by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Since his fight on July 7 against Hermes Franca, Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder Sean Sherk has been sitting in limbo following a positive test result for performance enhancing drugs.
He has twice been scheduled to have a hearing with the California State Athletic Commission to resolve the accusations and twice the commission has issued a continuance to a future date.
“It makes me real angry,” said Sherk about the appeal process with the CSAC. “They had a lot of time to prepare for my case and they weren’t prepared and now I’m the one suffering for it. I’m the only one suffering in this whole situation. I mean, I’m sitting here and I feel kind of helpless.
“I’m in the hands of the California commission and I don’t know if they’re not taking this case as serious as they should or what the deal is, but it’s real, real frustrating for me.”
While waiting for the final judgment on his case – Sherk is currently slated to appear again in front of the CSAC to present his defense on Nov. 13 – he continues to train and workout, but hasn’t been able to set a timeline for his return due to the appeals process.
“I have to get myself mentally ready before I can get myself physically ready to fight,” he stated. “And mentally right now I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what’s going on with my career. I don’t know when I’m going to be eligible to fight. I’m in limbo right now and I really just have no clue what’s going on in my career.”
The current UFC champion was unable to comment on the specifics of his defense because the hearing is still pending, but did talk very candidly about his future use of supplements when training.
“As far as supplements go, just multi-vitamins and protein right now,” he said. “As I get closer to fight time, I have to train harder and take more supplements. I’m going to have to take a real serious look at what I’m taking.
“I mean, in the past, I had no idea that you could actually buy a supplement over the counter and it was illegal. I figured if it was at GNC it was legal. Fortunately for me, nothing I was taking was illegal. That was just a fortunate circumstance for me that I was not taking any illegal, over-the-counter supplements.
“I’m going to have to take a hard look at it, but with all the contamination in the supplements, there are ingredients that are not listed in supplements, you’ve got to be careful. Obviously I can’t send every single one of my supplements to a lab and have it tested for contamination before I take it, that’s going to cost me a lot of money. So I’m just going to have to take a look at what I’m taking and be a little bit more on the careful side.”
The time off from fighting has been tough on Sherk, but he has received continual support from the UFC and president Dana White, who has gone on record that he believes his champion when he says that he did not cheat.
“The support from the UFC’s been great,” Sherk stated. “I’ve talked to Dana several times and I know the Fertittas back me up and everyone within the organization backs me up. So that right there, it helps out so much to have that support group right there, and the fans. The fans that support me, I get a lot of e-mails everyday from fans telling me they got my back and they support me; that stuff helps a lot. If I didn’t have that support then this whole situation would be ten times harder than it is.”
After working for his entire career to be recognized as the best fighter in his weight class, he is none too happy that the promotion has decided in his absence to declare an interim champion as was announced with the UFC 80 fight between B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson.
“To be honest, even an interim title doesn’t make me too happy,” Sherk said emphatically. “This belt hasn’t been taken away from me, it’s still my belt. If I get cleared from my hearing to fight, I’m eligible to fight right now, so I don’t think that the idea of an interim title… it doesn’t make me too happy. I’ll just have to fight whoever wins that fight.
“If somebody wants to wrap that belt around their waist and call themselves champion, I think it should be me. Otherwise, it’s just a little fake belt.”
At the last hearing with the CSAC in which Sherk’s appeal was again extended, another fighter, Phil Baroni, had his suspension reduced from its original 12-month duration to six months, but even a reduction in his suspension would not please Sherk. He is looking for a complete eradication of this charge from his record.
“I’m looking to get this whole thing vindicated,” he said. “I want this overturned. I didn’t take Nandrolone, and it’s something I don’t want on my record. A reduction in my sentence isn’t going to be enough for me, so I’m looking to get this thing turned over all together.”