Former UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk Announces Retirement

September 2, 2013
25 Comments

Courtesy of Damon Martin and official MMAWeekly.com content partner Bleacher Report.

SeanSherk_UFC90Post_2751Sean Sherk was an old-school fighter that kept the same mentality through nearly 14 years of competing in the cage and the ring, but a mounting list of injuries hampered his ability to compete. As a result, he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts Monday.

The announcement about Sherk’s retirement was made during the MMA Hour (via host Ariel Helwani’s Twitter feed). Additional sources confirmed to Bleacher Report that Sherk came to the decision to retire just recently and made it official this week.

It’s been nearly three years since the 40-year-old Sherk last set foot in the cage, where he picked up a close split-decision victory over Evan Dunham at UFC 119 in Indianapolis.

Following that fight, Sherk’s body continued to wilt after being hit with a slew of injuries that kept his MMA schedule blank for the next few years while he rehabbed and tried to make a return to the sport.

In an interview with MMAWeekly.com in October 2012, Sherk said he wasn’t ready to call it a career just yet, but he didn’t want to return unless his body was really ready for the competition. According to Sherk, it all came down to having surgery, and it wasn’t something he was willing to go through again.

I’ve got some injuries that need surgery, and I really don’t want to have surgery. I’ve had surgery several times in the past, and the whole recovery process, I don’t like it. I don’t like the down time, the three to four months of getting back to 100-percent; I don’t like that. I’m trying to get myself healthy without having any kind of surgery. I mean I feel pretty good. I’d say I’m probably 85-percent, which is pretty good, considering.

Sherk was a force in the UFC in several different eras, moving from welterweight to lightweight, competing for titles in both weight classes and having a career that spanned UFC events from 2001 to 2010 at the time of his last bout.

While he wasn’t the first ever UFC lightweight champion, Sherk ushered in a new era for the 155-pound division after the weight class was dropped by the promotion for several years. Sherk defeated Kenny Florian in 2006 to become the new UFC lightweight champion.

Eventually, Sherk lost the belt after testing positive for banned substances (for which he vehemently denied using) and then fell to defeat in his bid to reclaim the title when he faced B.J. Penn at UFC 84 in 2008.

Sherk went 2-1 in his final three fights in the UFC before the long layoff due to injury.

Even last year when he was contemplating a comeback, Sherk said the idea of retirement was tough to handle. He knew eventually it was something he’d have to face, but at the time, he wasn’t ready to concede to it.

I don’t think I’ll ever have that mentality (about retirement). Eventually, I’m going to have to come to terms. Eventually, I’m going to have to walk away from the sport, but hopefully that’s not for a little while yet. When that time comes, I guess that’s a decision I’ll have to come to terms with.

It seems as of Monday, Sherk has come to that decision and will retire from MMA with a 36-4-1 record as a former UFC lightweight champion and UFC welterweight title contender.

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  • BobGyro

    too bad good luck to the guy

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    Great record. Only 4 losses and all to champions. 2 being in a higher weight class.

    • Dragon Kid

      technically it should be five, sherk robbed evan dunham of that win in 2010.

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        Razor close fight or robbed? I have to watch that one again, it’s been to long. From what I remember it was a very good fight and Sherk barely pulled it off.

        • 808empire808

          Sherk did not deserve to win the Evan Dunham fight. Good fight tho.

          • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

            Indeed.

  • SHORT_BUS

    Heck of a fighter and truly one of the “good guys” in the sport. Hope he stays involved in the sport through coaching or some other outlet. Best of luck to him in his post fight endeavors.

    • Guest

      I dunno how much a good guy he is. he got busted for taking steroids while he was champion.

      • Kbroesq

        Honestly, It really bothers me when guys take PEDs, but if anyone every watched how Sherk trained, it’s safe to say that he didn’t take anything to replace hard work.

        I’m not happy about him testing positive, but other than that, I respect Sherk for long career in MMA. The guy was literally wearing a tool belt before coming to MMA, and sometimes during MMA.

        Sherk does have an asterisks next to his name, but I still respect him.

  • David Huenecke

    Great fighter. The muscle shark will be missed.

    • what

      You mean the steroid shark.

      • David Huenecke

        As far as I remember it was steroids it was amphetamines. Which can be found in nasal spray which some fighters use to make sure they can breath. Im not denying he had something in his system but it is what is and he lost the belt cause of it. Other than that he was a good fighter. Especially if you watch old KOTC fights or ufc fights other than the one i question i liked the fighter.

        • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

          I’m a very big fan of Sherk but he got busted for Nandrolone which is used for muscle growth, increased red blood cell production and bone density. But yes he was a very good fighter.

  • Darin

    A short dude with no reach that still beat a lot of good fighters utilizing an amazing work ethic.

  • julian moran

    I thought he retired 3 years ago. From what I recall he should have been 0-4 in his last 4 fights.

  • safj8

    He had a good career. He was able to become Lightweight champ which very few accomplish before hanging up the gloves.

    • Dragon Kid

      he cheated by taking steroids to get the title.

      • Chris Morgan

        He didn’t cheat to get the title, but he “cheated” to keep the title. I only use “cheated” in quotes due to the questionable nature of the CSAC at the time of his suspension.

  • james j

    Roids

  • JDMMA

    that’s a shocker !!!

  • marcus miles

    If you call him “steroid” sherk, you might as well call all the fighters steroid. Chances are your favorite fighter is using something and hasn’t been caught yet. Quit being so petty, it was years ago. On the other hand, his fight with BJ was amazing.

    • Gary Fredericks

      It’s annoying when fanboys try to justify their favorite fighter’s steroid use by equating their suspicions as fact.

      Without proof, the belief that all fighters are using PED’s of some sort and are just flying off the radar is akin to sightings of BigFoot, UFO’s, or apparitions. Claims have been made for a really long time but without proof it’s just a myth….just like the illogical belief that all fighters are using banned PED’s because on of your favorite fighters got busted.

      • marcus miles

        The dude isnt my favorite fighter. you think the only people using peds are the ones getting busted? if so you are nieve as hell. No fan boy here, im just laying down an opinion

        • Gary Fredericks

          I didn’t say they were the “only” one’s using. I was pointing out the myth that every fighter is on banned substances and are just better at not getting caught. Their are some, no doubt, but I believe that number far less than some on this forum feel it is. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction whenever a fan favorite gets popped.

          • Marcus Miles

            If you think all fighters are clean man thats cool. I believe there is more evidence supporting fighters on PEDS than there is for a BIG FOOT walking in the woods. Nobody has really seen a big foot and if they did, its hard to have valid and reliable proof. However there is a shit ton of proof that more and more fighters are using PEDS. I for one dont care if they are or aren’t because i am a firm believer that majority of pro athletes are using, so how unfair is it really. And the ones that dont get caught are better at hiding the evidence. Look at Lance Armstrong, he would have never been caught if Cheryl Crow didnt dime dime out. Do you think that isn’t in MMA. I was just learning in my Physiology class that dopers are learning to cover up steroids by increasing their athletes Hematocrit levels in their blood due to low hematocrit levels when on steroids. They use science to manipulate everything. You dont have to agree with me man, its just my opinion.