by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com

“In the next few days, the results from the California Commission will be released. The tests will show that I had a “banned substance” in my system.


I would like to apologize to my fans, the UFC, my students and family. I offer only an explanation and not an excuse. I made a decision during a difficult time in my training for the fight that I regret.


…I had not fought for 5 months. Fighting is literally how I put food on my wife and child’s table and how I pay my bills. As a fighter though, even at this level, I live a simple life and I literally live from fight to fight. Not getting a paycheck for another few months and losing my chance to fight Sean for the title was overpowering. Fighting is the life I chose and I love it.


…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 month’s bills, I made a choice. I had to fight and did whatever I could to do so.


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.”


The above excerpt is from a statement released by Hermes Franca and published on MMAWeekly.com following information that he had tested positive for the steroid Drostalanone. He was subsequently fined $2,500 and suspended through the remainder of his licensing year, which ends July 5, 2008.


On Monday, August 6, Franca appeared before the California State Athletic Commission, offering no further defense for his actions, only taking responsibility for his choice and pleading for a reduction in punishment.


Franca’s request was denied, although he did receive assurances from the Commission that he would still be allowed to apply for a license in California to corner the fighters that he trains when they fight in the state.


Unfortunately for Franca, the next couple of fighters he wants to corner, Kurt Pellegrino in the UFC on Aug. 25 and Rich Crunkilton in the WEC on Sept. 5, are both fighting in Nevada.


In the days following the hearing, Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, confirmed to MMAWeekly that although Franca could apply for a second’s (cornerman’s) license in Nevada, current regulations wouldn’t allow him to perform the usual duties of a cornerman.


Amongst other limitations, Nevada regulation NAC 467.895 (6) bars a person whose license has been suspended or revoked from “Communicating in the arena or near the dressing rooms with any of the principals in the contests or exhibitions, their managers, their seconds or the referee, whether directly or by a messenger, during any program of unarmed combat.”


Franca could ask the NSAC for a waiver, but Kizer said that he “would be opposed to the granting of such a waiver.”


Following the hearing, Franca spoke in an interview, exclusively with MMAWeekly:


“I am feeling so horrible. One more time, I would like to apologize to my family, to all my fans. I learned my lesson. You guys have no idea, I am so sad right now. I learned my lesson. I’m going to stop [fighting] for a year. I’m going to come back in a year.”


The entire video interview with Hermes Franca is available for viewing now, In The Cage of MMAWeekly.com’s Premium Members section.