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Sean Sherk out until summer 2007

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Fighting with a torn right rotator cuff, Sean Sherk (31-2-1) dominated Kenny Florian (4-3) for five rounds at UFC 64 to capture the vacant UFC lightweight belt.

"The Muscle Shark" fought through the pain rather than pass up the opportunity to become a UFC champion, showing his true grit and determination.

Of course, Sherk did not reveal the injury until after the October 2006 fight. At which point, he decided to have surgery to repair the problem.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Sherk has been recovering from the operation for more than two months and could be laid up for four or five more.

Here's a snip:

[Sherk] tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder before the fight with Kenny Florian. Sherk had surgery after the bout and has been recovering for the past nine weeks. He'll be out of action until the summer....

Up until this point, the news on Sherk and his prognosis appeared to be wrapped tight. In fact, during a recent "Inside the UFC' episode on SpikeTV, Joe Rogan didn't ask the 155-pound champion a single question about his shoulder or recovery.

It's not the greatest news to explain to fans that the newest champion in the newest division is out of commission for such an extended amount of time. But, going dark altogether on the issue is a bit bizarre.

Thanks to Steve Seivert for finally clearing up the murkiness.

In the meantime, the UFC has some fine match ups within the division that should entertain us until the champion returns.

Spencer Fisher (19-2) will fight Hermes Franca (17-5) at UFC Fight Night 8 on January 25, which will most likely solidify the number one contender at 155. That same night, Din Thomas (18-6) and Clay Guida (21-6) will also scrap to get one step closer to a crack at the title.

In April, Florian will try and get back on track when he fights Dokonjonosuke Mishima (17-5-2) at UFC Fight Night 9.

And if that wasn't enough, there's also a rather interesting match up on June 23, when former champs and Ultimate Fighter coaches BJ Penn (10-4-1) and Jens Pulver (21-7-1) collide at the TUF 5 Finale.

Check that ... it's a huge match up.