Update: Barnett Out of Fedor Fight

By Loretta Hunt Jul 22, 2009
Affliction Entertainment Vice President Tom Atencio confirmed Wednesday to Sherdog.com that Josh Barnett has been pulled from an Aug. 1 matchup against Fedor Emelianenko.

The fight was scheduled to headline Affliction and M-1 Global’s “Trilogy” event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., but Atencio said that the California State Athletic Commission will not license Barnett because he has tested positive for a banned substance.

“At this point, the California Athletic Commission has taken two samples and, it’s my understanding, they’re in the process of checking the second sample,” said Atencio, who did not sound hopeful during a Wednesday conference call that the second sample would clear Barnett to fight.

Atencio could not confirm what the banned substance was.

Sherdog.com reported Tuesday that Vitor Belfort has agreed in principle to face Fedor, according to two sources close to the negotiations. Bobby Lashley has also been considered, but he denied knowing anything about replacing Barnett.

“I’ve got three people I am speaking with,” Atencio said. “… Negotiations are in place, but until I have a contract finalized and it’s done, I’m just not going to say anything. It just doesn’t make any sense to get anybody’s hopes up.”

Atencio said finding an opponent for Fedor has not been a problem and that the No. 1-ranked heavyweight will fight anyone.

“It’s just (about) making sure we give the fans the best opponent possible for Fedor,” Atencio said. “He was fighting Josh Barnett, the number two fighter in the world. Now we have run into a little bit of a snag, and we’re correcting it.”

This article was updated at 5:15 p.m. EST with additional quotes from Atencio. Joe Hall and Greg Savage contributed to this report.
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