Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett does not appear headed back to his former stomping grounds right now, although anything could change in the ongoing negotiations.
Barnett has been working with the UFC on securing a new deal after he completed his last contract with Zuffa when he defeated Nandor Guelmino at the final Strikeforce show in January.
Since that time, UFC President Dana White has remained optimistic about signing Barnett to a deal that would see him set foot in the Octagon for the first time since 2002.
It appears that the current contract negotiations have hit a snag however, and Barnett won't be signing with the UFC right now. Still, that doesn't close the door on something happening in the future.
Barnett's manager Leland LaBarre spoke to Bleacher Report on Wednesday after an initial report from MMAJunkie.com surfaced, and confirmed that his client and the UFC were negotiating for a new deal and a fight as well, but as of now they weren't able to come to an agreement.
"There was one thing that we couldn't get figured out, it doesn't mean we couldn’t it figured out. In 20 minutes if I get a phone call and they say hey, I'm happy to open it up again," LaBarre told Bleacher Report on Wednesday.
"We had to decide and we just couldn't get over the last hump."
LaBarre praised the UFC for their professionalism throughout the negotiations, but because of the sticking point in the contract offer, they have been unable to come to an agreement.
According to his manager, Barnett would still prefer to end up with the UFC, but there are other options available and several promotions that could cater to his services as one of the top heavyweights in the sport.
Josh Barnett will not be appearing in the UFC anytime soon, but again, like any contract negotiation in any major sport, things can change on moment's notice and a deal could be signed.
Whether that deal is ultimately with the UFC or another promotion remains to be seen.
Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted
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