Josh Barnett to undergo random WADA drug testing paid for by UFC

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett will undergo random World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) certified drug testing in the lead-up to his UFC 168 bout against Travis Browne, along with continued random testing following the event to satisfy new conditions of his licensure.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) issued the order at a Thursday meeting in Las Vegas, effectively making Barnett the first professional mixed martial artist to require random, WADA-certified drug testing.

Barnett failed post-fight drug tests in 2001 and 2002, the latter of which led UFC officials to strip Barnett of his title, along with a failed pre-fight test in 2009 which led to the cancellation of his Affliction bout against Fedor Emelianenko.

Joined at the meeting by his two attorneys, the 35-year-old Barnett took full responsibility for his past actions, adding that regardless of his prior issues, he has no plans to apply for a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy. The heavyweight then agreed to the conditions laid out by NSAC officials.

Barnett is expected to undergo random, weekly WADA-certified testing until UFC 168, which takes place December 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. After which, Barnett is to undergo random testing until December 31, 2014, regardless of whether he fights in the state of Nevada. NSAC officials unanimously approved the motion.

UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner, who joined Barnett at the meeting, agree on the UFC's behalf to pick up the costs of the additional testing, which is expected to total upwards of $20,000.

"Thank you to the NSAC for granting my license and allowing me to make history by being the first MMA athlete to do random, year round testing," Barnett tweeted afterward. "Also thank you to the UFC, Dana White and all your support in this.

"I can imagine that today may set the precedent from here on and random testing may become the standard for the sport of MMA."

In addition, UFC 167 fighters Josh Koscheck and Chael Sonnen received approval by the NSAC for their licenses to compete, as is standard policy for any fighter over the age of 35.

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