Hermes Franca arrested in Portland and charged with seven counts of sexual abuse

Another mixed martial artist has been arrested ... and it's not pretty.

Former UFC lightweight fighter Hermes Franca turned himself over to the Clackamas County Jail Monday night (May 16, 2011) in Portland, Oregon, charged with seven counts of sexual abuse in the first degree as well as two counts of unlawful sexual penetration in the second degree.

Jeff Howard of The Portland Examiner reports:

Both crimes fall under Oregon's Measure 11 mandatory minimum sentencing for serious crimes, carrying a minimum term of 75 months each. Franca's bail has been set at $250,000.

According to sources close to Franca, the 36 year old Brazilian lightweight flew into Portland Monday night from Florida to turn himself in. The MMA veteran of ten years was made aware of the multi-count indictment while in Brazil for his match at the International Fighter Championship on April 29.

After consulting with legal counsel, Franca came back to the United States to answer the charges. Franca plead not guilty to all nine counts at his arraignment Tuesday afternoon.

Franca’s bail has been set at $250,000, and a trial is scheduled for July 12 at 9 a.m. in the Clackamas County Courthouse in Oregon City according to Sherdog.com.

News of Franca's arrest comes on the heels of last night's report that former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez was taken into custody for assault and resisting arrest in Arizona.

Franca (22-12) at one time was one of the industry's most feared lightweights.

After winning eight straight fights including submission victories over Toby Imada, Jamie Varner and Nate Diaz, Franca finished Spencer Fisher at Fight Night 8 to earn a crack at Sean Sherk's 155-pound title at UFC 77 back in July 2007.

He would drop a unanimous decision to "The Muscle Shark" and subsequently test positive for steroids.

Unfortunately his career would go into a tailspin following his loss to Sherk. After returning from a 12-month suspension stemming from his positive drug test, he came up short against Frankie Edgar in his July 2008 comeback fight at UFC Fight Night 14.

The Brazilian managed to bounce back with a win against his former Brazilian jiu-jitsu teacher Marcus Aurelio at UFC 90: "Silva vs. Cote" in October but then shortly thereafter was arrested in Jupiter, Fla., on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

Franca was scratched from his 155-pound match up against Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 17 in Feb. 2009 due to an ACL tear in his right knee. He was paired up with Tyson Griffin at UFC 103 later in the year where he was stopped via TKO in the second round.

He was later released by the UFC.

Franca competed four times in 2011, going 3-1 and losing by knockout to Thawa Ril in his last fight under the IFC banner back on April 29.

And it sounds like his next fight may be taking place inside the courtroom.

Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more updates to this unfortunate story as they become available.

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