UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk will appeal his fine and suspension for testing positive for a banned substance (steroids) following his five-round unanimous decision win over Hermes Franca at UFC 73: "Stacked," according to the Los Angeles Times.
His hearing before the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) is slated for August 6. After the hearing concludes and a final ruling is issued, UFC President Dana White will decide whether or not to strip Sherk of his 155-pound title.
If the finding holds up, it is more than likely that the UFC will be left with no other choice other than to take the belt away from Sherk — he has been suspended for one year by the commission.
Back in 2002, then-UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett tested positive for steroids after he defeated Randy Couture to become the youngest champion ever in the division. He was later fined, suspended and stripped of his title.
Put simply, history is not on the side of Sherk on this one.
There are several readers here and elsewhere clamoring for a lightweight tournament to crown a new champion if Sherk is stripped. It's a fantastic idea. However, it's important to point out that White has said in the past the he "hates" them.
In fact, after then lightweight champion Jens Pulver bolted the organization in 2003, the UFC coordinated a tournament that included the top 155 pound fighters at the time (B.J. Penn, Din Thomas, Matt Serra, and Caol Uno) to declare a new champion.
In the finals, Penn and Uno fought to draw. Afterwards, the division was scuttled and didn't return until last year.
Will we see it again? It would certainly help invigorate a division that has taken a serious hit. And, the lightweight division is absolutely loaded, making for some incredible action.
For now, we'll have to wait and see what happens on August 6. But, in the meantime, it's fun to dream about how to make lemonade out of the steroid lemon.
Note: Franca, who also tested positive for steroids, will not appeal his year-long suspension or $2,500 fine.