There has been no reason given yet for the release, as neither the UFC or Barnett have commented publicly on the matter. The report from MMA Junkie also states that there are no restrictions on Barnett after being released, which means that he can choose to sign with whatever promotion of the former champions choosing. Barnett has just picked up a huge victory over USADA, having a potential suspension turned away by an independent arbitrator, which left the former champion free to fight in the UFC again.
Barnett won three of five during a second run with the UFC, with those victories coming over the trio of Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and Andrei Arlovski. The fighters last bout with the promotion came almost two years ago at UFC Fight Night 93, where he defeated the aforementioned Andrei Arlovski by third round submission.
It was at UFC 36 in March of 2002 when Barnett claimed the UFC Heavyweight Title, defeating former two division UFC champion and UFC Hall Of Fame member Randy Couture by second round TKO.
A short time after the original story above was posted, it bwas revealed by Barnett through an interview with ESPN that he requested a release from the UFC due to apparent mistrust with USADA.
“It’s true that I have asked for my release, and we are discussing the terms now,” Barnett said. “Zuffa (parent company of the UFC) has been fantastic and above-board since I re-signed with the company (in 2013). Every promise made has been kept, and I have no disparaging words for them. After everything I went through with USADA, and my vindication in that case, I don’t feel comfortable giving the control necessary to USADA that would continue my career in the UFC.”