Sherk Stripped of UFC Belt

By Staff Dec 9, 2007
Confirmation of Sean Sherk (Pictures)'s suspension for steroids by the California State Athletic Commission has prompted the Ultimate Fighting Championship to strip the the lightweight of his title belt, according to published reports Saturday.

Following his unanimous decision defense over Hermes Franca (Pictures) on July 7, Sherk tested positive for nandrolone and was suspended one year and fined $2,500 by the CSAC. On Dec. 4, the commission voted to reduce the suspension to six months, but the ruling still meant Sherk was considered a steroid user.

During the five months it took to reach a final verdict, UFC president Dana White vacillated between removing the belt from the Minnesotan or letting him keep it. Following Tuesday's hearing, Sherk said he believed he would retain the belt and planned on attending an interim lightweight title fight between B.J. Penn (Pictures) and Joe Stevenson. Sherk had been critical of the UFC for making the interim title bout, which was scheduled for Jan. 19 in Newcastle, England.

"They were going to crown an interim champion in the process while I'm sitting on the sidelines," Sherk said Tuesday. "As far as I know I'm not losing the belt. [UFC president Dana White] believes me when I tell him I didn't take nandrolone. Otherwise, if he didn't believe me, he would have stripped the belt. Fortunately he believes me. I've always been honest with him."

According to reports, the Penn-Stevenson bout is now for official UFC 155-pound title.
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