During the third appeal hearing on the matter, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) today upheld its finding that UFC Lightweight Champion had illegal steroids in his system following his unanimous decision win over Hermes Franca at UFC 73: "Stacked" in July.
However, Sherk had his suspension reduced from one year to six months. He was still required to pony up the $2,500 fine.
This latest news means "The Muscle Shark" could return to action as early as January 2008. There's no word yet on whether or not the UFC will strip him of the 155-pound belt.
In the meantime, BJ Penn and Joe Stevenson are booked to battle it out for the interim lightweight title on January 19 during the main event at UFC 80: "Rapid Fire." If Sherk is stripped before that date the title would become "vacant" and the winner of the bout between "The Prodigy" and "Daddy" would be crowned the new division king.
More details to follow soon. In the meantime, check out this archive for more background on the situation.
Thanks to MMAmania.com reader "Eric B." and Sherdog.com radio for the assist.