Clean & Sober: Sherk and Penn pass random drug tests
BJ Penn (12-4-1) and Sean Sherk (31-2-1) are set to do battle on May 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand for the UFC lightweight championship. But not before submitting to random drug tests - which both fighters have passed according to MSNBC.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) voted in favor of the extra measure because the “Muscle Shark” tested positive for a banned anabolic agent (Nandrolone) in the wake of his successful title defense against Hermes Franca at UFC 73: “Stacked” in July 2007.
He was subsequently stripped of his crown, suspended and fined by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) — a ruling that he bitterly denies and blames on a mix of dietary supplements, shoddy lab work, breaches in the “chain of custody” and other factors.
It was enough to get his suspension reduced from 12 months to six; however, Sherk’s reputation has taken a big hit in the court of public opinion throughout the ordeal.
Sherk was present for the NSAC proceedings last month via telephone and agreed to submit the extra sample during the week of April 21 — one full month prior to his fight with Penn.
Now that he (and Penn) are officially clean (and hopefully sober), there can be no excuses one way or the other after May 24.
The best man will win.
Chris Leben looks to clear up DUI charge prior to UFC 85
Chris Leben flew from Hawaii to Oregon to turn himself in on an old Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge, clearing the way for him to obtain his visa and take on Michael Bisping at UFC 85: “Bedlam” at the O2 Arena in London, England, on June 7.
According to TJ Thompson of Icon Sport, “The Crippler” will have to sit in jail for 8-10 days before he gets a hearing because the warrant was a “no bail” warrant.
Here’s a snip:
“When he got the call to fight Bisping on June 7th in London he knew what he had to do. He immediately flew to Oregon and turned himself in on the probation violation…. The moment he appeared before the judge after turning himself in the warrant was revoked and he is able to get his VISA for London.”
This appears to be just minor setback for Leben — with more than eight weeks to prepare for “The Count” a little time in the slammer doesn’t seem like it will impact his preparation for the 185-pound tilt.
In fact, Thompson affirms that Leben is in excellent shape and that his decision to turn himself in shows his growth “spiritually and mentally” as a fighter and person.
Leben, he affirms, will be ready for Bisping on June 7.
Rumor: Rich Franklin Moving To 205?
It's possible, according to Rich Franklin's manager, Monte Cox. Although Ace hasn't fought at 205 since 2004, it seems Franklin's side thinks it might be best for both him and UFC if he moves up in weight, although their decision will ultimately be based on what UFC wants to do.
UFC fighter Chris Leben arrested for DUI
Chris Leben, who recently signed to fight Michael Bisping at UFC 85, was arrested in Oregon on Wednesday for driving under the influence and was placed in jail for violation of his probation, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
As of late Wednesday evening, Leben remained behind bars.
A representative from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Leben will go before a judge at 3 p.m. on Thursday. It was determined upon his booking that he was not eligible for bail because of the probation violation, according to the representative.
Leben (18-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC), 27, most recently defeated Alessio Sakara in March at UFC 82. After Chuck Liddell was forced to pull out of a UFC 85 main-event bout with Rashad Evans, the UFC booked fights between Leben and Bisping, as well as Matt Hughes and Thiago Alves. The popular fighter found his way to the UFC via the first season of the UFC reality series, "The Ultimate Fighter."
There's no word how and if the arrest may impact his June 7 fight with Bisping.
Jonathan Goulet vs. Paul Kelly at UFC 85
Undefeated British fighter Paul Kelly (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has agreed to meet Jonathan Goulet (22-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) at UFC 85, an event that takes place June 7 at the 02 Arena in London, England.
The preliminary bout was first reported by the Canadian site TKO Xtreme earlier today and has since been confirmed by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) with sources close to both fighters.
More money than meets the eye in the UFC
One of my passions in life is technology. I’m obsessed with gizmos and gadgets and am all but in love with my iPhone.
A friend who knows about my obsession had a computer he wanted to sell on eBay and asked me what I felt it was worth. He went to a Web site that showed an estimated street value, one I felt was considerably too high.
He argued that his asking price was justified because this web site was made up of experts and they agreed with him.
True, I said, but something is only worth what someone else will pay for it. And when we went to eBay and looked at completed listings for a computer with specs similar to his, he was shocked. People were only paying about half of what he thought he could get.
And that same analogy is true when it comes to fighter compensation. There is a lot of debate in the mixed martial arts media over what the UFC pays its fighters. It’s easy to take the stance that the fighters deserve more pay.
will UFC unban Josh Gross?
