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Atencio Confirms It: Fedor/Barnett is a No-Go

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"Trilogy" Main Event Scrapped Ten Days Before Fight Night

It's been a little under two hours since I first posted about the much-anticipated Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett WAMMA Heavyweight Championship bout at Affliction "Trilogy" possibly being cancelled, and it saddens me to say that you can omit "possibly" from that statement.

Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio has confirmed it: Barnett is out.

MMA Fanhouse was the first to report on it, giving us these words from Atencio himself.

"He tested positive for a banned substance. The athletic commission will not reinstate his license. Him and Fedor is off."

When asked if there was any truth to rumors that Vitor Belfort and Bobby Lashley were two possible opponents for the now-opponentless Emelianenko, all Atencio had to say was "Just look for updates.... I'm working on getting the best replacement possible."

The repercussions of this cannot be understated: this is a huge blow to Affliction. Josh Barnett had been gaining considerable steam, and with Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski both dismantled and beaten by "The Last Emperor", many fight fans saw Barnett as one of (if not the) last credible non-UFC Heavyweight threats to Emelinaneko. Win or lose, I personally thought this had a great chance to be one of the biggest fights of 2009.

I'll wait until we get an official statement from "The Babyfaced Assassin" to make a concrete opinion on Barnett, but right now I've got no problem saying that I think Barnett may have just cost himself the biggest fight of his life. This may not be career suicide, but it's a whole hell of a lot more than a stumbling block. Unless he remains adamant in his refusal to admit any wrongdoing, which would eventually cause a showdown with the California State Athletic Commission, fan backlash could be pretty severe for the former UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Stay tuned to MMAFigs.com for further developments as they are posted.

 

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