As thrilling as it can be to watch a fighter rise to stardom in the UFC, there are few things more disappointing and disheartening than to then watch those of that elite group who then go on to permanently tarnish the legacy they’ve worked so hard to build.
In this article we’ll look at ten of the most notorious examples, from fighters who have disgraced themselves due to performance enhancing drugs and legal troubles, to those who have simply continued fighting long after their career has reached a state of terminal decline.
Heavyweight star Josh Barnett was 11-1 as a professional and on the verge of a UFC title shot when he first tested positive for banned substances by the Nevada State Athletic Commission following a win over Bobby Hoffman at UFC 34 in 2001.
The rules regarding PED’s were far less strict back in those days however and Barnett was let off with a warning and the result of the fight remained unaltered.
However, apparently that was not enough of a scare for Barnett as he would then go on to test positive for steroids after winning his next fight for the UFC heavyweight title against Randy Couture.
The fight result stood however, so technically Barnett can still lay claim to having won the title, but he was subsequently stripped of the belt and his victory would forever be considered tainted.
After a long and successful run in the PRIDE organization among other promotions, where drug-testing was not as strict, Barnett eventually returned to America to compete for Affliction in 2008, and soon found himself in trouble again.
This time around he tested positive for steroids prior to a blockbuster fight against Fedor Emelianenko, which resulted in the bout being scrapped and dealt a crippling blow to the Affliction promotion that it would not recover from.
Nevertheless, Barnett’s career continued on and he did finally return to the UFC, where he would go 3-2 before yet another failed drug test, this time due to a contaminated supplement.
Despite his past reputation of cheating, Barnett placed the blame firmly in USADA’s corner for his latest issues and subsequently left the UFC again and hasn’t fought again since.