Gross was banned for leaking TUF results, but will it be lifted now that he is with SI
Sam Caplan notes that Josh Gross, Editor of Sherdog.com, is stepping down from his position there to take up a writing gig at SI.com and rightly wonders whether Dana White's longstanding ban/refusing to credential Gross will carry over when he takes up his spot at one of the most legitimate sporting news outlets in America. More importantly, Sam raises the question of what might happen to both the UFC and Gross if White continues the ban. Notable quote:
Michael Bisping: Fireworks guaranteed against Leben at UFC 85
The fight [with Chris Leben at UFC 85] was offered to me the day after I fought Charles McCarthy [at UFC 83]. There wasn’t a single moment of hesitation from me. Not a single breath. Chris has put himself back into the mix at middleweight and if I want to go for the title then I need to beat guys like him. Chris has beaten a lot of good guys. 18-4 is a good record in MMA. He’s a colourful character and I like him…he reminds me of myself in some ways. He likes to fight and he’s a real person. Leben’s tough, has got heavy hands and swings hard and he’s skilled on the ground despite not being known for that. It might come down to who’s got the better chin out of both of us, but it could be more a case of who’s technically better. I think I’m technically better than Chris Leben. He’s quite a brawler, he’ll take a couple of shots on the way in to land one of his own. He chases people round a little bit so I think fireworks are pretty much guaranteed.”
Randy Couture Fighting For His Future
Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder Randy "The Natural" Couture resigned from the UFC on Oct. 11, 2007. Since his departure, his fighting future has been tied up in lawsuits between the fighter and mixed martial arts' largest organization.
Dean Lister’s Next Challenge
The UFC recently announced that Lister will get a chance to avenge one of his early losses when he takes on Jeremy Horn at The Ultimate Fighter Finale show in June. The two first faced off in 2003, when Horn took Lister’s King of the Cage middleweight championship belt from him with a split decision victory.
“We’re both different now,” says Lister. “I’m about three times as experienced as I was back then. I only had like five fights back then, now I have fifteen. Then again, he’s probably fought way more than fifteen times since then, the way he goes.
“One thing Jeremy is known for is he’s not afraid to fight on the ground or on the feet. He’s very well-rounded. I just think that no matter what happens, it’s going to be an exciting fight. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the feet or on the ground – of course everyone knows that I have a preference.”
The bout with Horn may carry even more significance than a normal rematch, considering the UFC’s recent roster cuts. Lister has accomplished almost everything he can in the field of submission grappling and jiu-jitsu, and says his focus now is on becoming a great mixed martial artist – not just Tito Ortiz’s jiu-jitsu coach.
“Before I got into the UFC, even before I got into Pride, my grand goal was to become Abu Dhabi world champion. I’ve done that. Now that I’ve had that moment, I’ve changed my focus to the UFC. I was satisfied, but I’m not satisfied anymore. I think if you stop trying to grow, that’s it. You have to keep taking chances and putting yourself out there. That’s how you grow as a man, as well as a fighter.”
Lister’s recent growth has included a return from a very serious tendon injury that caused his biceps muscle to “roll up like a window shade.” The recovery was as tough mentally as it was physically, he says.
“It was a nightmare situation. Physically, it was a big problem. But psychologically it was an even bigger problem. I just had no confidence in my takedowns, no confidence in the strength in my arms, so it’s been tough getting over that, but I’ve been feeling better recently.”
Sean Sherk: BJ Penn ‘needs to talk to a psychiatrist’
“I think he needs to talk to a psychiatrist. That sounds pretty sick to me, but good luck. I’m sure there will be blood, both mine and his, so we’ll see what happens. I don’t know, that’s kind of a weird thing to say and I did hear that he said that. I was like, ‘What the hell is he talking about?’ What can you say. He’s got some issues, but I’m not going to let anything he says bother me.”
Former lightweight champion Sean Sherk responds to comments reigning 155-pound kingpin, BJ Penn, made about licking the blood off his gloves when he’s done pounding “The Muscle Shark’s” face in during their championship bout at UFC 84: “Ill Will” on May 24.
Jake Shields has a fight plan for Georges St. Pierre
“St. Pierre looks awesome. He’s one of the fights that I’d really love to have right now. I need to make sure I look really good against my opponents; I want go out and dominate people so I can build some momentum for that fight…. He doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. He’s going to be a tough guy to beat, because it’s not like you can pick out one thing. To beat a guy like St. Pierre you have to be in phenomenal shape and keep the pressure on him. You’ve got to stay in his face, and if he takes you down, you better be ready to get back up and not just stay in guard and get manhandled like he’s doing to people.”
– Jake Shields — Elite XC welterweight and among the top 170-pound fighters in the world — tells MMAWeekly.com about how he would approach a fight with UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. Shields is set to battle Drew Fickett for the vacant Elite XC welterweight strap some time soon. In fact, the bout was scratched last month when Shields sustained a back injury during training, rescheduled for June 14 and now pushed back again, it appears, to July 26 — the second show for the promotion on CBS “Saturday Night Fights.”
Georges St-Pierre – A Champion in and out of the Octagon
It was the biggest night of Georges St-Pierre’s life, and probably the most stressful. About to fight in front of over 21,000 countrymen at Montreal’s Bell Centre, the 26-year old was facing not only the man who beat him a year earlier, Matt Serra, but the high expectations of thousands of fans, as well as those of his family, friends, and himself.