Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk discusses his upcoming title fight against current champion B.J. Penn at UFC 84: Ill Will this Saturday as well as his positive test for steroids under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission, why this fight has become so personal, how he plans to make Penn quit and much more with ESPN.
“Countdown to UFC 84”, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s usual event preview show, will premiere tonight at 11 PM ET on Spike TV.
The episode will highlight two of the more-anticipated bouts that will take place at this weekend’s UFC 84: Ill Will in Las Vegas. The event will be headlined by a bad blood-filled UFC lightweight title bout that pits current champion B.J. Penn up against former champion Sean Sherk.
Keith Jardine will also attempt to climb deeper into the light heavyweight title picture as he takes on fellow exciting striker and former PRIDE light heavyweight champion Wanderlei Silva. While it won’t be featured on tonight’s program, former longtime UFC champion Tito Ortiz will go up against an undefeated Lyoto Machida in a fight that will likely be Ortiz’s last with the promotion.
Those who miss tonight’s show at 11 PM ET can catch a replay at the following times: May 23rd (11 PM ET, 12 AM ET); May 24th (6 PM ET). Both replays will air on Spike TV.
B.J. Penn. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The war of words between UFC lightweight kings B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk raged on yesterday, a little over a week until their highly anticipated showdown that will decide the organization’s true lightweight champion in Las Vegas.
Even before the bout was officially signed, Penn has been adamant about blasting Sherk with every chance he gets concerning Sherk’s failed steroids test last year under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission, a ruling that the Minnesota native still feels is wrong to this day.
“It’s hard for me, being a guy that’s never used performance enhancing drugs,” Penn said on yesterday’s pre-fight conference call for UFC 84: Ill Will. “You wake up every day after training tired and in pain and it kind of gets to you when you learn that someone is taking those kind of things. I’m a purist and I love this sport more than anythning. When someone goes ahead and perverts a sport as pure as this, I can’t take it.”
Even though the two both agreed that the conclusion of the fight would most likely result in the end of the bad blood and hard-feelings, Penn continued to push Sherk’s button as the call went on, even going as far as asking the former champion himself about his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, prompting Sherk to strike back.
“I know what I did and I know what I didn’t do,” Sherk said. “I went above and beyond what I had to do in order to try and prove that I was innocent. Anyone that has followed the case and what I’ve had gone through will know that I didn’t do what they said I did.”
“I have fans who stand by me and who believe that I didn’t take steroids,” continued Sherk. “Then there are those who will think a certain way because of the way I look. I’ve looked the same for the past 10 years. Shit, I’ve apparently been doing steroids and I’ve been able to drop down to 155 lbs. Amazing, isn’t it?”
Moderating the banter was UFC President Dana White. While White was hesitant to give a definite opinion on the situation involving Sherk, he also stated that he can’t complain about the amount of animosity between the two.
“I’ve known Sean Sherk for a long time. I respect him as an athlete and as a man,” White said. “B.J. has his opinions of Sean and he’s going to let you know what they are. This happens sometimes. One of the cool things about this sport is the sportsmanship and everything else. But you know sometimes guys just rub each other the wrong way and it happens. Everything I just said about the two best fighters in the world facing each other in their prime, it doesn’t suck when they hate each other either.”
Additional conference call notes from yesterday are after the jump.
Sean Sherk. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk, who is still feeling the after-effects of a positive test for steroids under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission last summer, tested negative for steroids and any drugs of abuse during a recent mandatory pre-fight test under the state of Nevada.
The news comes from MMA Weekly, which confirmed the results of Sherk’s submitted sample with Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“The NSAC received Mr. Sherk’s steroid and drug test results this morning and they were all negative,” Kizer said in the report, also dispelling previous rumors that Sherk had also passed a test as part of the commission’s newly-instituted procedure to test fighters randomly throughout the year.
While Sherk’s upcoming title bout against B.J. Penn late this month will mark the fifth time that Sherk has fought in the state of Nevada throughout the course of his career, the Minnesota native was merely required to send in a sample as part of licensure policy. However it’s key to note that fighters who have tested positive for a certain substance in the past or are under suspicion of doing so may also be tested under the new regulations.
Sherk was only officially released from his suspension under the CSAC last month. At the time, he had not paid his $2,500 fine ccording to CSAC official Bill Douglas.
Sean Sherk weighs-in for UFC 73: Stacked. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Despite being scheduled to challenge B.J. Penn at UFC 84: Ill Will next month, former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk was only officially released from his suspension under the California State Athletic Commission earlier today it was announced. Sherk had not paid his $2,500 fine until this afternoon according to CSAC official Bill Douglas.
Fisher-Stephens Signed for TUF 7 Finale
A lightweight bout between Iowa natives Spencer Fisher and Jeremy Stephens will likely take place at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale according to our friends at MMA Junkie. Both fighters were offered the bout last week and bout agreements are expected to be signed shortly.
Fisher is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Frankie Edgar in November. Stephens, who last stopped Cole Miller with strikes in January, was originally slated to take on Terry Etim next month but was forced to pull out of the bout due to a reported minor legal situation.
Carano Speaks Out
Ariel Helwani of the newly created MMARated.com, a good friend of the site, has a very interesting interview with Gina Carano up. Carano claims that she will attempt to balance tapings for the second season of American Gladiators and training for her upcoming fight against Kaitlyn Young on May 31st at the same time. Interestingly enough, she also states that despite being advertised for EliteXC: Street Certified in February, she was never approached about fighting at the event. It’s a must listen, so check it out.
In Defense of Jake O’Brien
Fight Opinion‘s Iain Liddle has an interesting piece up today discussing the UFC’s decision to release heavyweight prospect Jake O’Brien, who was given the boot despite winning three out of his four bouts with the organization, including an upset over current title contender Heath Herring.
While Liddle bashes the UFC for their decision to let such a promising young fighter like O’Brien go, I believe it was really in O’Brien’s best interest. His wins over Shockman and Midoux were victories over fighters that shouldn’t have been in the UFC in the first place. He was nearly stopped by Herring, who was fighting injured, during the third round of their fight. A non-wrestler in Arlovski also dominated him.
We have to remember that O’Brien hasn’t even been in the game for three years yet. He has a lot of time to develop. Fights against top-ranked heavyweights have certainly helped him and using that experience while sharpening his skills in smaller shows will make for a quick return to the UFC. I don’t buy the notion that the UFC released him because he was a boring fighter. If that was the case, Lyoto Machida would have been sent packing a long time ago.
Sean Sherk weighs-in for UFC 73: Stacked. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk, who is still feeling the after-effects of a positive test for steroids under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission last summer, will be required to submit an additional drug test one month prior to his showdown with B.J. Penn at UFC 84: Ill Will.
Caleb of MMA Predictions reports that Sherk was informed of the mandatory pre-fight test via a tele-conference with the Nevada State Athletic Commission yesterday. It’s interesting to note that Sherk hasn’t even been licensed to fight in the state of Nevada as of yet. Passing his assigned test in two weeks will go a long way in getting approved I’m sure.
Something that can be filed as ‘WTF’:
One staff member also asked Sherk to explain an assault charge that Sherk received in 1994. Sherk explained that he was at a bar with friends, and one friend got into a fight with another group of men. Sherk got involved as the fight moved to the parking lot but claimed it was “a mistake… something I wouldn’t do again”.
This will be the fifth time that Sherk has fought in the state of Nevada throughout the course of his career and the NSAC is just now asking him about this? Maybe they’re just going with a zero-tolerance policy but asking him about things that have nothing to do with steroids doesn’t make much sense to me.
HT: MMA Mania
The Ultimate Fighting Championship today announced three main card fights for UFC 84: Ill Will, which will take place on May 24th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event will be headlined by a bad blood-filled UFC lightweight title bout that pits current champion B.J. Penn up against former champion Sean Sherk.
Penn claimed the vacant title with a bloody submission win over top contender Joe Stevenson last month at UFC 80: Rapid Fire. Penn has been vehement in his comments towards Sherk, who after successfully defending his belt against Hermes Franca last July, tested positive for steroids under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission and was stripped of his title.
The two exchanged barbs following Penn’s title win in January.
“Hey Sean Sherk, you’re dead,” Penn shouted during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Sherk, who was cage-side doing color commentary on the bout along with Rogan and UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, stormed into the Octagon and picked up a microphone right after Penn made his comment.
“That belt belongs to me,” said Sherk. “You’ve got one more fight before you can be called lightweight champ.”
Former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will go up against an undefeated Lyoto Machida in a fight that will likely be Ortiz’s last with the UFC. The bout will be the final one on Ortiz’s current contract with the promotion.
According to Ortiz, he was expecting a rematch against former “Ultimate Fighter” winner Rashad Evans, whom Ortiz battled to a draw with at UFC 73: Stacked last summer in his last fight. Machida has yet to lose inside the confines of the UFC. He was last seen submitting Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in December.
A showdown between former PRIDE light heavyweight champion Wanderlei Silva and former “Ultimate Fighter” contestant turned upstart contender Keith Jardine will also take place at the event. A bout between the two was rumored for well over a month.
The reasoning behind the bout is pretty much elementary at this point. After the UFC booked Rashad Evans and Ryoto Machida for scheduled bouts at the same event, it became likely that Silva and Jardine would be paired up. Both Silva and Jardine are coming off of fights against former champion Chuck Liddell. Jardine won a unanimous decision over Liddell last September but Silva ended up going the distance with Liddell in December and losing.
The bout will be Silva’s second inside the confines of the UFC since returning to the promotion after a seven-year stint in PRIDE. A win over Silva will move Jardine that much closer to a well-deserved title shot.
Kimbo Slice discusses his original date to fight against Tank Abbott that was cancelled and how he feels about EliteXC’s upcoming “Street Certified” event being in his hometown of Miami in the above video courtesy of Pro Elite.
Some news for you this morning…
Sean Sherk Still Not Fighting in California
Right after his suspension for a positive steroids test was reduced instead of being overturned by the California State Athletic Commission, Sean Sherk said that he would never fight in the state of California ever again. Over three months later, he still feels the same:
“There’s no reason for me to ever fight in California again. The way they treated my case and the way they handled everything was so unprofessional that there’s absolutely no way I’ll ever fight in the state of California again, unless they get rid of the entire commission and hire a whole new commission,” Sherk told MMA Weekly.
Speaking of the CSAC, they have suspended Luke Hartwig after he tested positive for marijuana following his bout at Strikeforce “Young Guns” event on February 1st. Hartwig has been sidelined for three months (can return on May 1st) and was fined $500.
Fedor Dominates at Russian Combat Sambo Championships
Fedor Emelianenko will be competing at the 2008 Russian Combat Sambo Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia over the weekend.
So how did he do on his first day? MMA Ninja says pretty damn good.
As predicted, Fedor Emelianenko easily won all of his three fights. In his first fight, Fedor quickly attacked, after a combination of strikes he took his opponent down and submitted him. The fight was 35 seconds long. His second fight was even shorter - Fedor broke his opponent’s nose in 10 seconds.
The final fight against Stanislav Shushko took a little bit longer. Stanislav tried to keep Fedor at a distance using his height advantage, but Fedor closed the distance with a combination, went for a throw and a hold-down. The sequence of events happened once more and Fedor finished off Shushko in just over a minute.
Fan favorite Paul Buentello revealed his desire to take on former boxing heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison in one of Morrison’s “MMA rules” bouts in The Underground. Touch of gloves to our friends at Bloody Elbow for the find. Luiz Alves, Muay Thai trainer for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, claims that he believes Tim Sylvia greased up for their title bout last weekend in a recent interview with Tatame.
Jarry Park: Carlo Prater Is Ready For The Fight Of His Life
Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk discusses his upcoming bout with current title holder B.J. Penn as well as why he feels his belt was wrongfully taken away from following a positive steroids test under the California State Athletic Commission with RawVegas. Ultimate Fighter cast member Troy Mandaloniz also stops by to give his take on Sherk’s situation.
UFC officials confirmed over the weekend that they have stripped Sean Sherk of the UFC Lightweight Championship.
The announcement comes just days after the California State Athletic Commission decided to reduce Sherk’s positive test for anabolic steroids rather than overturning it. Sherk will be permitted to return to action next month and was not fined by the commission.
The scheduled bout between B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson at UFC 80: Rapid Fire in January will now be for the actual title instead of the interim belt.
UFC President Dana White announced earlier today that Sherk will face the winner of the fight at some point next year:
“I have nothing but respect for Sean Sherk and I believe he’s been honest throughout this whole process,” said UFC President Dana White. “But BJ Penn and Joe Stevenson will be fighting for the lightweight title at UFC 80 on January 19th and Sean Sherk will fight the winner for the title.”