A week after parting ways with the UFC, Josh Barnett is apparently a wanted man.
Leland Lebarre, Barnett's manager, told ESPN he already has received five offers from different promotions looking to sign Barnett. Lebarre wouldn't disclose which organizations have reached out.
"I was confident there would be some interest, but we are blown away by the response to his availability," Lebarre said. "It's great to see the health of the MMA business outside the UFC is doing so well."
On Monday's episode of "Ariel Helwani's MMA Show," Barnett confirmed that he asked for his release from the UFC in large part due to their working relationship with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. In December 2016, USADA revealed that Barnett failed an out-of-competition drug test for the banned substance ostarine. However, a year and a half later, Barnett became the first UFC fighter to win an appeal against USADA when an arbitrator determined he unknowingly ingested the banned substance. Shortly thereafter he asked for his release. He is also currently suing the supplement company Genkor, who produced the contaminated Tributestin supplement, for negligence, breach of implied and express warranty, and strict product liability.
"If I was to stay in the UFC there is a massive red flag for me with dealing with USADA because that process was so unnecessary in terms of how it all unfolded," Barnett said. "I'm not against clean sport, or testing, or any of the sort of things that -- on paper -- a group like USADA is there to uphold and to institute, but when it came to it, it's like there is no ability for nuance or context.
"For them, it feels as if the proof of the success of the program is by how many and how hard they can hammer people, and that to me seems like a very dangerous environment to deal with, and I dealt with it specifically."
Lebarre said they do not have a timetable yet for Barnett's return to action.
"We're taking a minute to evaluate everything based on the highly competitive bids we've received," he said.
Earlier this week, Bellator president Scott Coker told ESPN he was interested in signing Barnett, though Lebarre wouldn't confirm whether they were one of the five offers he has received.
The 40-year-old Barnett (35-8), a former UFC heavyweight champion, most recently defeated Andrei Arlovski in September 2016 via third-round submission.