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Lightweight Losers: Sherk, Franca test positive for steroids following UFC 73

Sherk, Franca test positive following UFC 73
By Jesse Holland

UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk tested positive for Nandrolone Metabolite following his bout at UFC 73: "Stacked," according to the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).

Sherk has been fined $2,500 and suspended for one year (effective as of July 7).

Nandrolone levels can range from 2ng/ml to 6ng/ml depending on the person and the level of activity. Sherk tested positive on both samples at 12ng/ml.

I said a lot of great things about Sherk leading up to this fight. Now I have to take them all back.

Sean Sherk, like every other doper or cheater, has betrayed his fans and his sport.

That's not all.

Earlier today, Sherk's opponent that evening, Hermes Franca, contacted MMAWeekly to apologize for testing positive for Drostanolone.

Franca, too, was fined $2,500 and has been suspended for one year.

Here's the public apology from Franca:

"In the next few days, the results from the California Commission will be released. The tests will show that I had a "banned substance" in my system.

I would like to apologize to my fans, the UFC, my students and family. I offer only an explanation and not an excuse. I made a decision during a difficult time in my training for the fight that I regret.

About 8 weeks out from the fight, I badly injured my ankle during a training session. For the following week I had rested it, rehabbed it and tried to work around the injury. It was obvious that I could not train as required.
I contacted the UFC and explained my injury and how I could not possibly train to the level I thought I would need in order to be properly prepared for my fight. I asked the UFC if we could push the fight out to the following UFC with the chance that it could happen. They explained that they could not do that and that the card had been set and it isnt as easy as just moving around a fight. I totally understood their position. They asked me to keep them informed should I not be able to fight.

I had not fought for 5 months. Fighting is literally how I put food on my wife and childs table and how I pay my bills. As a fighter though, even at this level, I live a simple life and I literally live from fight to fight. Not getting a paycheck for another few months and losing my chance to fight Sean for the title was overpowering. Fighting is the life I chose and I love it.

As a lightweight fighter, our purses are comparatively small. The public sees the payouts. As lightweights, we do not pull down the money anything near the bigger guys. Its just the way it is. I think Sean fought and defended his title for less than $30,000. Its no ones fault, its just the market. I love the sport, I love the people in the

At this point I was desperate and needed anything I could to get my injury as close to healing as possible and be able to recover from the daily training regimen I was going through. I made the shortsighted choice to hopefully accelerate the healing process and allow me to keep training. Under the pressure of literally not being able to pay next months bills I made a choice. I had to fight and did whatever I could to do so.

I hope my fans, students, the UFC and the public accept my sincere apology. Whatever punishment is dictated by the California Athletic Commission I will understand. I would like to get through this very difficult time and the times ahead and get back to fighting. All the best to my fans and much thanks to my family and friends that continue to support me during these times.

--Hermes Franca"

While he certainly provides a sincere apology, I have a difficult time feeling the least bit sympathetic.

He talks about fighting being his love, his entire life, yet betrays it by cheating in a championship match.

He also cites desperation stemming from his financial difficulties. He is afraid of losing the winning purse that would support his family yet costs himself - and them even more in the long run by damaging his career.

I'm at a point where it just doesn't matter what the reasons are anymore. Whether or not you agree with his reasoning taking drugs to help you in a fight is against the rules.

And when you break the rules you are cheating.

I used to make fun of my friends who are baseball fans. I guess nowadays they're getting the last laugh.

Sherk was penciled in to defend his title against BJ Penn in November of this year. Unless he appeals and this finding from the CSAC is somehow overturned, it looks like that bout is no longer on the table.

Furthermore, it could set up yet another championship bout for the vacant 155-pound title if the UFC decides to strip Sherk of his strap.

Stay tuned.

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