One of the few remaining marquee free agents not fighting inside the Octagon, Josh Barnett, has declined a contract offer from the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, according to his manager Leland LaBarre.
MMA Fighting has the word:
"We agreed on guaranteed compensation. In fact, we never even countered. We accepted their original offer. However, there are some outlying issues -- one in particular -- that as of this point we were unable to agree on. We want to find the best deal for Josh and his final MMA home."
UFC President Dana White was rather optimistic about obtaining the services of the former UFC heavyweight champ a few weeks back, but apparently, the two sides couldn't come up with a mutual understanding -- though it wasn't revealed what exactly the sticking point was.
So, where does Barnett go from here?
The artist formerly known as "The Babyface Assassin" is 32-6 overall and holds notable wins over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Semmy Schilt and Randy Couture. He was one win away from capturing the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship before getting upended by Daniel Cormier last May.
The self-described "mercenary" thought the idea of a UFC return was "fantastic," but he also said he refused to "serve any master" while job hunting. There's always Bellator, but CEO Bjorn Rebney wasn't too keen on the idea of obtaining the services of a 'character' like Barnett.
If all else fails, the PRIDE FC veteran has Japan to fall back on, where he's still a big star in both MMA and pro wrestling.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more details on Barnett's future as they surface.