Unfortunately for EliteXC and Affliction, the big narrative of the day regarding Andrei Arlovski versus Roy Nelson isn’t “Wow, I’m excited to see that!” but rather “What the fuck happened to Josh Barnett???”
We speculated that it might be money or training issues or Josh having scheduled a weekend of Dungeons & Dragons, and you just don’t cancel that shit! Especially since that weekend was going to the 4th Edition test drive. You really never know with Josh, which is why this Myspace statement from him cleared up a few things:
I never decelned to take this fight. I was never told that I would have any part of my pay reduced since working with Affliction. To my knowledge, no one has been asked to take a pay cut that fights for Affliction.
I did not turn down this fight.
The fun thing about MMA is that fighters are smart enough to know what they’re not supposed to say, but you can usually figure out what’s going on from what they DON’T say. In this case, Barnett didn’t offer an explanation for why he’s not on the card, which makes me think that EliteXC simply said “Thanks but no thanks” to Barnett’s services. Hey, if he didn’t turn down the fight and they didn’t ask him to take a pay cut, what other options are left?
From a financial point of view, EliteXC’s decision makes some sense … Barnett vs Arlovski barely sold enough tickets to cover Roy Nelson’s purse, let alone both guys’ pricetags. And this gives Arlovski a much easier path to Fedor, which is something I’m sure Affliction thinks will sell better than Barnett vs Fedor.
All this is probably leaving Barnett feeling a bit bummed. Just a few weeks ago he was on the road to fighting Fedor (ever notice how hard it seems for all these great fighters to get their hands on him?), and now he’s relegated to fighting B-listers back in Japan again. Perhaps a look into his current musical selection gives you a glimpse of his mindset – hey, it works for 14 year old girls, doesn’t it? He’s currently listening to Fear Factory’s “Obsolete”. Is he feeling a bit obsolete himself?