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.
Other things of note during yesterday’s conference call:
White on future overseas events - “We’re focused on Germany, the Phillippines, and Australia next. Germany is what we’re looking at in our immediate future. The Philippines is definitely happening, we’re working on that right now, Australia and Germany, those three are right now, And now we’re starting to focus on doing something in Brazil. Probably about three weeks ago, I did an interview and I said, “You know what, Brazil isn’t even on our radar right now.” That’s changed actually in the last three weeks. We’re seriously looking at Brazil right now.”
White on the next lightweight contender - “There’s another fight between Roger Huerta and Kenny Florian - I think the winner of that fight will fight the winner of this fight (Penn vs. Sherk) and let’s say it’s B.J. or Sean, who wins that match-up, I would consider that cleaning out the division. Then I would sit down and talk to them about where they wanted to go from there.”
White on Tito Ortiz - “Tito is a fucking idiot. He’s one of the dumbest human beings I’ve ever met. Everything that comes out of his mouth makes no sense. I put up with his shit when he was a good fighter but he’s not anymore. He hasn’t been for a long time. You put all the animosity aside between me and him and realistically when was the last significant fight that Tito Ortiz won? He’s not in anybody’s top ten. I have no interest whatsoever in being in the Tito Ortiz business after next Saturday night. I’ve never wanted to see anyone get their ass kicked worse than I want to see Tito get his kicked next Saturday night.”
White on Kimbo Slice being on CBS - “Kimbo Slice isn’t a mixed martial artist. This guy was fighting in your backyard three months ago and now he’s going to be headlining on CBS. Personally I think it sucks.”
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