From our friends at The Fight Network:
What’s happening in the world of mixed martial arts now …
By Brian Knapp (email@example.com)
Additional reporting by Mike Russell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
UFC president Dana White revealed today he will “probably” strip UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk of his title if his positive steroids test is not overturned by the California State Athletic Commission when it reconvenes in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 4. White's revelation came during a teleconference for UFC 78 "Validation," scheduled for this Saturday in Newark, N.J.
That White would consider stripping Sherk represents a complete departure from the stance he took in an interview with Yahoo! Sports columnist Kevin Iole. Just 10 days ago, Iole reported that Sherk would not be stripped of the championship, because White was “fed up with the California Athletic Commission’s handling of Sherk’s steroids case.”
Sherk (33-3) tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone Metabolite following his first title defense in July – a unanimous decision victory over Hermes Franca at UFC 73. The CSAC fined the 34-year-old Minnesotan $2,500 and suspended him for one year. It was confirmed recently that B.J. Penn would meet Joe Stevenson for the interim UFC lightweight championship at UFC 80 on Saturday, Jan. 19 in Newcastle, England.
White reiterated his plan today to have Sherk fight the Penn-Stevenson winner once he resolves his case with the CSAC.
Other items of interest from the teleconference included:
• White offered reigning UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture a title defense this week, presumably against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Couture, who resigned from the promotion last month, has not officially declined the bout, according to White. The UFC president claimed Couture text messaged him recently. “Randy’s going to make a decision one way or the other,” White said. “We’re going to meet and talk and see where we’re at.” White said he wants the situation resolved this week;
• The UFC announced plans for a UFC Fight Night Jan. 23. No other details were released;
• White conceded he had no idea who would be next to challenge Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight championship. He said he had continued attempts to coax former Olympian Dan Henderson into a title fight with Silva. Henderson remains resistant to the move;
• Michael Bisping, light heavyweight winner on season three of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, feels far less pressure fighting away from England. “The pressure was incredible [competing in England],” he said. Bisping, who last competed at UFC 75 in September when he eked out a controversial split decision over Matt Hamill, remains open to a move to middleweight. “I can make 185,” he said. However, the unbeaten Brit plans to stay in the 205-pound division for the time being. Bisping will meet Rashad Evans, heavyweight winner on season two of "The Ultimate Fighter," in the UFC 78 main event;
• The UFC has targeted the state of Florida for a potential pay-per-view date in 2008, though a specific city has not been decided upon;
• White indicated no decision had been made on whether or not UFC 80 “Rapid Fire” will be televised live on PPV or on a tape delay on Spike TV. The event will originate from Newcastle, England;
• White said he did not watch the MMA debut of Internet street fighting legend Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson on Nov. 10 in Corpus Christi, Texas. “The guy is a tough street fighter,” White said. “I don’t know much about him. He’s a street fighter, and he’s making the switch to MMA. Who knows what could happen to a guy like that.” Ferguson needed just 19 seconds to dispatch former Gladiator Challenge heavyweight champion Bo Cantrell by TKO.
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