Josh Barnett, officially MMA’s most steroidy fighter, has just been signed by Strikeforce. How you feel about this probably hinges on how big of a deal you think three flunked piss test are, or how suspicious you are of all his rise to the top in Japan where no one cares what you stick where, when, or how much of it you do.
Personally, I’m torn. On one hand this is just another sign that for all the hand wringing, we don’t reeeaaally care about steroids … not when the chips are down and it’s a choice between some magical high road and seeing Josh Barnett compete against worthwhile competition again.
On the other hand, Barnett is still one of the best heavyweight fighters in the world and it’s not like he spent most of his career looking like Mark Kerr or Shane Carwin. Barnett’s got some of the worst muffin top / moob action in the sport, and while you can’t downplay the advantage steroids give someone based on a little titty, you also can’t downplay Josh’s very legit catch wrestling skills which are literally second to none.
Anyways, regardless of if we like it or not, Josh will be making his debut at a Strikeforce event sooner or later. Which it will be really depends on what Scott Coker or whoever makes the decisions now has planned for him. Is Barnett being signed as a follow-up to the Fedor / Overeem / Werdum love triangle? Or is he a bone being thrown to Fedor’s camp to try and sweeten the idea of resigning with them?
And how much money is Josh going to be making? In the heady Affliction salad days he was making a half mil per fight … James Toney money! Did Strikeforce decide to pony up some serious cash or does this return have more to do with Josh figuring out that his market value has taken a mighty kick to the nuts since that whole ‘Killing Affliction’ incident?