As it turns out, Josh Barnett isn't out of the woods just yet.
The former UFC heavyweight champion was recently cleared of a violation of the USADA's anti-doping policy with just a public reprimand, but agency officials told MMAWeekly's Damon Martin on Thursday that Barnett had removed himself from its testing pool in late 2016, and must therefore undergo six months' worth of screenings before he can take the cage again.
Barnett has not yet notified the UFC's anti-doping partner of any intentions to re-enter its testing pool, Martin reports.
The 40-year-old was already shelved for 15 months over his ordeal with the USADA, who flagged him in late 2016 for testing positive for banned substance ostarine in an out-of-competition sample. Barnett's flagging was ultimately attributed to a tainted supplement, his meticulous documentation of the research he'd conducted on the products he used prompting an independent arbitrator to hand down just a slap on the wrist.
But despite being vindicated, Barnett will have to spend even more time on the shelf if he aims to keep competing, as the USADA's anti-doping policy requires him to test clean for six months prior to a potential return. In other words, even if he'd re-entered the agency's testing pool upon resolution of his flagging, he wouldn't be cleared to return until the end of September - thereby extending his already lengthy layoff to a full two years.
Barnett last fought at UFC Fight Night 93 in September 2016, when he submitted Andrei Arlovski in the third round. He's competed as a pro wrestler since.