After a little over a year in the wilderness, Josh Barnett is free to continue his UFC career.
Following an arbitration hearing in his USADA doping case, Barnett was issued with a public reprimand. USADA announced on Friday that there will be no additional suspension handed out and Barnett is eligible for an immediate return to action.
The outcome represents the first time an athlete has tested positive for a performance enhancing substance and has not received a suspension since the partnership between the UFC and USADA began in 2015.
Barnett tested positive for Osterine in an out of competition test in December 2016. Both Barnett and his team protested his innocence throughout the process and were able to demonstrate to the arbitrator that the Osterine originated from a tainted supplement.
“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.” USADA confirmed in their announcement.
Barnett’s arbitration case was heard by Richard H McLaren who made the following declaration when announcing his decision.
“On the evidence before me, the Applicant is not a drug cheat,” wrote McLaren. “He unknowingly ingested a Contaminated Product. In doing so, he did commit an ADPV because he had a Prohibited Substance in his Sample but he did not actively engage in attempting, in any way, to engage in the use of a Prohibited Substance.”
40-year-old Barnett hasn’t fought since he earned a third round submission win over former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in September 2016. Speaking via twitter after the outcome of his case was announced, the one time UFC champion declared his intention to return to action in the near future.