Yahoo! Sports boxing and MMA columnist Kevin Iole spoke with UFC president Dana White on Friday and was informed that due to the California’s State Athletic Commission’s handling of Sean Sherk’s appeal of a one year suspension for testing positive for steroids, Sherk will not be stripped of his lightweight title regard of whether the commission ultimately votes to uphold Sherk’s suspension.
Steve Cofield was able to catch up with Iole and interview him on his radio show in Las Vegas on Fox Sports Radio. You can access that audio by clicking here.
What White is essentially saying with this decision is that CSAC’s pending decision is irrelevant at this point and that Sherk in his mind is his champion regardless of whether the commission finds him guilty.
There’s no denying that CSAC’s reasons for delaying their ruling on Sherk’s appeal this past Wednesday were completely unprofessional but it feels as though White is using it as license to allow Sherk, a fighter that he has called a personal friend, off the hook because of a technicality. Iole raises a good point in that if CSAC refuses to overturn or even amend Sherk’s suspension, that White could look bad in this situation.
As Iole also states, White could look good if CSAC rules to either overturn or reduce the suspension but what if they don’t? How can a fighter test positive for steroids and receive a suspension for it from a major state athletic commission and still retain his title?
It’s possible that Sherk’s attorney, Howard Jacobs, has a strong defense and that Sherk is truly innocent. But shouldn’t White wait until CSAC rules on the appeal one way or the other? White said from the get go that Sherk would be stripped if he lost his appeal and he’s going back on that statement simply because CSAC dropped the ball?