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Former UFC heavyweight champ Josh Barnett signs with Bellator
Ten months after receiving his release from the UFC, former heavyweight champion Josh Barnett has a new MMA home. Or rather, Barnett is linking up with an old promoter.
The 41-year-old Barnett on Monday signed a new contract with Viacom-owned Bellator fronted by Scott Coker, his former promoter under the now-defunct Strikeforce. A Bellator official subsequently confirmed Barnett’s signing to MMA Junkie after he put pen to paper live on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.”
Barnett (35-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has remained active in professional wrestling and submission grappling after his exit from the UFC, which came after a protracted fight with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Barnett said he didn’t trust USADA after becoming the first UFC fighter to beat the organization in arbitration. In March 2018, he was given only a verbal warning for a positive out-of-competition test that was conclusively linked to a tainted supplement. He currently is suing the supplement maker.
It’s unclear when Barnett will make his Bellator debut. His most recent MMA fight took place in September 2016 at UFC Fight Night 93, where he submitted ex-champ Andrei Arlovski in the third round. His octagon record in his second UFC stint was 3-2.
Under the now-defunct Strikeforce banner, Barnett made it to the finals of a heavyweight grand prix, losing to current UFC heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier.