News and Notes
- MMAWeekly is reporting that Hermes Franca has left The Armory and he is now in the process of opening his own gym in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The gym will be opening in November. It will be inside of a boxing gym called Palm Beach Boxing Club that will now also house Team Hermes Franca.
The gym can be found at 1611 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach, Fla. Interested parties can call at either 561-833-2131 or 561-319-6608.
- Ricardo Arona told Tatame that he has not signed with M-1 but he has received offers from organizations in Canada and the USA.
“I did not close with the M-1. I heard very on this for ai, but I did not receive no proposal to fight against the Stench. Pra you to be sincere I nor know this event”, I said Arona, that he intends to still make a fight this year. “It arrived some proposals of Canada, of the States and Japan, but I am waiting best the proposal to still close a fight in December”, disclosed the BTT.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that Hardcore Championship Fighting in Canada was interested in acquiring the services of Arona. HCF has been on a tear lately signing the likes of Aleksander Emelianenko, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral.
- MMA Madness caught up with Ken Shamrock to get his thoughts on a variety of subjects including his brother, Frank Shamrock.
MMA Madness: Frank has openly stated he’s willing to fight you. Is the feeling mutual for you?
Shamrock: Do you want the complete and honest truth?
MMA Madness: Yeah, let’s hear it.
Shamrock: Frank is the kind of guy who will only fight someone if he thinks he can beat them. He won’t fight me unless he talks enough crap that he gets pushed into it by the fans. He might even price himself out of the fight just to get out of it. He’s done that before. He walks around saying he’s the Lion’s Den guy and this and that. He was probably my third best guy when I was training them all, behind [Jerry] Bohlander and [Guy] Mezger. Also, Frank has problems against people who can take him down and he knows I would take him down. Look at his fight against Renzo [Gracie]! I can knock him down and punch him out. He’s my brother and all, but don’t think for a second that I wouldn’t fight him.
- MMA Junkie has teamed up with “The Bubba the Love Sponge Show” and will become the MMA content provider for the show’s official website.
Sherdog: Akiyama to Fight Kang in Korean HERO’S
Sherdog: New Japanese MMA Event, Association Introduced
MMAWeekly: Karo Not Worried About Facing Chonan
The Fight Network: Manager Snubs IFL
UFC: Sylvia’s Quest for a Third Belt Begins Saturday
Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca have both decided to file official appeals with the California State Athletic Commission less then one day after it was revealed that both had tested positive for steroids.
According to CSAC Executive Director Armando Garcia, Sherk and Franca will be scheduled to have their appeals heard on August 6th, the same day that Phil Baroni and all of the other fighters that have tested positive in recent months will also be in attendance to state their case.
Garcia also stated that he spoke to Sherk on the telephone yesterday afternoon and that Sherk told him he had never heard of the steroid Nandralone until now.
Franca has already admitted to taking drostanolone in order to heal an injured ankle before the fight even though he has filed an appeal. The appeal is most likely being submitted in order to have Franca’s suspension time possibly reduced.
News and Notes
- Yesterday it was announced that both Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca tested positive for banned substances after their fight at UFC 73: Stacked. Should Sherk be stripped of his title? We want your thoughts and votes!
- After a fallout with Stephane Patry, Jonathan Goulet has confirmed that he has signed on with Ken Pavia and will be fighting Mike Swick at UFC Fight Night 11.
- Showtime and Pro Elite have announced that Mauro Ranallo and Stephen Quadros will handle the commentating duties for the new ShoXC MMA television show which is scheduled to debut on July 27th at 11 PM EST.
- UFC veteran Josh “The Dentist” Neer will be fighting Paul Rodriguez on Friday July 28th at Greenspark FC 5.
Video of the Day
- A little music from Eddie Bravo!
Yesterday it was announced that current UFC lightweight champion Sean “Muscle Shark” Sherk tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic agent, following his successful title defense at UFC 73: Stacked. Our question to you is, “Should Sean Sherk be stripped of the title?”
In the past we saw heavyweight champions Tim Sylvia and Josh Barnett test positive for anabolic agents and both fighters were stripped of their titles and suspended. Should Sherk get the same treatment?
UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk and his challenger at UFC 73, Hermes Franca have both tested positive for anabolic steroids according to the California State Athletic Commission.
Both Sherk and Franca have been fined $2500 and suspended for one full year. No word yet on whether or not Sherk will stripped of his title by the UFC.
They will have 30 days to send an appeal to the CSAC after which a hearing on the matter will take place if they choose to do so.
Greg Nelson, Sherk’s trainer at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy believes that the positive test is a complete mistake:
“I’m fairly convinced that there’s absolutely been a total mistake here,” said Greg Nelson, Sherk’s trainer. “I have absolutely no recollection of anything of that nature. I know his training and how dedicated he is to eating and doing everything as pure and clean as possible.”
Hermes Franca released a statement earlier today to MMA Weekly stating that a report would be released later today that he tested positive for a banned substance that he willingly took the steroids in order to help heal an injured ankle before the fight.
We will have much more on this story as it develops…
Update 5:23 PM: Some more details on what’s going on…
We originally reported that both Sherk and Franca both tested positive for nandrolone metabolite. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Sherk tested positive for nandrolone while Franca was found to have drostanolone in his system.
Sherk’s suspension will last the length of his current license with the CSAC - 355 days. An additional suspension of 10 days will be added on if Sherk decides to apply for a new CSAC license.
Franca’s suspension will last for the remainder of his current license with the CSAC - 363 days. The CSAC did not state whether or not Franca will have to endure an additional suspension if he chooses to apply for a new license next year.
UFC President Dana White released this statement regarding the matter:
“Our policy on fighters using steroids, illegal drugs or any banned substance remains the same - you cannot use them,” said UFC President Dana White. “It’s not only unhealthy and unsafe, it is against the law. The UFC fully supports the commission’s efforts and we will continue to take measures that keep this sport clean and keep the athletes safe.”
Screens from ESPN’s recap of UFC 73
In order to remain a champion, one has to beat the best the opposition has to offer. Both Anderson Silva and Sean Sherk did just that on Saturday night, winning their fights in convincing fashion. With their respective roads now temporarily cleared, both fighters seem like they may stay on top for quite a while: a trend that we haven’t seen recently, at least in this upset-filled year.
UFC 73 turned out to certainly be ‘Stacked’ with action-packed fights from beginning to end. While the show’s production moved a bit faster than usual because of time constraints, each fight on the card equaled the pace. The majority of those in attendance at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California might not have agreed according to their unusual reactions throughout the night, but the event definitely lived up to the hype.
Anderson Silva successfully defended his UFC Middleweight Title with a first round TKO victory over Nate Marquardt. The fight was back and forth until Silva (19-4) connected with a straight left hand that dropped Marquardt (25-7-2) to the mat. Silva then got on top of Marquardt and rained down unanswered right hands until referee John McCarthy stepped in to halt the bout.
Marquardt stayed down on the mat for a few moments afterwards, obviously shaken up. Silva thanked all of his trainers and coaches during a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. He also continued his growing love affair with American fans with praise and thanks as well.
“I love fighting for these fans,” Silva said. “I enjoy fighting in front of these fans fight after fight. They are always gracious.” Silva will now most likely go on to rematch former champion Rich Franklin this fall.
Sean Sherk won yet another five round unanimous decision and was able to keep his UFC Lightweight Title after defeating top contender Hermes Franca. Sherk (32-2-1) was able to control Franca (18-6) throughout the course of the fight, pressing the action and not letting Franca get up from the ground.
Franca landed multiple big knees to the chin of Sherk but was unable to generate any more offense than that. After the fight, Sherk stated that he was very impressed with Franca’s skills on the ground and his defense as well.
“Hermes was great on the ground. Definitely an awesome Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guy.” said Sherk. “He did a good job of keeping his face from getting hit and kept me close the entire fight.”
Tonight we will be going live at 10 PM EST, covering UFC 73: Stacked with one of our patented live blogs. Be sure to leave some comments throughout the night…
While you are waiting for the event to start, feel free to check out our coverage of the event which includes predictions, media coverage, and much more:
UFC 73: Stacked
Tito Ortiz vs. Rashad Evans
Anderson Silva vs. Nathan Marquardt - UFC Middleweight Title
Sean Sherk vs. Hermes Franca - UFC Lightweight Title
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Heath Herring
Kenny Florian vs. Alvin Robinson
Stephan Bonnar vs. Mike Nickels
Chris Lytle vs. Jason Gilliam
Frankie Edgar vs. Mark Bocek
Jorge Gurgel vs. Diego Saraiva
Here’s a collection of media links focusing on UFC 73: Stacked:
Sherdog: Evans Confident for the Ortiz Test; Franca Ready to Make His Dream a Reality; “Stacked” UFC Offers Two Title Fights; Sherk to Offer Franca “Eye Opening” Experience; Great Sherdog Debate: UFC 73
MMAWeekly: Sherk Looks to Defend, Franca to Conquer; Fight-by-Fight: UFC 73; Alvin Robinson Wants to Prove He Belongs; Wanting to Show Fans the Real Jorge Gurgel; Tito Isn’t Looking Past Rashad Evans
The Fight Network: Bocek Makes Fighting a Family Affair; Not Just a Match; An Unlikely Champion
InsideFighting: Rashad Evans is Ready to Take on the Best; Kenny Florian: “I am very, very hungry to fight”; Tito Ortiz “Speaks against”; Hermes Franca: “If my heart is still pumping I can win.”; Sherk Enjoys Finally Being at the Top of the Mountain
UFC: Rashad Evans - His Time Has Come; Tito Ortiz - Last Stand or a Rebirth?; Nate Marquardt - The Challenger; Hermes Franca’s ‘Rocky’ American Dream; Losing is not an option for Frankie Edgar; Marquardt to test Silva’s Mettle as Champion
MMANews: Interview with Hermes Franca
CBS Sportsline: Q & A with Sean “Muscle Shark” Sherk
Denver Westword: A Denver fighter takes on the ultimate challenge
Philadelphia Inquirer: N.J. fighter taking talent to the big cage
OC Register: UFC 73: Stacked preview (with Tito Ortiz video); UFC president Dana White: Meet the Press
Yahoo! Sports: In Hot Pursuit; No pushover; Matchup Breakdown: Silva-Marquardt; Matchup Breakdown: Sherk-Franca
NBC Sports: Word War I: Ortiz, Evans set to rumble
TSN: Herring ready for 3rd bout with Nogueira; Ready to Fight; Bonnar looks to make a fresh start; Bocek prepares for UFC debut
Sportsnet: No backing down for Sherk; ‘Two cats in a burlap sack’; Sherk’s a workout machine; Stacked fight predictions
UFC President Dana White and heavyweight title contender Mirko Cro Cop held a conference call with the media earlier today discussing this weekend’s event. Many topics were covered over the hour session including Cro Cop’s thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga, the immediate plans for PRIDE’s future, the contract status of Mauricio Rua and Fedor Emelianenko, and much more.
Let’s just say that we have everything covered. Read and enjoy…
Cro Cop’s Thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga:
Cro Cop was very straight forward in answering questions about Gonzaga. He stated that Gonzaga will not have an answer for everything that Cro Cop is going to bring to the Octagon on Saturday. He said that he is at full health for this weekend. He will not being using PRIDE’s theme music when he walks to the Octagon. Instead he will use his usual “Wild Boyz” song.
Cro Cop also said that he isn’t worried about Gonzaga’s ground skills and that it is his all-around game that presents the biggest problems matchup-wise:
“I have trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a lot, have experts in my gym. I feel comfortable even on the ground. I am aware he is a jiu-jitsu world champion, but I am pretty versed in ground fighting now. Of course my basis is stand up, but even if we go to the ground, I am not scared.
Gonzaga is a solid, good fighter. He is a tough guy. He won’t hesitate to fight toe to toe. He is a first class fighter. I will try to keep it in a stand up position. I don’t want to underestimate him” stated Cro Cop.
Cro Cop on Couture, Liddell, Fedor, and Big Nog:
Cro Cop said that he would love for to have a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko in the near future but he is currently focused on his fight with Gonzaga and then winning the UFC Heavyweight Title before that can happen. He said that Randy Couture’s age will not be a factor if and when they fight because he has already shown that it hasn’t been a factor in past fights. He stated that while he doesn’t have any preference on his opponents in the UFC, he has a feeling that he will be fighting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira very soon.
Cro Cop also made it known that he will be unable to cut enough weight to make it down to the 205 lb weight class, meaning that if a dream match with Chuck Liddell is to happen, that Liddell will have to come up to heavyweight and fight…
“I have no space to go down, maybe if I chop off my hand or something. I definitely can’t go down” said Cro Cop.
Dana White on Big Nog, Fedor, Wanderlei Silva, Sakuraba, and Liddell:
White stated that Nogueira was signed by the UFC as a free agent and that talks began about a month ago. He also stated that there is currently no timetable for his first fight nor any ideas on who his first opponent may be.
White said that at the time he originally made that Wanderlei Silva-Chuck Liddell announcement for UFC 65, it was going to be the biggest fight in MMA history. He now says that it isn’t the case until Silva wins a few more fights to make up for his KO losses to Cro Cop and Dan Henderson. Silva currently has four fights left on his six fight contract to do so.
According to White, the UFC is currently trying to figure out the status of Fedor. Fedor’s contract isn’t exclusive to PRIDE and that Zuffa and PRIDE FC Worldwide will not accept non-exclusive contracts for their fighters. White did say however that Fedor is under contract to the company and that if another rival promotion tried to sign him, he would slap them with an injunction immediately.
Despite the heavy rumors that Mauricio Rua has signed a contract that will allow him two fights in PRIDE and two fights in the UFC, White says that the rumors are not true. Also Kazushi Sakuraba is not under contract with PRIDE and White isn’t aware of the reasoning behind him being brought out to address the crowd during PRIDE 34.
White Talks About Changes to PRIDE and the Lightweight Grand-Prix:
White has confirmed once again that PRIDE will be changing to the unified rules of mixed martial arts (the rule set that the UFC uses) as well as the same round structures and weight classes. PRIDE will continue to use a ring instead of a cage. Also fight cards will be announced weeks in advance of an event, just like the UFC does now. Does everyone recall the PRIDE 34 mess?
PRIDE will not have a super heavyweight division and the crazy matchups the promotion used to hold including Butterbean, Giant Silva, and Bob Sapp will not take place anymore. White stated that all employees currently with PRIDE will keep their jobs with the exception of Gary Millen and Frank Trigg. They have been fired and will be replaced with a completely new announce team.
White said that it is still undecided in terms of whether or not the Lightweight Grand-Prix will take place at 155 lbs or 170 lbs. White denied all rumors about Diego Sanchez and Matt Hughes taking place in the tourney as there will not be any UFC fighters participating:
“There will be no UFC fighters in the tournament. The UFC and PRIDE are completely separate companies. You won’t see UFC vs PRIDE until we do the big event” said White.
White Discusses UFC’s status with HBO and ESPN:
The UFC will debut on HBO as soon as this summer according to White. The deal actually isn’t complete but is in the final stages of being finalized. White didn’t say much about things but did mention that the HBO will be doing their own production and announcing of events rather than having the UFC do things along with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. White said that it wasn’t easy for him to agree to that…
The UFC will still broadcast shows on HBO, Spike TV, and PPV. Spike TV will be made up mostly of guys from The Ultimate Fighter television shows. Shows on HBO will be mixture of TUF guys, international stars, and other UFC fighters. PPV shows would then have the best of the best.
ESPN will now be covering the UFC on a regular basis according to White. The coverage will include both weigh-in and fight results…
White Talks About Possible UFC Fights and Events in the Near Future:
White said that UFC 72 will either be on PPV or Spike TV. He mentioned Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, and Philadelphia all as possible sites that may hold future UFC events. Florida will also hold another UFC event in the near future according to White.
White said that the “Inside the UFC” TV show wasn’t scrapped and that the company is currently working on a date to bring the show back to the air.
White announced a slew of possible matchups - If Andrei Arlovski defeats Fabricio Werdum on Saturday, he will most likely fight the winner of Mirko Cro Cop and Randy Couture should Cro Cop get poast Gabriel Gonzaga as well. Sean Sherk will defend his lightweight title in Sacramento, California against Hermes Franca. Tito Ortiz vs Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva vs Nate Marquardt will also take place on that card. Georges St. Pierre will most likely be fighting next in August against an opponent that has yet to be determined…
White on Tito Ortiz:
White’s comments were short and sweet when asked about the current situation between himself and Tito Ortiz:
“Tito is living in a fucking bubble right now” said White “You saw what happened. I showed up and he didn’t. He’s not afraid of me, but he has people around him telling him it was a bad idea. He is out there making himself look like a jackass. He should shut his mouth and worry about Rashad Evans.”
A lot of interesting news and notes were brought to light after last night’s event were over…
- The Wrestling Observer reported last night in it’s live play-by-play of the fight that Diego Sanchez would tentatively be facing Josh Koscheck at the UFC’s event in April. (UFC 69 which will take place in Houston, Texas) MMA Weekly now has the fight listed as a rumor as well. It makes me wonder if something was said or at least shown on the video screen during the preliminary fights seeing how Wrestling Observer just plopped that note in there out of nowhere.
- Sean Salmon was rushed to the hospital last night right after the event was over. Those at the event said that he was motionless on the mat for upwards of seven minutes. He received a CAT scan that came up negative at the hospital and was released in the wee hours of the morning. He is doing fine and is now vacationing with his family.
- UFC President Dana White announced at the post-fight press conference that Hermes Franca would be getting a shot at Sean Sherk’s UFC Lightweight belt at some point during the summer when Sherk is able to fight again. Sherk is currently recovering from shoulder surgery that will keep him out of action for at least another month or two.
- The most interesting thing to come out of last night’s press conference was an exchange between Dana White and Rashad Evans that was reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Perhaps the most interesting exchange took place after the show at the press conference. When a reporter asked about a prospective match with Evans vs. Keith Jardine, who made a name for himself by knocking out Forrest Griffin on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas, UFC President Dana White said that sounded like a great idea. Evans shot back that he trains regularly with Jardine in Albuquerque, and he would never fight him. White said that if he made the match, he’d fight him. Evans shot back that he would not, and the awkward exchange ended at that point.
Other fighters have put friendships aside to move up the rankings in the past… Will see it happen between these two in the near future?