May have slightly trolled the poll.
For me, it doesn't matter that he was a "former" champion. Whether that monacre was earned or not, he's not the champion now, nor is he even fighting in the organization in which it was awarded, then taken.
Honestly this comes down to the basics. How was Barnett stripped of the title? He had to have been awarded the title first. Whether he attempted to defend it or not. He was still the champion for a short period of time. Frank Mir is a similar example, he was awarded the title. Got into a motorcycle accident, and was stripped of the title because he couldn't defend it. Because he never entered the cage as the UFC Heavyweight champion, does it somehow mean he was never the champion?
While the situations differ greatly the same principle applies. Barnett won the title, becoming the HW champion. The moment he announcer says who the winner is, they're the champion. Barnett was then stripped of the title days later. For that short period he was the HW champion. Thus, former UFC HW champion. To have something taken away it must be gained initially. The very fact that the word "stripped" is used denotes that achievement.
Also: LOL @ the Barnett conspiracy. He roided, end of story.
Sig courtesy of that photo-matic magician limba
I went out the way that I fight. I went out on my shield. That’s it. Done. --Chuck Liddell
My goal is to end my opponent --Carlos Condit