According to the California State Athletic Commission, Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk has tested positive for elevated levels of Nandrolone. What is that? Its an anabolic steroid that we all have naturally, but normally it is between 2 ng/ml – 4 ng/ml for a fighter. Sherk registered 12 ng/ml in his drug test following his first title defense against Hermes Franca in UFC 73.
This is huge as drugs continue to tarnish the progress of MMA and for a champion to test positive is a real disappointment. Worse yet, right now they are planning to fine Sherk $2,500 and keep him from fighting for almost a year, until June 26, 2008.
Sherk has 30 days to dispute the results and setup a hearing on his behalf. Otherwise, the punishment stands and we can probably expect the UFC Lightweight title to be up for grabs again.
Yup, Hermes Franca has decided to come clean too. He has released a statement to mmaweekly.com stating he will fail.
His statement says that eight weeks out from the fight he suffered a severe ankle injury that kept him from training properly for Sherk. He asked the UFC if they could postpone the event until UFC 74 so he could rehab and train properly. They denied the request and he said he had no choice but to cheat a little.
“At this point I was desperate and needed anything I could to get my injury as close to healing as possible and be able to recover from the daily training regimen I was going through. I made the shortsighted choice to hopefully accelerate the healing process and allow me to keep training. Under the pressure of literally not being able to pay next months bills I made a choice. I had to fight and did whatever I could to do so.”
Franca also explains the little pay that Lightweights get and how important it was to be able to provide for his family. He cheated as a last resort in his mind. He finished his statement by saying:
“I hope my fans, students, the UFC and the public accept my sincere apology. Whatever punishment is dictated by the California Athletic Commission I will understand. I would like to get through this very difficult time and the times ahead and get back to fighting. All the best to my fans and much thanks to my family and friends that continue to support me during these times.”
It is reported that Franca tested positive for the steroid Drostanolone. His punishment is also $2,500 and he will be suspended until July 5, 2008.