Joe Stevenson may very well be taking on B.J. Penn for the UFC Lightweight Title if current champion Sean Sherk’s October 31st appeal isn’t heard in a positive way according to The Fight Network:
The one-year suspension of champion Sean Sherk for alleged steroid use following his July 7 title defense to Hermes Franca at UFC 73 in Sacramento, Calif., has stalled plans to have the Minnesotan wrestler face number-one contender B.J. Penn at Nov. 17’s UFC 78 in Newark, N.J.
And while it appeared that Penn has been patiently awaiting a new opponent for Nov. in the interim, the popular Hawaiian’s camp has confirmed their leader is now preparing for a Dec. 29 match-up at UFC 79 in Las Vegas, Nev. Sherk faces the California State Athletic Commission on Oct. 31 to appeal his case, but if he cannot shake the suspension and is stripped of his title by Zuffa LLC, Penn (11-4-1) could face UFC 74 standout Joe Stevenson (28-7).
“I was told I was definitely fighting in December or January,” said Stevenson Thursday. “I think there’s a strong possibility I’ll face B.J. Penn.”
So it seems that the UFC has a backup plan already set just in case Sherk’s positive test isn’t overturned. However, what happens if Sherk is permitted to remain champion? It’s obvious that Penn is the number one contender and would take on Sherk. So what about Stevenson? With Guida-Huerta and Fisher-Edgar already unofficially locked up, Kenny Florian may be the only other option for a Stevenson opponent.
Kevin from Jersey writes:
I would like to know when we are going to find out about the state of the UFC Lightweight Champion Title. If Sherk just so happens to keep his title, Roger Huerta shoule get the next title shot for the lightweight belt. If Sherk’s appeal is denied and the title is revoked, Huerta and Stevenson should battle it out for the belt. Just the opinion of an everyday fight fan.
Well Kevin, it seems that we are going to know a lot more after Sherk’s meeting with the CSAC scheduled on October 31st. That will be when the commission decides whether or not they are going to reverse Sherk’s positive test for steroids. If they do, expect Sherk to keep his title and fight before the year is over. If they decide to stay with their claim that Sherk tested positive, UFC President Dana White has already said that Sherk will be stripped of the title.
I haven’t heard anything about Huerta getting a possible title shot. I think that he needs to go up against some of the better competition in the division before he will be ready to go up against a fighter the caliber of Sherk or Stevenson. I’ve heard that the winner of the Din Thomas-Kenny Florian fight in September may go up against B.J. Penn in November for the title now that Stevenson has a broken nose and is medically suspended for two months.
Basically nothing is set in stone right now and we aren’t going to learn about the state of the UFC Lightweight Title until after Sherk’s date with the CSAC on Halloween.
News and Notes
- We’ve decided to hold off a new MMA on Tap Top 10 until after the events in September.
- Fabricio Werdum has told MMA Weekly that he has joined the Chute Boxe team and has already began training with his new camp:
Werdum stated, “I am very happy with my new training partners and I hope I can get the Chute Boxe spirit and improve my stand up skills. When I first step here, I could see that my training speed wasn’t right. The training here is so much harder, but I am adapting myself and all the coaches and athletes are being like brothers.”
- Former UFC Middleweight Champion Murilo Bustamante has announced that he is reforming the Brazilian Top Team after the depature of the Nogueira brothers and Mario Sperry.
- MMA Weekly is also reporting via sources at BodogFight that the promotion plans to announce a new TV deal when their current contract with ION runs out in February of next year:
Sources at Bodog plan to announce a new U.S. television distribution deal once their current run on ION has ended, although no details were forthcoming at the time of publication.
- The California State Athletic Commission has announced that it will hear the appeal of UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk’s positive test for steroids on October 31st in Los Angeles.
- Staying on the subject of athletic commissions, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has filed a formal complaint against Renato Sobral for his actions at UFC 74. Sobral will be required to meet with the NSAC at a later date to find out whether he may possibly be suspended or fined. $25,000 of his purse is still being withheld.
- Yahoo! Sports has posted their updated MMA Top 10...
- Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia has landed at Xtreme Couture for a two day training session in preparation for his bout against Brandon Vera at UFC 77.
Sherdog: Koubousen Companion: News and Notes from Japan; Travis Wiuff Ready for “Last Shot” in IFO
411 Mania: Your MMA News, My Views 8.31.07
Choke Him Out: Top 10 Nastiest Mixed Martial Arts Cuts
Bloody Elbow: The Muscle Shark IS Innocent, Right?
MMA HQ: Josh Barnett Still in UFC’s Future?
Sprawl N’ Brawl: UFC 75: Kongo v. Cro Cop
Fight Opinion: Five things I learned from the UFC 75 conference call
Fightlinker: This is why I hate Japan
UFC President Dana White hosted a conference call earlier today in preparation for the upcoming UFC 75: Champion vs Champion event set to take place on September 8th from London, England. The fighters featured on the call were UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson, PRIDE Middleweight and Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, Michael Bisping, and Matt Hamill through the use of an interpreter.
Howard L. Jacobs, Sean Sherk’s attorney, spoke with the media after being granted an extension by the California State Athletic Commission. Sherk’s appeal will now take place in October.
MMAWeekly.com caught up with UFC president Dana White to get his thoughts on Sean Sherk testing positive for steroids and his plans for the lightweight division.
“I’ll see what the Commission says and I’ll go from there,” the UFC president told MMAWeekly.
Asked if Sherk is suspended for a year, will he be stripped of his title? White answered, “I don’t know. I want to sit down with him. I want to talk to him. He’s a good man. I want to talk to him.”
White continued, “He looked me in the eye and told me like a man, ‘I didn’t do it.’ I believe him. I don’t think he’s a liar. I don’t think he’s a cheater. He’s a good guy, he works hard and I’m going to take his word for it.”
The UFC has issued a press release regarding Sean Sherk’s appeal:
At a hearing in Los Angeles today, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) granted a continuance for UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk’s appeal of his positive test for the banned substance “Nandrolone” after his July 7th win over Hermes Franca at UFC 73 in Sacramento.
On July 19th it was announced that both Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca tested positive for steroids.
Ten days later, Sherk is still spelt Shrek in the title.
CP (and AP) stories are generally given their own titles by the publishing site. Someone at TSN must have had the green ogre on their mind when posting this one, although the length of the live error is almost impressive.
UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk has released a statement today stating that he has retained an attorney and plans to fight the allegations that he used anabolic agents leading up to his successful title defense at UFC 73.
“At the present time I cannot explain the positive drug test in Sacramento California. I know I have never used any steroids or any other banned substances, I am investigating possible causes of my positive test with my attorney. I have never cheated, all of my success has come from hard work and dedication to my sport!”
If the suspension stands, do you feel Sherk should be stripped of his lightweight title? Cast your vote now!
News and Notes
- Another reminder to leave your selection on our latest Rock the Vote: Should Sherk Be Stripped of the Title?
- Hayato Sakurai has not yet signed a contract to compete with the UFC according to The Fight Network:
Following his introduction to the United States audience by UFC president Dana White, Sakurai conducted several interviews over a seven-day period. He said “the [UFC] contract hasn’t been signed yet, but there are fighters in the UFC I would love to fight.”
- Former TUF runner-up Stephan Bonnar will now be training alongside rival Forrest Griffin at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.
- The Ultimate Fighter reality show will be moved to Wednesday nights instead of it’s usual Thursday time slot for the upcoming sixth installment according to Spike TV. The show will still air at 10 PM. The season premiere of TUF 6 will air at 11 PM on September 19th because of the scheduled UFC Fight Night 11 airing from 9-11 PM that same night.