Heavyweight legend Josh Barnett is no longer a member of the UFC roster.
Barnett officially announced his UFC exit through a formal statement on Sunday, after his five-year affiliation with the international mixed martial arts organization, according to MMAjunkie.
In Barnett’s dramatic statement, he mentioned that he appreciates his UFC reign and believes they have “a structure in place to create their stories.” Despite this, the MMA veteran now thinks this story isn’t his anymore.
“The Warmaster” says he will still continue his fighting career though, beyond that, he hasn’t yet figured any succeeding move.
Barnett’s USADA petition
The 40-year old fighter is also seeking for an explanation from the United States Anti-Doping Agency on how they managed a recent failed test. This alleged error has him on a provisional suspension from the competition.
“The debacle with USADA over the last year and a half has also influenced my decision to exit the UFC. Their dogged insistence to punish me for what they absolutely knew was an issue of contamination was unethical. By trying to manufacture any reason they could legitimize to increase sanctions against me was unacceptable. For their stance to necessitate my retaining counsel and do legal battle with them in the presence of an arbitrator was unnecessary. They preferred an adversarial to a just and fair process.”
“I cannot in good conscience trust them to act in good faith or perhaps may even wish to look to enact some sort of vengeance in an attempt to cancel out my victory against them in arbitration. It’s not the kind of environment that I want to spend the final years of my career in.”
Since 1997, Barnett has been a professional MMA fighter with a win-loss record of 35-8. He seized the UFC heavyweight belt at UFC 36, winning against Randy Couture.
However, after testing positive for a banned substance, the combat star also tested positive for other illegal substances. This was before a scheduled 2009 Affliction fight with Fedor Emelianenko, halting the competition.
Due to such matter, Barnett was stripped of this title and he would go on to compete in the PRIDE, Affliction, and Strikeforce organizations among others, before returning to the UFC in 2013.
Despite these unfortunate occurrences, the former UFC champ chose to end his statement by reiterating his gratitude. Barnett also mentioned his plan of carving out a new chapter in his legacy independently.
“There are a lot of stories left to tell with my career. And I want to be the one to determine them without influence. To do that fully I need to go it alone, I have to be the architect of my destiny. To traversing battlefields far and wide. The UFC has been very good to me and a great place to fight. But what time I have left in this sport I need to be the one calling the shots and creating the battle plans.”
Read the entirety of Barnett’s statement here: