond me.

  22. Steve4192 says:

    Mike the problem with using Vitor is that Belfort-Santiago is currently the best fight on the card. If you pull Vitor out of that fight and put him against Fedor, you just screwed up two fights.

    I’d much rather see them salvage the Fedor fight as best they can outside the organization and leave the Belfort-Santiago fight alone.

  23. Mark says:

    Well, this only goes so far. Let’s say Brock or Frank had to pull out of UFC 100 10 days before the fight. That would have been as comparable a disaster as this is. And while obviously they would have tried to talk Nogueira or Couture into taking the spot, then you’d have the other PPV ruined since who would step in to fill their spot? It wouldn’t be as hard, yes, but it also wouldn’t be that much better. Herring is hurt, Kongo and Cro Cop wouldn’t be ready to fight now, and you’d have a bunch of young guys left over too green to be put in the spot like Lashley and Rogers are.

  24. matthew says:

    I really hope the Josh gets no slack on this site because he is friend of the site. There should much outrage and criticism aimed at Barnett for using steroids and for putting the main event at risk. I like Josh as much as most people on this site, but this was a fuck up big time on his part.

  25. Dave2 says:

    Jorge Santiago has a suspect chin and will no doubt get KOed by Belfort so it’s not like that fight will be competitive anyway. Fedor-Belfort might be better than Fedor-Monson simply because Monson doesn’t stand a chance with Fedor at all whereas Belfort could potentially knock out Fedor (he did get rocked by Fujita though after taking a Randleplex on the head and shrugging that off like it’s nothing, it’s clear that Fedor’s brain can absorb a ton of impact). But I suppose if you are really looking forward to seeing Belfort knock out Santiago, then I can see why you wouldn’t want Belfort taking the Fedor fight.

  26. klown says:

    45 wrote:

    >> Let me also point out why too much
    >> competition in MMA is a bad idea.

    >> When fighters get injured in the UFC
    >> they typically find good
    >> replacements for them

    That’s not a good argument for having one promotion monopolizing all the talent.

    It’s actually an argument for why fighters should have the freedom to fight in multiple promotions.

    That’s what’s best for the fighters, and for the fans.

  27. klown says:

    Matthew,

    If I’m not mistaken, Zach is a proponent of super strict sanctions on steroid use in the sport, including lifetime bans for a second or third offense.

    Zach, please correct me if I’m putting words into your mouth.

  28. Dave2 says:

    According to Sherdog (heard on Beatdown), Vitor’s camp has said that he’d come into the fight with Fedor at 215. So Fedor would only have 15-20 pounds on him. Bit surprised that Belfort could get to 215 now on short notice. He probably walks around at 215 outside training (like Anderson Silva) but fighters are lighter when they get into fighting shape in training camp so he’s probably around 200 right now. He’s not a Light Heavyweight anymore.

  29. Ivan Trembow says:

    It amazes me that Affliction is taking more heat for Josh Barnett’s positive steroids test than Josh Barnett himself is taking. Barnett is the one who has placed everyone involved (Fedor, Belfort, Santiago, Affliction, the fans, etc.) in a bad situation.

    Also, regarding Anderson Silva, for what it’s worth, Meltzer has reported in the past that Silva cuts down from 215 pounds to weigh in at 185 pounds when he fights at middleweight; and that he cuts down from 230 points to weigh in at 205 pounds when he fights at light heavyweight (which is not unusual among light heavyweights). Most people whose walking-around weight is 230 pounds (like Fedor) would be fighting at LHW instead of HW. But never mind that. Let’s focus on, “OMG! Heavyweight vs. Middleweight!”

  30. Alan Conceicao says:

    Belfort’s hands are fast, but Arlovski showed how much that means. Belfort’s a much smaller man than Arlovski too. And, most importantly: Belfort hasn’t had a meaningful win above 185 since the robbery of Heath Herring. Monson may “only” be a strong grappler, but being able to get Fedor down and control position whilst defending submissions nearly worked for Mark fuckin’ Hunt.

