Strikeforce Negotiating With Josh Barnett
Strikeforce officials has been very aggressive in growing their roster ever since striking a multi-year agreement in early 2009 to provide mixed martial arts events on both Showtime and CBS. And they’re not slowing down.
Strikeforce has landed prized free agent Fedor Emelianenko, his stable mate Gegard Mousasi, former WWE star Bobby Lashley, NFL and Olympic veteran Herschel Walker, and most recently former Pride champion and UFC star Dan Henderson, among others.
Now promotion officials are in talks with two more high profile fighters in Roger Huerta and Josh Barnett.
Huerta on Thursday night posted on his Twitter account, “My manager @jeffclarkmma and I met with scott coker and Richard Chou with strikeforce on monday. So I believe this is where...”
MMAWeekly.com confirmed with independent sources that negotiations are ongoing with Huerta, but the two sides are still at a chasm over compensation. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has already shown, however, his expertise in landing high priced free agents with creative contracts.
Huerta (20-3-1) hasn’t fought since September of last year, when he lost a split decision to Gray Maynard. He maintains strong name recognition due to his go for broke style of fighting and G Q looks.
Barnett (24-5) has been out of the loop since failing a drug test for re-licensure in California for a scheduled bout with Fedor. He is actively pursuing an appeal, but has yet to go before the California State Athletic Commission.
“I had no reason to believe there would be any issues and went in to submit my (urine sample for testing) at the earliest possible opportunity... I never once thought there would be a problem,” Barnett said following the allegations.
"My representatives and I are working to gather as much info as possible and handle this situation as best as we can.”
Sources put Barnett in the midst of ongoing negotiations with Strikeforce, but like Huerta, the two sides have yet to reach agreement on compensation.
Barnett is currently on a four-fight winning streak, defeating Hidehiko Yoshida, Pedro Rizzo, Jeff Monson, and Gilbert Yvel.
Barnett’s signing would be a key addition to one of Strikeforce’s strongest divisions. Aside from Fedor, the Strikeforce heavyweight division already boasts champion Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Brett Rogers, and Antonio Silva.
Strikeforce has also had talks with former UFC champion Andre Arlovski, but industry sources indicated that those talks may have stalled out. Arlovski is currently on a two-fight skid, losing to Fedor and Rogers, after a five-fight winning streak.