Numerous MMA websites including Sherdog and Wrestling Observer.com are reporting that next weekend’s Affliction headline fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett for the WAMMA Heavyweight title is in doubt due to the California State Athletic Commission refusing to sanction Barnett due to a failed drugs test. Barnett confirmed to Sherdog that he had taken an out of competition drug test a few weeks ago but said that he is still awaiting the results. Wrestling Observer.com is reporting that the CSAC has confirmed that they will be releasing a statement on the issue later today.
Should it be confirmed that Barnett has indeed failed a drug test, then it will be especially damaging to him in light of his 2002 steroid test failure. No word has come from Affliction about who would replace him in the headline fight and whether it would be for the WAMMA title. However, there are rumours circulating that middleweight fighter Vitor Belfort or former pro-wrestler Bobby Lashley will be asked to take Barnett’s place. Lashley has told Sherdog that he would be unsure whether to take the fight due to lack of preparation and because he would only be taking the fight for the money at this point in his career.
If Barnett’s failed then that’s obviously a hideous blow for Affliction in the build up to what is a make or break show. Whilst there’s little sporting merit to the fight, Lashley vs Fedor is the only fight that would give them a chance of generating some positive buzz for the show and drawing in casual fans. Thanks to his pro-wrestling career, Lashley has a reasonably high public profile and thanks to Wrestlemania 23 there’s a natural link with Donald Trump. And of course, in light of all the Brock Lesnar vs Fedor talk there would be curiousity in a Fedor vs. pro wrestler fight.
Tags: Affliction, Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, Vitor Belfort