  31. Dave2 says:

    Yeah the HW vs MW hysteria is overrated. But if Belfort is really going in at 215, Fedor will still have a 15-20 pound advantage just like he did versus Lindland (who was like 214 I think in their fight). That will definitely be a factor in this fight but it’s nowhere as bad as 280-285 vs 220 like we saw with Lesnar vs Couture.

    And I know that Fedor has some baby fat (I think he weighed in at 224 before once and he was at his best shape then. Fedor could easily be a Light Heavyweight if he controlled his diet better) but I don’t think Belfort will be in peak shape at 215 since it takes awhile to build muscle like Anderson Silva did to move up to Light Heavyweight. Some big middleweights may walk around at that weight outside training but there’s no way someone like Anderson Silva is 215 come fight time. More like 200+. Unless you believe the rumors that Thiago Alves is 200 in the Octagon but that sounds ridiculous.

    I really think we need to introduce unofficial fight night weigh-ins in MMA so that we can stop speculating about how big Brock Lesnar, Thiago Alves, Anderson Silva, etc. are and have an accurate weight comparison on the tale of the tape.

  32. Chuck says:

    You know what? I know many people are bitching about the weight difference and asking if the CSAC will sanction the fight. I bet they will, because I remember the tragedy that was Laila Ali vs. Christy Martin, and they were a solid 25-30 pounds from eachother, and that fight was still sanctioned. It was in Mississippi though, but I bet the CSAC won’t mind Vitor Belfort vs. Fedor happening, because Belfort will probably be around 200 lbs. come fight time.

  33. Ivan Trembow says:

    Belfort would be approximately 215 pounds at fight time, according to an interview on Sherdog radio.

  34. robthom says:

    But lol @ Vitor suddenly wearing 215 well in 11 days after training for 185 IMO.

    The Monson alternative actually sounds intriguing though. That would make a UFC worthy save if they would go that route instead.

  35. Dave2 says:

    According to the Bloody Elbow meta-rankings, Monson may be the alternative that makes the most sense. Vitor does have a better chance though so I stick by Fedor-Belfort. It’s not like anyone gives a damn about the WAMMA belt anyway right?

    #2 Barnett: out of the picture
    #3 Mir: UFC(note that these bloodyelbow meta rankings are recent as of June 24)
    #4 Nogueira: UFC
    #5 Lesnar: UFC
    #6 Couture: UFC
    #7 Carwin: UFC
    #8 Rogers: Strikeforce (won’t allow Affliction to borrow him)
    #9 Arlovski: Recent loss to Fedor
    #10 Overeem: Injured
    #11 Velasquez: UFC
    #12 Monson: Available and agreed to fight
    #13 Cro Cop: UFC
    #14 Werdum: Strikeforce (see Rogers)

  36. Ivan Trembow says:

    Fighters cutting weight in the last few days before a weigh-in to make 185 pounds for a middleweight fight, and then walking into the cage/ring at 205+ pounds, is something that is not at all unusual in MMA. In fact, some middleweights walk into the cage at approximately 215 pounds (like Anderson Silva). Weight-cutting routinely goes on to a much greater extent than most people realize.

  37. Ivan Trembow says:

    To clarify, it’s not just middleweights to which this applies.

    Most lightweights go into the cage/ring above the 170-pound welterweight “limit.”

    Most welterweights go into the cage/ring above the 185-pound middleweight “limit.”

    Most middleweights go into the cage/ring within a few pounds in either direction of the 205-pound light heavyweight “limit.”

    Most light heavyweights go into the cage/ring at 220-230 pounds.

    Heavyweights who weigh 220-230 pounds are considered undersized because most people who weigh what they weigh fight at light heavyweight, not at heavyweight.

  38. Black Dog says:

    Well, whether Josh did or didn’t juice, he has a nice payday waiting for him in Japan. Inoki and IGF have made him the face from the first event, pretty much.

    In terms of MMA, yeah; unless his people can come up with compelling evidence to discount the test, Barnett is finished as a serious contender. It’s too bad, because I think he had a strong chance on Aug. 1.

  39. […] status quo). Kizer’s track record has plenty of spots: from the on-again, off-again vaunted off-season drug testing program in MMA (Nevada hasn’t caught one fighter and yet California has been more successful) to a […]

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