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Maggie Hendricks

After positive drug test, Barnett is rightfully worried about legacy

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

"I do not long to be a happy idiot again for all the insistence of others. Is it not better to suffer in some way to know that resolution lies on its path? Knowing who you are, what you stand for and what you need are vastly overlooked and paid off with the currency of counterfeit happiness." -- Josh Barnett

I had been working on a post about how Josh Barnett is one of the most fascinating people in MMA. The fact that he speaks Japanese fluently, that he's been successful, simultaneously, in MMA and professional wrestling, his career record of facing some of the most important fighters in the sport, drinking history with Fedor and so much more about the "Baby-Faced Assasin" fascinates me. MMA is rife with fighters who are so focused on their craft that they are downright boring. But Barnett? He is the antithesis of boring.

That's why the news that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug was so upsetting to hear. True, he had been stripped of his UFC belt due to a positive drug test, and he has fought extensively in Japan where he was not drug tested. But his last two fights were in Calfornia -- the same state who suspended his license in this case -- and he passed those drug tests.

Barnett said that he doesn't want this to be his legacy, but that's unlikely. He is appealing the suspension, but unless he is exonerated publicly, he will be considered a juicer. A two-time suspension will do that to you. Barnett insists that he has done nothing wrong:

What I can say is that when applying for my license, the CSAC asked for me to submit a urine sample for testing prior to granting my license as they do with everyone, I believe ... I never once thought there would be a problem ... My representatives and I are working to gather as much info as possible and handle this situation as best as we can. I am embarrassed and want for nothing more than to resolve this issue and receive a license from the State of California as I have done many times already and for other states as well.

It's hard to look at an athlete the same after he has tested positive for PEDs. Barnett has had two tests come back positive, so it's unlikely that all MMA fans will trust him again. If he cares about that trust, he will have to prove not only that he is fascinating, but also that he works hard and wants to win fairly.

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