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Report: Sherk and Franca test positive

I’ve been busy today with a few MMA-content related things I’ve been working on so I haven’t been keeping up with things like normal. But as soon as I took a break and did some surfing one of the first things I saw was a report on that both Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca have failed drug tests administered by the California State Athletic Commission related to their title match at UFC 73.

According to, Sherk tested positive for Nandrolene Metabolite. The article goes on to state that the normal level of Nandrolene range from 2 ng/ml to 6 ng/ml. Sherk’s reported level was 12 ng/ml.


He’s been fined $2,500 and suspended for a year. There is no comment available from Sherk or the UFC in regard to this story and there’s no word as to how the situation will he handled in regard to Sherk’s possession of the UFC lightweight title.

Franca actually contacted with a statement announcing that in the next few days, CSAC will reveal drug testing information from UFC 73. In the letter he states that he indeed tested positive and claims that he used steroids eight weeks before his fight to treat an ankle injury that he had sustained.

Franca reportedly tested positive for Drostanolone and has been fined $2,500 by the commission and suspended for a year.

You can read Franca’s contrite and candid statement by clicking here.

  • says:

    Call me a naive dumbsh*t, but is there any way he could have gotten to that level without ‘roids? Could Sherk really be that dumb, or was he sold a bad masking agent (if such a thing exists)? Or was he taking HGH thinking it couldn’t be detected and it raised his testosterone levels?

    This is a huuuuuge setback for MMA.

  • says:

    i really appreciate hermes’ coming out in advance and admitting a mistake. performance enhancing drugs are rampant in sports and i personally have a great deal of respect for those that admit their mistake, a la jason giambi. people mess up, period. but not many people can man up and take accountability from their actions. if only more of our hero’s and leaders would take on that kind of accountability it would be a much better world.

  • says:

    I don’t condone what Franca did and I don’t think injury is a good excuse. I really don’t think there is ever a valid excuse for steroids. However, how Franca has handled this situation should be a lesson to anyone who cheats and gets caught. It’s a lot easier to forgive someone who actually offers an apology. Royce could have maybe preserved a little more of his legacy had he handled things the way Franca has.

    Sherk and Franca testing positive is definitely the worst thing that could happen to the UFC given all the Benoit stuff. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Dana White’s office right now. I wonder if he will make an example of any of these guys?

    I’m also wondering how long it will take to strip Sherk of his title and how crowning a new champion will be handled.

  • says:

    You make some great points. Franca and Royce comments about their suspicions speaks volumes about them as people.

    I agree with you about the lack of sympathy for anyone that chooses to take steroids but in this day and age of athletes like Barry Bonds and Floyd Landis, Franca’s honesty is a refreshing change.

  • says:

    Franca handled the situation well and was up front about what happened which is always a positive in my book.

    Sherk’s camp has made comments that they did not expect a positive test and intend to appeal. I think the UFC will withhold judgment and much comment until the appeal is completed at which time I think they will strip Sherk of the title. He was supposed to face BJ Penn in November so I think Penn will take on another lightweight for the vacant belt.

    Also I wanted to say that Mark Bocek, Frank Edgar, Chris Lytle, Jason Gilliam, Diego Saraiva, Jorge Gurgel, Stephan Bonnar, and Mike Nickels have all passed tests, according to reports.

  • says:

    I want to know who gets the next shot. The fact that these guys are getting caught makes me feel a little better.
    I want to say right now, barring BJ deciding he wants a shot at “Jens’ belt”, I’d love to see Joe Daddy vs. King Fisher. Or either of those dudes v. BJ. Or Din Thomas.

    Easy division huh? LW TOURNAMENT TIME BABY.

  • says:

    as far as Hermes sacking up and admitting it, so what. Sure, he apologized, but so did Bonnar when he got nailed. Both had injury stories. Sure, copping to it is manly. But stepping down from the fight when you’re hurt is MORE MANLY. Cheating is cheating, i could care less what people think about the relative damage steroids do. I’ve said it before…if your work had a rule against eating ostrich, and they caught you with a huge-ass drumstick, you’re getting fired, you ostrich-eating fool.

  • says:

    I’d like to see Kurt Pellegrino get a shot provided he gets past Stevenson.

  • says:

    Gomi in the UFC? rematch with BJ for the LW title!

  • says:

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  • says:

    Story is floating around that Sherk is going to fully dispute the findings, though I’m surprised that hasn’t hit the newswire yet if he does plan to dispute it.
    What a black eye for the MMA world, Sherk especially.
    If found guilty the UFC needs to strip him of his belt and hold a light-weight grand prix event.
    The UFC needs to put its foot down and ENSURE that it’s fighters are not taking these substances.

  • says:

    Sheeshh… I’m really disappointed. In both of them… As for Franca’s letter, I’m understand the reason. Kinda like Stephan… I’m almost sympathetic. But as far as Franca being manly for coping to it… come on, he came out with the letter, knowing the results were going to be made public anyway. You preempted the release of the test results, and try to spin it as best as possible. It’s not like he wasn’t tested, but admitted it anyway because its the right thing to do….

    Personally, I think steroids should be legal and up to the individual to choose to use or not, but until then, it isn’t fair to your opponent who may or may not use. Your oppenent may have a nagging injury as well, hindering his training… and choosing to obey the law and rules of the sport shouldn’t be a handicap for this oppenent.

    And like Stephan, for Franca to be caught, and loose the just plain sucks. For Sherk, it tarnishes the hardwork ethic image I have of him… at least it is disappointing to think that hardwork alone isn’t enough. Damn.

