Dana White and Josh Barnett have long been involved in a tense relationship, with both men having done or said some interesting things about the other. Their feud began after the "Warmaster" failed a post fight drug test following his UFC 36 championship victory over Randy Couture, and since then, Barnett has never competed inside the Octagon again.
Barnett eventually found himself in Strikeforce just prior to ZUFFA's purchase of the promotion and became part of the ensuing heavyweight grand prix. After defeating Brett Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov by submission in the first two rounds of the tournament, Josh met tournament fill-in Daniel Cormier, ultimately losing in a hotly contested five round decision.
Now, as Strikeforce's termination looms, White is still unsure whether or not Barnett will be making the same move other top fighters like Alistair Overeem and Cormier have. When asked after UFC 155 whether or not Barnett would be UFC bound, Dana simply had this to say at the post-fight media scrum:
"I have no clue. I don't know, we'll find out soon. We'll see."
Clearly not a definitive statement from the UFC president.
The indecision on the matter may be based on many things, most likely Josh's repeated usage of illegal performance enhancing drugs. There may also be some worry about his contract, as Barnett is making a lot of money in Strikeforce that UFC may not be willing to pay.
It is also interesting to note that not too long ago, Dana was very open to Barnett coming back to the UFC, so long as he continued to play nice. It isn't impossible that they've had some sort of falling out, or that Dana has simply had another sudden change of heart, something that he has long been known for.
With just two weeks until Strikeforce's final event, I'd expect this situation to pan out sooner rather than later. On Jan. 12 in Oklahoma, Barnett is scheduled to face the relatively unknown Nandor Guelmino in a fight Josh is heavily favored in. If he wins, it could be his ticket into the UFC.