Former heavyweight champion Josh Barnett tested positive for steroids and was scrapped from the main event of the "Affliction: Trilogy" show on Wednesday, less than two weeks before he was scheduled to fight Fedor Emelianenko in Anaheim, Calif.
The California State Athletic Commission denied Barnett a license to fight on the mixed marital arts card after a drug test taken June 25 came back positive for anabolic steroids. The commission learned of the results Tuesday and immediately denied Barnett a license.
"Our primary concern is for the health and safety of fighters," David Thornton, interim executive director of the California State Athletic Commission, said in a statement. "Anabolic agents and other banned substances put the users of those agents at risk, as well as their opponents. The commission simply will not tolerate their use."
A message left with Affliction vice president Tom Atencio was not returned.
The commission said Barnett's sample was tested at the World Anti-Doping Agency facility at UCLA. Barnett has the right to appeal the denial of his license.
The 31-year-old Barnett was expected to fight Emelianenko in the main event at the Honda Center on Aug. 1, on a card promoted by Affliction Entertainment and M-1 Global in association with Golden Boy Promotions and Donald Trump.
It was unclear whether Emelianenko (30-1) would remain on the card.
Barnett (24-5) also failed a post-fight drug test in 2002, after he defeated Randy Couture to win the UFC's heavyweight title. Barnett's license to fight was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after a hearing in which he denied having used performance-enhancing drugs.
The former wrestler spent some time fighting in Japan, where he beat Emelianenko's brother Aleksander during the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix, before returning to the United States.
He fought in the inaugural Affliction show last July, knocking out Pedro Rizzo in the second round to avenge his first career loss. In January, Barnett stopped Gilbert Yvel in the third round of the second Affliction show before 13,228 fans at the Honda Center.
Other fights scheduled for "Affliction: Trilogy" included Renato Sobral against Gegard Mousasi, Vitor Belfort against Jorge Santiago and Yvel against Paul Buentello.
(This version CORRECTS Corrects to Emelianenko in lede.)