UFC heavyweight Josh Barnett has become the first and only UFC competitor to ever go up against USADA and return without a lengthy suspension. Now Barnett has come forward with a few critical words concerning the anti-doping watch dogs.
Barnett tested positive for Ostarine back in 2016, leading to a possible four-year ban for the fighter. After going through arbitration with USADA, Barnett was dealt no suspension and simply given a public reprimand. Speaking to ESPN after the fact, Barnett offered a piece of his mind.
“It felt like [USADA was saying], ‘OK, he’s proved this was a tainted supplement; how do we go after him another way?’ They were just moving the goalposts back until they had something, which is incredibly backward from this idea of creating an equitable, fair environment.”
“Maybe [USADA] felt I was someone who would look good to punish, but more likely I think it’s the concept of results. I think the best results this program could have is no one tests positive anymore — that the system works and people operate within it.”
“But I think we got hung up on the negative, this idea of finding offenders and issuing punishments. The punishments have somehow become an indicator of how well the program is performing, more than anything else.”
“Bureaucracies are big, unwieldy animals that hardly ever shrink or alter their course, but I do hope my case changes some things.”
“It’s difficult enough to have to sit out and wait and have these supplements tested. That is hard enough for a fighter. For an agency to then try and find ways to punish them or create a guilty party out of it, it’s excessive.”