Barnett removed from Affliction bout. Belfort may step in
Wed, 2009-07-22 11:26 — chernobyl kid
LAS VEGAS – It's official: Josh Barnett (24-5) has been removed from his "Affliction: Trilogy" main-event bout with Fedor Emelianenko (30-1).
Affliction exec Tom Atencio confirmed the news this morning with AOL FanHouse, citing a positive test for a banned substance that will prevent Barnett from receiving a license to compete on the Aug.1 event in Anaheim, Calif.
Middleweight Vitor Belfort (18-8) has verbally agreed to the bout, and negotiations are currently in progress to finalize the financial terms of the deal.
Should Belfort's management and Affliction officials agree to terms, an official announcement is expected to be made sometime today.
Xtreme Couture striking coach Shawn Tompkins, who has been training Belfort at the Las Vegas-based camp in preparation for currently scheduled opponent Jorge Santiago (21-7), declined to comment on the status of Belfort's contract. However, Tompkins stated that both Belfort and the camp considered the potential bout with Emelianenko an intriguing option.
Tompkins also said Belfort is currently walking around at approximately 205 pounds and that he could easily make 210-215 pounds should he commit to a heavyweight contest.
While Bobby Lashley had been mentioned in previous reports as a potential replacements for Barnett, American Top Team exec Dan Lambert told MMAjunkie.com the heavyweight prospect would not be stepping in on short notice.
Lambert also said he was unsure what would happen with fellow American Top Team product Santiago with the potential loss of Belfort as an opponent.
Tagged: On The Mat