Josh Barnett is taking his talents over to Bellator MMA.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion literally inked a deal with the Viacom-owned promotion on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show earlier today (Mon., April 1, 2019), confirming that his most recent six-year run inside the Octagon has indeed come to an end.
And no, it’s not an April Fool’s joke:
Barnett was last seen defeating Andrei Arlovski at UFC Fight Night 93 in September of 2016. Three months later, he was notified of a potential United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) violation.
After sitting on the sidelines for two years due to the failed drug test, it was ultimately revealed that the positive findings were the result of a contaminated substance, which prompted “The Warmaster” to unleash hell on USADA and its process.
Soon thereafter, Barnett requested his release from UFC due to his distrust in USADA and revealed plans to sue the company behind the contaminated substance.
With Barnett already having a good working relationship with Scott Coker due to their time together under the now-defunct Strikeforce banner, the pairing seems like a perfect fit. Interestingly enough, Bellator just recently concluded its Heavyweight Grand Prix, which saw Ryan Bader win it all by knocking out Fedor Emelianenko in the very first round (relive it again here).
With Bellator’s determination to bolster up its 265-pound division, Josh will have plenty of challenges waiting for him. As far as his promotional debut, Barnett hinted at the possibility of June 22 in London.
Any suggestions as to who should welcome him in?