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No sugar-coated coverage in the Japanese media for Josh Barnett

By Zach Arnold | July 24, 2009

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Amazingly, the major Japanese newspapers (Nikkan Sports, Daily Sports, and Sports Nippon) all played it straight with coverage. You know you are in trouble when phrases like “anabolic steroids,” “failed drug test,” and “drug scandal” are used without any sort of softening by a favorable media corps.

Antonio Inoki said that Barnett would be given a chance to fight on 8/9 in Tokyo at Ariake Colosseum for IGF. For a show that had little-to-no media attention going in, suddenly there will be a lot of focus by the media on Barnett. He will be answering a lot of questions.

Barnett’s drug suspension gained attention because his fight with Fedor was supposed to air on SkyPerfecTV PPV in Japan live. Plus, the show was going to feature Takanori Gomi fighting on the card. The fight between Barnett and Fedor had been marketed in Japan as “The Fight of the Century.”

Topics: Affliction, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 16 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

16 Responses to “No sugar-coated coverage in the Japanese media for Josh Barnett”

  1. Crew says:

    Interesting that a society that has so widely-accepted both PRIDE, which didn’t test for steroids, and puroresu, which features countless gassers, has decided to point fingers @ Barnett in such a manner. Is it possible that they’re vilifying a gaijin who tried so hard to fit in with the Japanese fanbase & culture, or…maybe Inoki still has enough power & behind all of the media so that he’ll draw more people to the IGF show, haha.

  2. PizzaChef says:

    Bit off topic, but Zach, can you remind me why UFC had a grudge against Affliction in the first place? Was it just Affliction deciding to break away from the UFC and try to start promoting their own fights?

  3. capital L says:

    Is IGF strictly pro-wrestling, or do they promote actual fights?

  4. Dan Wilder says:


    It probably had something to do with Todd Beard freaking out when the UFC offered them an olive branch, which was basically the same deal Affliction signed today.

  5. Chuck says:

    “Interesting that a society that has so widely-accepted both PRIDE, which didn’t test for steroids, and puroresu, which features countless gassers, has decided to point fingers @ Barnett in such a manner.”

    The difference is that the deal here with Josh Barnett is that it’s out in the open. Everything that happened with PRIDE and Japanese puroresu companies is behind closed doors. Hell, pro wrestling is treated like a sport in Japan, and most everyone in Japan (I assume) know it’s a work and turn their cheek the other way, so no surprise they turn their cheek to any backdoor bullshit. If they “don’t know”, then they don’t care, if you know what I am saying. A few years ago the Japanese public and media castigated Arashi when a shit-load of weed was found in his car, and his wrestling career was almost finished.

    “Is IGF strictly pro-wrestling, or do they promote actual fights?”

    Strictly pro wrestling, with a shoot flavor. Like UWFi, RINGS, Battlearts, etc.

  6. liger05 says:

    Not sure about fight of the century but I was really looking forward to it. We just found out it was due to be on tv in the UK as well.

    Inoki is probably glad this happened. Nobody gives a damn about IGF and Barnett suddenly being under scrutiny can only be good of his show.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    Makes sense that Inoki would do this. Bad press is better then no press.

    I’ve always looked at steroids in MMA in Japan as a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell type of situation. Where they know it’s going on, but as long as they don’t hear about it, they are okay with it. It’s once they hear about it that it becomes a big deal.

  8. Black Dog says:

    I called it; I knew that Barnett would fight on the IGF card, and I think he would have done so, even if he did fight Fedor.

    Barnett has drifted between worked and shoot matches most of his career, so at least he has somewhere he can go. His wide range of skills is the kind of thing Inoki has always wanted for his promotions.

    But this does leave Josh in a bit of a mess; IGF only does about four to six shows a year, and I don’t see any puro orgs. shelling out money for the guy. Where can he go from here, if the suspension is upheld?

  9. liger05 says:

    I would like to see New Japan get Barnett but certain people in the company dont like him so not gonna happen. It’s not like Dream or Sengoku are blessed with much HW talent so why not get Barnett it in for some shows?

  10. The Citizen says:

    Fedor – Barnet

    Anyone think this can just happen? If Japan is already promoting the Mega Fight of the Year, why not make it happen?

  11. JasonRKline says:


    if it happens barnett is kissing his fight career in USA good bye! I dont think he cares much but i doubt a state would license him for fighting during suspension….

    Well who knows west virgina might allow him back….

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    Based on horrible commission rules, he will still be able to technically fight in the US. However, the UFC is not going to touch him. And I highly doubt Strikeforce will within the next two years.

    Fedor fighting Barnett would lose him a lot of US fans I think.

  13. liger05 says:

    Barnett isnt actually suspended is he.

  14. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I think you’re wrong 45. Fedor’s fans haven’t cared who he fought, where he fought, if he fought, what venue he fought in, who he fought for, how much he fought for, or even what sport he fought in anytime recently, so why would they start now?

    He could fight Kaz Hirai and people would think it was the fight of the year.

  15. Dave2 says:

    I would love to see Fedor vs. Barnett NYE. And since he’s not suspended (because he’s not under license, that’s the same loophole Belfort took advantage of when he went to Cage Rage after getting busted), it can happen without Barnett receiving any punishment from the athletic commissions. But Barnett is a disgraced man in Japan now so would the Japanese even care to see that fight now? Way to ruin your career Josh. He’s not going to have many fans after testing positive TWICE.

  16. The Citizen says:

    A gaijin can be disgraced in Japan and still fight on the card. He is not Japanese — he is a catch-wrestler who is popular in Japan because he is good at what he does.
    I say do this bout in Japan.


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