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Friday, July 24, 2009
California Commission Explains Why Josh Barnett Has Not Been Suspended
by Ivan Trembow

Some MMA fans have been wondering why Josh Barnett is not being suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for his recent positive test for an anabolic steroid. The answer is that Barnett has no license for the CSAC to suspend.

As the CSAC's Assistant Executive Officer, Bill Douglas, said, "It's impossible to suspend someone for something that they do not possess."

Barnett's CSAC license expired after his fight with Gilbert Yvel earlier this year. He requested a renewal of his expired license, and that request was denied as a result of his failed drug test.

While the CSAC can (and has) denied Barnett's request for a renewal of his license, they can't suspend his license due to the fact that he doesn't have one.

I asked the CSAC's Douglas specifically, "If Barnett did currently have a CSAC license, would it have been suspended? In other words, is it only because of the fact that he did not have an active CSAC license that he's not being suspended?" Douglas said, "Yes, there is nothing to suspend."

What's next for Josh Barnett? Well, the fact that he happened to be in between active CSAC licenses will mean that he won't have to wait 12 months before he can re-apply to receive a license. However, before he can fight in California, "We simply need a clean drug test administered by a CSAC representative," Douglas said.

As for Barnett taking a fight outside the state of California, Douglas said, "Technically, he can fight out of country or even in another Commission state if they decide to license him." There is no active CSAC suspension on Barnett, so there would be no CSAC penalties if Barnett fought outside of California.

Regarding the possibility of Barnett applying for a license in Nevada, Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said, "Anyone can apply, but I do not know how the Commissioners would vote of any specific application."

Regarding the possibility of Barnett applying for a license in New Jersey, Nick Lembo, the Counsel to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, said, "If California denies the license but does not or cannot issue a suspension, we would likely require him to get licensed in California first."

UPDATE on 8/4/09: After this story was published, The California State Athletic Commission conducted a legal review and determined that they do have the legal authority to not allow Josh Barnett to apply for a new fighters' license in California for the next 12 months. So, while Barnett is still technically not "suspended," he also can't re-apply for a CSAC license for the next 12 months. As the CSAC Assistant Executive Director Bill Douglas put it, "There was a legal analysis performed by the attorneys that assist CSAC and a rule in place may prohibit Josh from being licensed in California for one year."