And most mixed martial arts fans are probably wondering, "What the heck is he waiting for?"
Affliction grim reaper and former PRIDE star Josh Barnett is scheduled to fight Brett Rogers in the continuation of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament on June 18 in Dallas. There's just one small problem.
He isn't licensed to fight in Texas ... yet.
Turns out he isn't alone. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, only nine of the 16 combatants have completed paperwork for the upcoming Showtime-televised event.
"The Babyface Assassin" recently abandoned his quest to regain a license to fight in the state of California after multiple delays of his appeal with the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) stemming from his failed drug test back in 2009 that sank the S.S. Affliction and canceled a late summer superfight against Fedor Emelianenko.
Barnett shrugged off any concerns about not holding a license with the CSAC, claiming he had "49 other states to fight in." Unless of course one of those "other states" considers his past exploits in its determination of whether or not he's worthy of a license to compete.
Such is the case as Strikeforce heads to "The Lone Star State."
Bloody Elbow has the details:
Bloody Elbow has confirmed Strikeforce heavyweight Josh Barnett, who is scheduled to fight on the Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum card in Dallas on June 18, has not yet been licensed to fight in Texas. Barnett is booked to face Brett Rogers in the second installment of the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Yesterday, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker assured the media that Barnett would be licensed in time for the fight. According to Susan Stanford, Public Information Officer for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Barnett has until 72 hours before fight time to complete his application, but has not yet done so.Ominously, Stanford also indicated that Texas authorities would weigh Barnett's status with the California State Athletic Commission when deciding whether or not to license him to fight.
Barnett did not appreciate what he calls "gotcha journalism," and took to his Twitter account to assure fans he would be ready to compete on June 18:
I would just like to give a warm and hearty "Fuck You" to BloodyElbow and anyone else for irresponsible "gotcha" journalism ... My app is not incomplete and everything is within the TX commisions requests and timeframe ... I've no time or interest to keep answering q's on my license. Everything is as planned and by the book with TX. Watch me in the ring 6/18.
Barnett has a history of failed drug tests, including one back in 2002 that stripped him of the UFC heavyweight title after testing positive for steroids.
How much weight the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation gives these previous infractions remains to be seen, but the fact that they're a consideration at all is far from encouraging considering how close we are to fight night.
Does Strikeforce have a Plan B?
I can't imagine this is the kind of news Brett Rogers wants to hear but then again, this is one of the reasons why the upcoming tournament was given a couple of alternates.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more information on this story as it develops.