Instead of accepting any form of punishment from USADA, a confident Barnett would take his case to an independent arbitrator.
The move would turn out to be a successful one for the former champion, because the independent arbitrator ruled that USADA should issue a public reprimand to the fighter and nothing more.
USADA would issue the following statement on the ruling:
USADA announced today that an independent arbitrator has rendered a decision in the case of UFC® athlete Josh Barnett, of Fullerton, Calif., and determined that Barnett should receive a public reprimand for his anti-doping policy violation. This decision comes after the facts of the case were fully briefed and presented at an evidentiary hearing on March 6, 2018.
Barnett, 40, tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on December 9, 2016. Ostarine is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Ostarine, also known as MK-2866 and Enobosarm, is a non-FDA approved selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that is illegally sold in the United States and worldwide as a performance-enhancing substance. Ostarine is not currently available as a prescription medication in any country, and its unauthorized use may carry serious side effects. Nonetheless, ostarine has been found as a declared and undeclared ingredient in many dietary supplements sold in the United States, which has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warning letters to specific dietary supplement manufacturers stating that ostarine is an unapproved new drug and that selling the drug is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. More information about the risks of ostarine can be found through a USADA athlete advisory.
Given the source was established to be a contaminated supplement, along with the athlete’s care and diligence concerning the nutritional products consumed, the arbitrator determined that a public reprimand was appropriate.
The case was heard and the decision rendered by Richard H. McLaren, chief arbitrator from McLaren Global Sport Solutions, Inc. (MGSS), and can be found here, along with all other UFC Anti-Doping Policy arbitral decisions.
USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. In an effort to aid UFC athletes, as well as their support team members, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on the UFC Anti-Doping Program website (https://UFC.USADA.org) regarding the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (https://UFC.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, and periodic athlete alerts.
Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at [email protected], by phone at 1877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253), or by mail.
Barnett is now free to resume his professional MMA career whenever he pleases, but it will still be with the UFC, since the fighter is still under a deal with the promotion. The fighter was last seen in action at UFC Fight Night 93, defeating former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski by third round submission.
Pro wrestling fans will get the next chance to see Barnett, who joins Jim Ross at the commentary booth for NJPW Strong Style Evolved, which takes place this Sunday Night.