(Don’t go getting soft on us, Babyface.)
For a guy who seems like he’s getting screwed by his employer, Josh Barnett sure is keeping cool about it. First he had his fight with Andrei Arlovski put in jeopardy when Affliction decided they couldn’t pull off their October “Day of Reckoning” event in Las Vegas. Then, a few weeks later, they announce that Arlovski will be fighting on this Saturday’s Elite XC card (and will be paid well to do it), but he’ll face Roy Nelson instead of Barnett. And why? Barnett says he never turned the fight down, but Atencio says he “couldn’t get a hold of him.”
Barnett was cagey while telling his side of the story to MMA Weekly, but it sounds as if there’s something else going on here than just a simple case of miscommunication:
“I was disappointed, yes. That was supposed to be my fight. We talked about it at some point prior to going to Japan, and I found out that I didn’t get the fight while in Japan. I continued to work on some business there, especially after I found out I wasn’t getting the fight.”
Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t sound like a guy who just missed a phone call. It could be that Nelson comes a lot cheaper than “The Baby-Faced Assassin”, who has said repeatedly that he is not interested in fighting at a discounted rate.
In any event, whatever is going on between Barnett and Affliction seems to have implications beyond just this Elite XC co-promotion, as Barnett confirmed in no uncertain terms that he won’t be fighting Fedor in January.