  • says:

    I don’t think they should be legal. I’ve heard all the reasons why and while they might not be too damaging to certain people, I have seen how it can be damaging. Drugs affect everyone differently but the only way to see how your mind and body reacts to steroids is to actually use them. And by the time you find out one way or the other it could be too late. I don’t think a drug that is so subjective one’s body can be administered without prescription. Plus, why should anyone be using steroids or any other drug for that matter if they don’t have a medical need?

    As for it being unfair to an opponent, you’re damn right. If someone does steroids in baseball the worst that happens is that they hit a baller further than then they normally would have. In a fight, the opponent suffers bodily harm and it is BS if they suffered injury because someone had been on the juice.

    MMA needs to take an aggressive approach in getting rid out steroids. Yes, the commissions test for it but that’s not good enough. If they aren’t proactive they are going to find themselves in wrestling’s boat. The difference is, wrestling is staged so at the end of the day their credibility is never hurt too much. For a burgeoning legit sport like MMA that wants to exist as more than a niche, positive tests can’t be tolerated.

    After doing an investigation if the UFC finds the results hold up, they should release Franca and Sherk. Yes, I realize both are great fighters and will hook on with the competition in no time flat but the UFC will be sending the message that if you test positive you won’t be able to fight for the number one MMA promotion in the world and you’ll have to try your luck elsewhere.

  • says:

    I agree with you Sam, I think the UFC needs to set a precedent and, at the very least, not allow them to fight for a full year.

    Sherk’s trainer has said they do plan on challenging but considering both the a and b samples were positive and no tests have ever been overturned. It is highly unlikely it gets overturned.

    I think the UFC will strip him of the title and (hopefully) hold a lightweight tournament.

  • says:

    hell yeah sam. it would suck to have a guy like Hermes made an example of, but how in the hell is UFC going to be seen as the number one promotion on earth if it’s dealing out wristslaps to guys who juice? The only way to build the UFC as something other than a WWF-style “sports entertainment” outfit is to make it an institution, one that will outlive dana white, and the fertittas. that’s what I as a fan would like to see.

  • says:

    The UFC is putting fighters in a tough spot. On one hand, the level of competition is so high that fighters often need to train full-time to be competitive. However, some of the less popular fighters can’t pull in the bucks to make this happen… at least until they’ve won a number of fights and made a name for themselves. On the other hand, the UFC has an unwritten rule of 2 losses, you’re out. So the fighters are stuck in the terrible position of having to win at any cost.

    I’ve long been critical of the UFC’s mantra of “win win win”. In PRIDE, if a fighter lost but put on a good show, he was still treated like a hero and was likely to be invited back (e.g. Overeem). Of course, PRIDE didn’t test for anabolic steroids.. but at least the fighters didn’t have to fear being let go as a reason to use them.

  • says:

    Just to be clear the UFC hasn’t handed out any punishment yet. The California State Athletic Commission are the people who gave out the fines and suspensions. The UFC will likely hand out its own penalties to the fighters in 30 days once the entire process plays out and the fines and suspensions are official.

    I also assume all of the other fighters on the card were cleared since we haven’t heard any news on them yet.

  • says:

    This is going to make it a lot harder for anyone to deny that there is a serious drug problem in MMA and that the major promotions such as the UFC need to test everyone themselves in addition to all of the athletic commission testing. Events like the UFC 73 where the commission tests everyone are the exception, not the norm. It’s far more common to have four or six fighters on the entire card tested, or zero in the case of UFC 69 and UFC 70.

    Also, it costs less than $300 per fighter to test for banned stimulants, steroids, and recreational drugs, which makes it all the more ridiculous that less than half of the fighters are typically tested, and that there is no testing done at unexpected, random times.

  • says:

    “After doing an investigation if the UFC finds the results hold up, they should release Franca and Sherk. Yes, I realize both are great fighters and will hook on with the competition in no time flat but the UFC will be sending the message that if you test positive you won’t be able to fight for the number one MMA promotion in the world and you’ll have to try your luck elsewhere.”

    – Release them? Aren’t they already getting something worse with a year suspension? And also isn’t a year suspension as harsh, if not the harshest penalty for any major sport already? I understand being upset with them for doing this(as I am as well) but I never did understand the feeling of going further with the punishment then what has been done in previous cases or that is set by unions or athletic comissions. There has to be some leniancy(sp?) here, especially for someone who has from what I know never done anything like this in the past.

    Plus the UFC has already set precedent with previous positive tests so luckily I don’t think we have to worry about this happening.

  • says:

    previous testing for pot, and for fighters in non-title fights. this is a high-profile main event bout that gives UFC a HUGE black eye. They need to make an example of this if it comes out that it’s what it looks like.

  • says:

    clarification: pot in some cases, roids in others, in non-title fights.

  • says:

    garth, Tim Sylvia tested positive for steroids when he held the belt. He’s still in the UFC. Josh Barnett as well when he held the belt. They have had this black eye before, the punishment has been set in the past. Take away Sherk’s belt, suspension for a year, and fine is what should be done. Nothing else is needed or warranted. The reaction from the fans against the figthers will be harsh enough. We can’t go crazy just because the UFC is now more high profile or because it’s a title fight. All are treated the same and should be.

    We can’t go crazy here to try and prove a point and worry about what the media says or does in reaction to this. You are trying to prove a point to people who compare this sport to cock fighting and are so uninformed about the sport to begin with sometimes it’s not even funny. I know it hurts and is embarassing to fans of the sport when this happens but unfortunately it does happen and probably will continue to happen.

  • says:

    state athletic commissions already have some of the toughest drug use penalties around. i agree that on a first time offense, 1 year suspension, fine, and stripping of any titles is more than enough penalty. further abuse, however, in my opinion, should be far more severe, something like the 2 year ban instituted by the olympic committees. a third offense, a lifetime ban.


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