Gilbert Yvel still has one bridge to cross before getting a crack at Josh Barnett.
The controversial Pride veteran has been denied a license in Nevada stemming from various altercations during his fighting career, but most prominently from an incident in which he attacked a referee.
Yvel will not be cleared to fight Barnett at Affliction's "Day of Reckoning" on Jan. 24 in Anaheim, Calif. until he meets privately with representatives from the California State Athletic Commission.
In an email sent Monday to MMAWeekly.com, Assistant Executive Officer Bill Douglas wrote that Yvel is scheduled to meet with him and Chief Athletic Inspector Dean Lohuis shortly after the start of the New Year. The outcome of the meeting will determine whether he is licensed to compete.
"I wish it was sooner because if he is not licensed, it wouldn't be a surprise to the promoter and the fans and more importantly, there would be plenty of time to find an opponent for Josh Barnett," wrote Douglas.
Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio was cited in a recent report by fiveouncesofpain.com as saying, "Yvel has been cleared through the CSAC (California State Athletic Commission)," before adding, "He has promised to be a clean fighter."
Douglas refuted that claim.
"Mr. Atencio wasn't even close to being correct in his assessment of Gilbert Yvel's licensing situation," wrote the California official.
When contacted for comment, Atencio on Monday evening told MMAWeekly.com he may have mischaracterized Yvel's participation at a press conference for "Day of Reckoning" last Wednesday.
"It's still being finalized," he said. "Obviously, (the CSAC has) the final say. Hopefully, I didn't overstep them. So far it looks promising and they've given us a pretty good response, but it's up to the athletic commission to decide."
He obviously is not committing to Yvel's participation on the Jan. 24 card, but Douglas said that his agency does not want to be the unwarranted cause of disrupting a promoter's plans.
"I don't want our office to be responsible for any further last minute cancellations," he stated to MMAWeekly.com. "The only time it will happen from this point forward is because of a severe medical condition that could comprise the health and safety of an athlete and his or her competitor."