Josh Barnett Cleared to Return to UFC After Arbitration with USADA Over Doping Case

Josh Barnett is free to return to action after receiving a public reprimand from USADA after the former heavyweight champion went to arbitration over his doping case

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Josh Barnett can finally resume his UFC career.

The former heavyweight champion has been sidelined since Dec. 9, 2016 when USADA officials announced that an out of competition drug test had been flagged as a potential violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy.

Barnett has remained unavailable while on a provisional suspension before eventually going to arbitration with USADA over the positive drug test.

Now USADA officials have announced that an independent arbitrator has decided that Barnett deserved a public reprimand for his positive drug test but no further punishment would be handed down.

“Barnett, 40, tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on December 9, 2016. Ostarine is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List,” USADA officials wrote in a statement on Friday.

“Given the source was established to be a contaminated supplement, along with the athlete’s care and diligence concerning the nutritional products consumed, the arbitrator determined that a public reprimand was appropriate.”

In the final verdict presented by the arbitrator, Barnett was cleared of any wrongdoing after meticulously cataloguing all of his supplements and even keeping small amounts of every product he used so those could be tested should a problem like this arise.

The arbitration panel felt that Barnett did everything possible to prevent using a banned substance yet he was still ultimately the victim of a contaminated product.

“On the evidence before me, the applicant is not a drug cheat,” the final arbitration ruling said about Barnett. “He unknowingly ingested a contaminated product. In so doing, he did commit an [anti-doping policy violation] because he had a prohibited substance in his sample but he did not actively engage in attempting, in any way, to engage in the use of the prohibited substance.”

Unfortunately, Barnett has still missed out on more than a year of potential fights due to his ongoing battle to clear his name. Still the end result is that Barnett will face no punishment, fines or suspensions and he’s free to resume his career with the UFC.

Now that Josh Barnett is back in the UFC, who would you like to see him face next? Sound off in the comments and let us know!