We’re finally getting into the parts of UFC history in Yahoo’s Countdown to UFC 100 with dirt I never got the full story on. Unfortunately, as you’d expect from a celebratory series designed to hype UFC 100, the finer details are left out of the story on UFC 36:
The first time a steroid controversy hit mixed martial arts was after UFC 36, on March 22, 2002, when Josh Barnett tested positive for Boldenone (Equipoise, a veterinary steroid) after winning the UFC heavyweight championship from Randy Couture at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
After winning the title, Barnett and UFC immediately got embroiled in a contract dispute. Barnett, who always denied guilt for the failed steroid test, tried to conflate the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s test results with the contract dispute.
Because this match occurred before Nevada had the authority to overturn decisions based on a drug test positive, it is still listed as Couture’s first-ever loss in the octagon.
Barnett left for Japan, first for pro wrestling and later the PRIDE organization, and never fought in the UFC again. Couture, who had trained with Barnett in the past, refused to accept the championship back.
I had always wondered what the details on Josh Barnett’s steroid suspension were. The most I could find was this info, which seems to be the tip of a mighty iceberg if I’ve ever seen one. Any one else got more on this?