Affliction Entertainment and M-1 Global are looking for a new opponent to face Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction “Trilogy” on Aug. 1 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Multiple sources have told Sherdog.com that the California State Athletic Commission will not license Josh Barnett after a positive test result. Calls to Affliction Entertainment were not immediately returned. The CSAC said a comprehensive statement would be issued Wednesday.
Barnett said he had not been notified of any issues with his eligibility as of Tuesday evening.
“I took my test three weeks ago. I would have thought I would have heard something by now,” Barnett told Sherdog.com.
However, the former UFC heavyweight champion said he had not checked his phone messages recently and later added, “No matter what happens with this, I can assure you I will clear my name. This will not be something that I am defined by.”
Vitor Belfort has agreed in principle to face the world’s No. 1 heavyweight on 11 days’ notice, according to two separate sources close to the negotiations. One source told Sherdog.com that Emelianenko will have the opportunity to choose between Belfort and Bobby Lashley. Lashley has denied knowing anything about replacing Barnett, though.
"I don't know if I would want it right now. Since the last fight, I haven't really been into training again," he said. "That fight is next week. That would be something I would really have to take a look at. To just jump in there probably wouldn't be the smartest thing for me right now. A lot of people would say that might be a money fight. They figure, 'If we give him enough money, will he do it?' That's what people tend to look at. I don't want to get into fighting for the money so much right now.”
Belfort, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, is scheduled to face American Top Team standout Jorge Santiago in a middleweight bout on the Aug. 1 card.
Greg Savage, T.J. De Santis and Jeff Sherwood contributed to this report, which was updated at 1:06 a.m. EST with additional information from Lashley.